Preparing for Takeoff

I am a big fan of making lists, especially to-do lists. I came to terms long ago that the only way to combat my absentmindedness is to write every thing down. Some time during the 2016 fall semester, I wrote in the to-do section of my planner the following:

  • look into IWU Freeman Asia Internships.

When I crossed off that, I added things like:

  • Ask for recommendation letter
  • Write Freeman application essays
  • Complete and send application

After I was notified that I was lucky enough be one of the Freeman Grant recipients placed with Mizuno Corp., my to-do lists became populated with a constant flow of bullet points in order to prepare:

  • Apply for Passport
  • Study Abroad Pre-Departure packet
  • Internship credit paperwork
  • Other paperwork
  • Even more paperwork
  • First Japanese crash course class
  • Study for Japanese crash course class
  • Discuss turning Japanese short crash course class into longer elementary Japanese class
  • Skype into Japanese class
  • Study Japanese
  • Start blog
  • Go shopping- need business attire
  • Call and notify bank of travel
  • Pack

And many, many more. My to-do lists have kept me on task and excited for my trip. However, they were always just little tasks on a list. I had to physically complete them, sure, but somehow all the preparation has continued to feel like the trip is some far-off trip that someone else is taking. Even now, a day before I leave, it somehow doesn’t feel real. Granted, no matter how many bullets I can tick off, I don’t think anything can fully prepare me for the list of “firsts” I’ll be able to cross off in the next six weeks:

  • First time flying internationally
  • First flight over 4 hours (18 total hours in the air with a layover in Taiwan)
  • First time going to Japan
  • First time being a true outsider in a culture I don’t really understand
  • First time getting to try struggling through speaking some Japanese
  • First time experiencing what it is like to work for a large international corporation
  • All of the other things I will get to experience for the first time that I don’t even know about yet.

I am both extremely nervous and extremely excited to get to cross these items off my new list and cannot wait to share my thoughts and feelings with you as I do so.

P.S. One more list that I have (I warned you earlier- big fan of lists) is the list most dear to my heart. It’s my list of people who have helped me. It is a long list, and I am sure it will continue to grow as I arrive in Japan and meet more people. I am very excited to get to cross off “write thank-you cards” from my to-do list.

P.P.S. If you don’t want to suffer through reading my writing, (I wouldn’t blame you) but still want to get an idea of what I’m up to, check out https://lifeoflarkin.wordpress.com/ Sean will be my counterpart and plans to upload weekly vlogs documenting his experiences.

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