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 Sean will be my counterpart and plans to upload weekly vlogs documenting his experiences.


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