JET Program: How I Broke My Contract Early in the Wake of COVID-19

Nearly three weeks ago, I made the painful decision to part ways with my contracting organization and officially end my time on the JET Program four months early. My board of education proved they could not communicate with ALTs or guarantee safe working conditions. Although I wanted to continue working in Japan, there was too much uncertainty in the wake of the novel coronavirus. As a result, several of us in Niigata city resigned and departed to our respective home countries. Several more decided to stay. Everyone’s circumstances are unique, and one person’s best course of action may be different from someone else’s. It’s important to weigh out every option carefully before making such a life-altering decision. 

Continue reading “JET Program: How I Broke My Contract Early in the Wake of COVID-19”

Returning to America in Three Days

At least I got to see the cherry blossoms

For the longest time, I was certain I could ride out this terrible pandemic from the “safety” of Japan. However, situations can change drastically in the blink of an eye. While writing this post, I am still in denial that I am leaving in only three days.

Continue reading “Returning to America in Three Days”

Maintaining a Healthy Long Distance Relationship

Find someone who looks at you like I look at this guy

I was saving this post for further down the road, but since I know a lot of people are separated from their partners during the current global pandemic, I thought I might go ahead and share my thoughts on long-distance relationships.

Continue reading “Maintaining a Healthy Long Distance Relationship”

Boost Language Learning as an Adult!

honeycrisp apple fruit near books and chalk Google Home Mini smart speaker
Photo by Thomas Kolnowski on Unsplash

Learning a new language in adulthood is HARD! Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever undertaken a more frustrating (but simultaneously rewarding) task. I’ve been studying Japanese since 2015—that’s including many semesters worth of college courses and time spent in Japan! Despite this, I’m only at the conversational level, and memorizing Kanji is still the bane of my fragile existence. Don’t even get me started on Keigo.

Continue reading “Boost Language Learning as an Adult!”

Insecurities, Self-doubt, and Healing

Since no one can travel right now because of quarantines, I figured I’d write about something more personal and closer to home. If you’re anything like me, you’ve experienced your fair share of self-doubt, insecurity, and jealousy. We’ve all been there. At an embarrassingly young age, I fell into the trap of comparing myself to others. So let’s talk about why we torture ourselves internally and figure out how to stop.

Continue reading “Insecurities, Self-doubt, and Healing”

Learning How to Set Boundaries as an Adult

no trespassing sign
Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

I realize this post is a little different from the content I usually post, but I think it’s important to talk about.

When I was a child, my parents fought a lot leading up to their divorce. Because I was praised for being “obedient” and “well-mannered,” I learned to minimize my personal needs to receive affection, love, and care amidst the chaos. In an effort to stop the fighting and have my needs met, I tried to be helpful and good. Oftentimes, I did extra chores and negotiated between my parents. It felt like doing so would somehow keep our family together.

Continue reading “Learning How to Set Boundaries as an Adult”

Travel Won’t Solve all of Your Problems, but You Should Still Do It

In recent years, traveling has become more accessible than ever before. We can fly, drive, or take a train to all kinds of exotic and exciting destinations in just a few short hours—for a price, of course. Until college, the furthest away I had ventured from home was a nine-hour car ride to Florida. My single mother simply couldn’t afford to jet us off to Europe or Mexico for the holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed and appreciated our summers at the beach, but I grew up longing to see the world for myself instead of through the dull flicker of a small TV screen (4K Ultra HD wasn’t a thing back then!)

Continue reading “Travel Won’t Solve all of Your Problems, but You Should Still Do It”

Birth Control Abroad

components on blue surface
Image from @rhsupplies on Unsplash

Disclaimer! I am not a medical professional. The following post is based on my experience and personal research alone.

Many people are on birth control for one reason or another. In addition to preventing pregnancy, these hormone therapies can regulate menstruation, treat a host of medical conditions like PMS, and even reduce acne. If you want to travel the world and don’t see yourself having a baby any time soon, it’s probably a good idea to research your birth control options before going abroad. Of course, foreign countries have their own clinics and healthcare providers who can assist you. But it’s definitely nice not to worry about scheduling an appointment in another language while adjusting to a new life and culture. Getting your contraceptives well before you disembark can buy you some time and peace of mind during this exciting transition. If you’d like to know my thoughts and experience, please keep reading.

Continue reading “Birth Control Abroad”

Why I’m not Returning to the United States During the Coronavirus

Since my last post, the general attitude towards COVID-19 in the United States has shifted from annoyance to fear. Sure, I still see quite a few people on my social media feeds posting memes about the virus and declaring the world is just overreacting, but with the sudden widespread cancellation of flights, schools, and important events, the world seems to finally realize how serious things could become if officials and the public fail to take appropriate precautionary measures.

Continue reading “Why I’m not Returning to the United States During the Coronavirus”

Dealing with an Outbreak Overseas: COVID-19 on the JET Program

I’ll admit that in the early stages of the novel coronavirus outbreak that originated late last year in the Hubei province of China, I was not too concerned and felt quite safe in my small city in Japan. No one seemed worried, and it was business as usual for weeks. However, as infections began popping up in increasing numbers around the world, the looming threat became harder to ignore. On one sunny weekend visiting a long-lost relative in Yokohama, I was constantly reminded that somewhere in that beautiful bay, a quarantined cruise ship housing roughly 621 ill passengers floated uneasily in the waves. Now, I certainly don’t have the expertise to criticize how the situation was handled, but I do know from research that the method of containment was less than ideal for stopping the spread of infection. A few weeks into the quarantine, Japanese passengers who were deemed healthy departed the ship and returned home via various routes of public transportation. Some experts warned even those who tested negative for the virus and showed no symptoms could potentially spread COVID-19 before becoming sick days later due to the virus’s relatively long incubation period. This could rapidly accelerate the rate of new infections in Japan.

Continue reading “Dealing with an Outbreak Overseas: COVID-19 on the JET Program”