Tag Archives: growing up

Unreal

Sometimes I think about where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, and then what will come in the future. I know they’re my memories and my view of my future, but they seem so unreal.

My childhood was a long time ago. That’s what it feels like. I am a different person now than I was back then. So much has changed, yet a lot is the same. Many of my interests are the same, but through my experiences, successes, failures, and disappointments, I’ve changed. I’ve become who I am today because of past events. My childhood, high school, university, my old call centre job, and even my first few years in Japan feel like another life.

Some things changed slowly, others were dramatic and sudden changes. My first days in university, my final days in Victoria, my last few days in Canada, my first day in Japan, the bankruptcy of my first company in Japan. Those were big changes that feel so long ago. My daughter’s birth feels like my current life. That’s where I am now, a Canadian father living in Japan with his wife and daughter. That’s what makes the next step seem so unreal. I’ve been at this stage of my life for a while now, and I’m about to go through yet another life-changing event.

The future is less certain. Canada is a real thing, but feels so foreign to me now. I expect to feel like I don’t belong, at least for a while. People I know have changed. The city I once lived in has changed drastically since I left eleven years ago. It will be strange being back there to live. Then what will my life in Japan become? Another unreal stage of my life?

I remember the feeling when I first came to Japan. It was surreal. It felt unreal, even while I was in the moment. Everything was so foreign and exotic. Now, I can’t imagine it being foreign at all. I’m so used to it. The first days in Canada may feel like that. It’s been more than five years since I’ve been there. We’ll first go to Vancouver Island, which I haven’t been to since 2001. Fifteen years! I understand the feeling I have right now, knowing I’m leaving a place I love. I went through it when I left Victoria. I got over it, of course. I will get over this after a few months.

And then there are new challenges. My daughter is starting school this year. That seems so crazy. How did she become four years old? What happened to the baby I held in my arms? She’s a walking, talking human being who has her own opinions, sense of humour, and likes. The changes are so unreal. I can’t imagine her when she’s six, eight, ten, a teenager, and an adult. That just does not compute.

I have gone through so many changes, and many more will come. I feel like I’ve lived several different short lives, each one feeling foreign and impossible to go back to. But life goes on, and the experiences can only make me wiser and stronger. I was a shy child who couldn’t speak to a stranger at one time. I ran away from the spotlight. Now, I don’t hide from it. I’m not shy any longer. That still feels unreal.

Happy Birthday to a Four-Year-Old

Happy birthday to my incredible daughter! She’s four years old today.

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Static! She’s looking a bit older, more like a kid. Growing up too fast.
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Looking cute. She loves to pose for pictures.

It feels like it’s been such a short time, but my daughter has grown from a newborn baby to a smart, creative, and loving girl. She tells us she loves us every day, many, many times. She loves to cuddle. Her new favourite sentence is “I like…” And now that it’s her birthday, she gets to open her birthday present. And yes, she got what she asked for.

Four years old means she gets to start kindergarten. She needs to improve her English, but she’s been making big strides lately. By the time September comes around, she’ll be speaking pretty fluently in English, I think. This is also the year that she finally gets to go to Canada. And she’ll be meeting her grandparents in person for the first time, and many other relatives. It’ll be a big year.

So, happy birthday to my little girl! Love ya!

Authors Answer 64 – Authors’ Childhood Dream Jobs

Did authors always want to grow up to be authors? Some did, of course. But most probably didn’t think of writing as a profession that they wanted to do. There’s a wide variety of jobs, and most probably wanted to do something entirely different.

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Question 64 – When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Linda G. Hill

I always wanted to be a veterinarian, probably because I read All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot at a young age. But come high school I took physics instead of biology because I couldn’t stand the thought of dissecting a frog. By that time I was much more interested in human psychology anyway. Though I never went to university to study what makes people do the things they do, psychology continues to fascinate me.

Allen Tiffany

First a scuba diver, then a soldier (an infantryman). I became a soldier – which I greatly enjoyed – and then transitioned to the business world. Along the way, I’ve always written (baring one 15-year hiatus), but I’ve never thought of writing as something one does for a living, and I still don’t. I don’t think I’d enjoy writing for a living. I fear the need to produce to generate income would drive me to first think about writing to sell rather than writing from the heart.

D. T. Nova

A paleontologist. I’ve always been fascinated by dinosaurs, and when I was a kid I wanted to discover one.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

What didn’t I want to be when I grew up? I changed my mind multiple times throughout my childhood. The first thing I can remember wanting to be was a nurse, but only because as a child I misunderstood my mom’s job and wanted to be what she was (she was actually a personal care worker at an old folk’s residence). As I got a little older I got big into writing stories and determined that I wanted to be a writer, but then I also got big into drawing and fancied myself as a future cartoonist. At some point I also figured I was going to be a famous singer. Eventually my aspirations became a little more typical…I basically figured I’d be doing something in “technology”, which at the time meant I imagined myself sitting at a computer all day. But the one thing that I never let go of was that I knew I was going to be some kind of writer, even if it wasn’t my actual job, but more of a side-thing.

Paul B. Spence

An astronaut, but then I got too big. I’m just a little too tall. I also wanted to study dinosaurs, which I have. I have a degree in geology and have worked at a dinosaur bone quarry and at a museum working with dinosaur remains. I’ve always liked archaeology and ancient cultures, so my current career as an archaeologist suits me just fine. Of course, I always wanted to be a writer, too.

H. Anthe Davis

A writer.  Tada!

Seriously.  It’s all I’ve ever wanted, and though I’ve tried many other arts and sampled many fields of science, it all comes back to just writing.  I read and research and travel and interact all so that I can put everything I’ve learned back into the story.

Eric Wood

I only remember deciding to be a teacher in sixth grade. A friend and I were really into the American Civil War and loved history. I didn’t know what I could do with history other than teach it. So, at the ripe old age of 11 I decided to be a teacher. 11 years after that, I was. Before that, I don’t remember.

Elizabeth Rhodes

I never settled on this for sure until I was out of high school.  One idea that I always came back to was cooking, and that helped me decide to go to culinary school and work to become a chef.  Writing is great, but I never expected it to pay the bills especially at my pace.

Jean Davis

I wanted to be a teacher and played school with my little sister all the time. That didn’t work out so well though because by the time I was in high school, I realized I didn’t like dealing with people, and other people’s kids drove me nuts.

Gregory S. Close

A Jedi, a pilot like Han Solo, or possibly some Jedi space pirate pilot combination.  Obi Han Solo, perhaps.  Shortly after the realization that these were unlikely professions in our galaxy, I decided I wanted to be a writer, and I guess that notion stuck with me over the years!

S. R. Carrillo

I wanted to be a published author. I also wanted to join the military. I give myself credit for achieving both of those goals before the age of 21. Or thereabout hahah.

Jay Dee Archer

I see I’m not alone in this, as I also wanted to be a palaeontologist. Well, I also wanted to be an astronomer. But I lived in Alberta, which is one of the best places to find dinosaur fossils and is home to one of the best dinosaur museums in the world. I loved reading about dinosaurs, and even took pictures of the skulls and skeletons and traced over them, trying to make more realistic pictures of them. As for astronomy, I was fascinated with space from an early age, and imagined discovering new things and studying the planets. By the time the end of high school came around, I had to make a decision. Those two passions stayed with me and are still two of my favourite things to study. I chose astronomy, even though I never worked as a professional astronomer. Sometimes, I think that if I ever go back to university, I’ll study geology with a minor in palaeontology.

How about you?

What did you want to grow up to be when you were a child? Did you become what you wanted? Let us know in the comments below.

Bring on “Why?”

Language development is pretty interesting. Young children enter into a phase in which they always ask “What’s that?” My daughter’s been in that phase for a while, and often asks what something is. However, she just started a new phase this week.  “Why?”

Today, she’s been asking me “why” for every time I said “No.” The way she says it is funny. “Eh? Nande nande?” That’s Japanese for “Eh? Why why?” I explained to her every time she asked why. So far, she seems to be accepting the explanations.

Last week, she’d demand to eat something. It went something like this:

Her: Soda.

Me: No.

Her: Soda.

Me: No.

Her: Soda!

Me: No.

Her: Waaaaaahhhhh!

She cried every time she lost.  Today, it’s been like this:

Her: Soda.

Me: No.

Her: Eh? Why why?

Me: Because you just drank some juice. You don’t need to drink so much.

Her: Ehhhh? Wakatta (I understand).

Kind of surprising that she responds that way, but not always. Sometimes she still demands.

A couple other developments in language include a couple things. First, she’s been using full sentences more often in Japanese. Not in English, though. Secondly, she’s been using more English when I say what she said in Japanese, but in English, and she repeats the English word. That’s good. With us moving to Canada next year, she needs to be able to speak English. She understand what I say, she just uses whatever language she’s used to, and that’s Japanese.

My sister is coming to Japan in October. I hope she’ll use English then.

Going to the Embassy Is Always an Adventure

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Someone is asleep. She wasn’t always like this today. We went to the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. It’s in a nice neighbourhood called Akasaka, which is known for its embassies. It’s near the high class Omotesando shopping area and the popular Roppongi, which has many bars that cater to foreigners, especially Americans.

But our day was at the embassy. It was definitely an adventure in parenting. This is what I had to deal with.

First, she kept singing. In the train, in the post office, in the embassy. Not quietly, but loudly. Second, she demanded to stand up on the train. And then loudly complained when I put her back on the seat. And she did this many times. Third, she played with the cover of her stroller, the one to block out sun and rain. She pulled on it so hard while I was talking with the embassy staff that it broke. It’s not possible to fix it. That’s when I had it with her behaviour. The problem is, she didn’t listen. She was very stubborn today. When she saw I was angry, she finally said sorry. I then told her that she broke the stroller, and she started crying. The staff offered her a toy to play with and she just threw it on the floor.

On our way out, she told me she pooped. We went to the bathroom to change her, but she hadn’t pooped at all. We left the embassy and as we walked to the station, she told me she pooped. Another check and nope. No poop.

She fell asleep on the train, so the rest of our trip home should be uneventful.

There were some positives, though. A high school boy waved at her on the train and she waved back. Some high school girls kept looking at her and saying she was soooooo cute. And at Aoyama-itchome Station, we had to get up to street level through what is a maze-like station. Many stairs up and down. She can walk up and down stairs very naturally now. No more carrying her up or down!

At least we should look at the positives even if it was a trying day.

I’m Not Who You Thought I Was

You see, I have been fooling all of you.  I am not really who you thought I was.  I’m actually a performer for a traveling circus. I am also a cactus farmer who enjoys playing the flute in caves.

Well, not really.  Actually, that’s all a lie. What I mean to say is that people often have preconceived ideas about who I am. My current self contradicts who I used to be long ago.  People change. It’s been twenty years since high school. Hard to believe. I still feel like I should be in my twenties. Even then, I was a different person. My twenty-eight year old self is closer to my present day self than I was to my eighteen year old self, though.  I think I changed the most in my twenties.

In high school, I was the science nerd. Now, I’m still a science nerd, but I don’t work in science.  I teach English and write.

In high school, I was skinny and obviously not athletic. Now, I’m still skinny, but I do a lot of walking and hiking.

In high school, I was pretty awkward and shy.  Now, I’m pretty confident, and I don’t care what people think about me.

In high school, I wouldn’t stand up for myself.  Now, I like to defuse situations before they blow up, but I’ll defend myself if I have to.

In high school, I wasn’t very outspoken about issues. Now, I frequently blog, talk, and post on Facebook about issues that mean a lot to me.

In high school, I hadn’t really gone through much, other than bullying (that was in junior high school).  Since then, I have witnessed a suicide, experienced the fourth largest recorded earthquake in history, and lost too many loved ones.

I’m a changed person in many ways, but deep down, I’m still the curious kid who likes to read encyclopedias.

How have you changed in your life?