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02 October 2016 @ 09:05 pm
"Let's take a walk in the mountains"  
Hello.

The title was written on a sign on top of a mountain. I didn't think much of it until someone pointed out that you would never say that to someone who was already on the top of a mountain.

So let's say you're taking a pleasant walk through the woods with a friend. . . When suddenly it starts pouring rain. I mean pouring, like the whole world turns to white mist around you and the pattering on your umbrella is so loud you have to raise your voice to be heard.
You have between you and your friend:
- One umbrella
- Only one pair of functional shoes, the other pair a mess of tearing and holes
- A very expensive camera in a cloth case
- A laptop that is worth more than your life
- A very un-waterproof backpack
- No food or water
- One extra shirt

You have a couple of options here:
1. Turn back.
2. Wait out the rain in the bug museum (lots of cockroaches piddling around in glass cases and a room of butterflies)
3. Walk 2 kilometers to see a waterfall

So the obvious question is - What do you decide to do?
The obvious answer is - It depends on what kind of friend you're with.

http://www.randomisgod.com/pictures/MinohTaki.jpg

I have a lot of very crazy Japanese friends who wouldn't mind getting themselves into the most interesting situations, but I have to just say that if I was with a Japanese person, I would definitely turn back. I just don't know the cultural nuances enough to judge how they might be interpreting the situation. However the friend I was with was a fellow American, and we sorta looked at each other and went "Hey, we're already wet, getting more wet isn't going to change anything. It's not like getting rained on ever killed anyone." We put the valuables in the backpack and held it in the middle, with the umbrella covering half of us each. It didn't really matter that my shoes were solid and hers were soaking up the water like sponges, we were both in the same position at the end of the walk.

The only other people walking in our direction were boy scouts and other foreigners. I felt a sort of bond with these people. Everyone else was running back the other way.

Luckily, when we arrived at the waterfall, there was a viewing spot with benches and an overhanging roof. I was actually able to get some pictures with my nice camera and we could adjust our soaking clothes a bit before going back.

By "going back" I mean we went to the bug museum before it closed and didn't leave before making acquaintances with the workers there and taking home some art and booklets.

And then it was off to the foot bath to warm our soaking feet.

And then? Picking up some food for dinner, borrowing pajamas, and watching a movie while my socks dried.

My friend was kind enough to lend me pajama pants and to walk me back in the rain to the station.

What a great day!
What do you like to do on a rainy day?

By the way, I seem to have gotten myself another promotion.
I'm now the top manager for my area, which is Hyogo and Tokushima. Life is going to be a big hectic for a while as I adjust to the responsibility.
This has added a new level of uncertainty to my future. I have a couple of choices for my life here. . .
First, to live separately from Yossi for a long while yet and put my heart in to my job.
Second, to give it a go for a while, and then go to Okayama to live with Yossi and give up my job for an uncertain life in a city I really don't like.
Third, both of us uproot and move to Nagasaki, which will take us an airplane ride away from our friends, but we can live together, and there will be plenty of job opportunities.
Third, to go live with Yossi for a year of maternity leave and have a baby, and then go back to Kobe to work after that, and hope he'll be able to come with me by then.

I was going to go with option one, with the sub option of moving to a cheaper apartment. But Yossi's talked me down from that one, as the cost of moving wouldn't make the move worth it unless I really really was determined to stay for at least a year. And who knows what life changes might come up before then!

My friends then gave me some advice that's had me deep in thought. . .
I will always be who I am.
No matter where I go, I will always make a community of friends around me.
No matter what company I work for, I will always aim for the top.
No matter where I live, I will always find joy in my life.

I realized at once that my friends were right, and that's made the choices seem less severe.

The woman who runs my favorite restaurant looked at me squarely over a bowl of soup and said, "Jennifer, the fact that you have choices means you must be happy."

I realized that she is also right. Nothing's worse than having only one option and having nothing to do but go through with it. I looked up at the sky and thought - wow, my life is great! Look at all these wonderful choices!

And then I left it at that. I'll get around to deciding... after all my business trips and salary calculations and scheduling and meetings are over. . .

Jennifer