Monday, March 17, 2008

Why (not) Japan?

I had an interview last week. Not for a job, but for a story in Franklin College’s alumni magazine, The Reporter.

The first question I was asked was, “What made you want to apply for the job in Kuji?”

Easy. I said that two years ago, I lived in Washington D.C. for a semester. (This was another opportunity that I’ve had through Franklin College.) I was there as an intern for Sen. Richard Lugar. It was a wonderful experience --
one that I blogged out every single day, in fact.

When I moved to Washington, I didn’t know anyone there (unless you count Lugar), and it felt like another culture to me. So even though I wasn’t studying abroad, it kind of felt like I was.

I knew after the semester in Washington that the next step for me would be to live in another country. I decided then that I wanted to live somewhere far away and totally different for a while after graduation.

But I didn’t know where until a few months ago. I was thinking more along the lines of working in Europe somewhere or doing service/mission work in Africa.

Last fall, I received an e-mail. It said “Attention seniors” and then went on to explain that FC sends two graduates every other year to work in Kuji, Japan. I had never heard of Kuji until then, did not know that Franklin had a sister city until then, and certainly had never thought about living in Japan --
or Asia, for that matter --
until then. People sometimes ask me, "Why live in Japan?" My answer is, "Why not!?"

Maybe I’ll live in Europe or Africa (or both!) after I live in Kuji. I’ve told people that I’d like to use my “twenties” to do things like this. I’ve been exploring other options like the
Peace Corps and mission experiences like the World Race. I could also see doing public relations work for a nonprofit organization at some point in the future.

One of my friends recently said it best: “Dana, you just want to help people.” That’s true. My ultimate goal is to live like Jesus Christ did – loving others and helping them selflessly.

I’m not exactly sure what the future holds, or where I’ll be living besides Japan, but I do know that I want to live near my parents when I have children someday. Until then, I’m going to take advantage of being young and single and do things that I won’t be able to do once I have my own family.

(I’m not ending with “sayonara for now” anymore because I’ve been told that the Japanese rarely say that, so I won’t either!)

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