Dec. 9th, 2013

gnine: (Default)
For [ profile] naye: Tell us where you've lived, why, and where you'd want to go back.

Weeell, starting way back, I was born and spent the first year and a half of my life in Chicago, IL. Sadly, we moved away when I was young enough that I don't particularly remember it, but we did visit friends there multiple times as I was growing up and I remain fond of the city. Though it's been yeeeears since I've been back, would really like to one of these days.

The majority of my childhood was spent in a litte town in Massachusetts. Quintessential small town New England. It was a lovely place to grow up but as I got older, it got boring. FAST! My parents still reside there and I do enjoy the occasional visit. It's peaceful, pretty, quaint. But gets dull reeeal quick. (I spent 8 months there a few years back in between trips abroad. I was climbing the walls near the end of that time.)

My four years of college were spent in upstate New York. While the town of Ithaca is certainly bigger than where I grew up (that would not be particularly difficult :-p) and was absolutely GORGEOUS (pun intended for those who know Ithaca) by the end of senior year, I definitely had my sights set on bigger.

Especially since I'd spent 6 months of my Junior year on a study abroad program in Kyoto, Japan. I fell completely in love with Kyoto and knew with out a doubt I needed to go back. And so I did, shortly after graduating university.

Upon arriving in Japan with my new job as an ESL teacher, I first lived in Osaka as that's where the company housing was. While Kyoto was what I yearned for, I had fun in Osaka for the four or five months I was there. Osaka is a huge city (city proper is close to 3 million), and while my apartment was a little further out, it was still very metropolitan. There was always a lot to do in Osaka (and buy, mmm, doujinshi, so so many doujinshi. Mandarake, I miss you oh so much...even if my wallet does not!) but I found it a bit too crowded, was much happier when my sister joined me in Japan and we moved up to Kyoto together.

The three and a half years we spent in Kyoto, in our wonderful little apartment near Shijo Omiya were amazing. I love Kyoto. It's such an spectacular city, so filled with historical significance and culture. And the crazy juxtaposition of that with the modern. Temples and shrines sandwiched in between pachinko parlors, game arcades and clothing stores. Bus stops under giant tori. Yearly parades and street festivals that are over a thousand years old, one of which even predates the city itself.

And in addition to all that, there was tremendous company as well. Having my sister there was fantastic, and then also [ profile] naye was there intermittently over the three and a half years. Which rocked as up until that point we'd only gotten to actually see each other in person a handful of times, seeing as we lived on different continents. And [ profile] shayera was also there for a time. The fun the four of us had (mm, so many wonderful karaoke session!). And I got to know [ profile] crashtestskater through work there. Not to mention so many wonderful students, several of whom I'm still in touch with.

I really do miss Japan, and I think of all the places, it is the one I most wish to return to (though that's a hard call!). I'd love to do another year or two there at least at some point down the road.

But, at the time, after almost four years, I was ready to move on to other things. (Really, four years in one place is a remarkable record for me these days! :-p).

I decided I wanted to get a Masters. While I wanted a program in English, I wished to study somewhere outside the US. I decided on England, as I'd been there once before on holiday and loved it. Also, the University of London: School of African and Oriental studies had the most intriguing Media studies program of a whole slew I looked at, with a focus on non-western media.

I adored both the Masters program and London itself. There is just always something to do in London! Between the museums, historic sites, plays, concerts, walking tours, exhibitions, etc. you're never bored. A year was so very much NOT enough time and yeah, I'd also like to go back there, too. A LOT. Blarg, this is hard! ^__-

And again, the people I got to know there (or finally got to meet in person, after knowing them online for years and years *smishes [ profile] takadainmate and [ profile] cienna*) made it extra special. I miss the entire Merlin meetup group! Such a friendly, welcoming hilariously fun group of fans!

After London, it was off to New Zealand (after a period saving up cash back in the States). I based myself in Wellington (ah, windy Wellie. They were NOT kidding. Never felt wind like that before!) and spent the 8 months there traveling as much as I could in between work. And even then, didn't get to see everything. There is a LOT to see in New Zealand. And all of it is breathtakingly beautiful! I'm fairly sure you could just toss a camera down a hill and get amazing photos as it fell. It is hard to take a bad picture there! Glaciers and glow worm caves, black sand beaches and fjords. Not to mention bungy jumping, helicopter tours and glacier walks!

Absolutely adored New Zealand. And found another group of great friends. Whom I also now get to miss :-p One problem with constantly moving, always having to say goodbye to such lovely people (but hey, there's always the internet!) And it also means constantly making new friends, so there's that too! ^__-

My visa for New Zealand maxed out at one year, but I decided to leave before that (was getting into winter, not as much outdoor activies could be done) and headed over to do another 1 year working holiday visa, this time in Australia.

Sydney is a fantastic city. Relaxed and easy to walk around. And the Opera house really is fantastic, so striking! And I was graced with another awesome fannish bunch to get to know. Getting out of the city, up to Port Douglas and Cairns, and down to Canberra and Melbourne was also great fun. And so much amazing wildlife (even if it is all trying to kill you! ^__-) Pet and feed kangaroos and wallabies! Hold a koala and snorkel on the Great Barrier reef! All things I'd wanted to do since I was very young!

And now I've spent the last 10 months in Seattle with the sibs. As my brother has been living in Seattle for the past decade, I've spent quite a bit of time here on and off, though this has by far been the longest stretch. Which means I'm starting to go stir crazy again...bit of theme, ne? ^__- I love my housemates here, so nice to be living with my sibs again, as well as [ profile] sovht and her husband and I'll miss them all terribly. But..but there's just still so much out there to SEE! Which is a topic for another day (tomorrow apparently ^__-)

And this got really long....OOPS! But thanks for the great prompt, [ profile] naye! *huggles*


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