Thursday, July 31, 2008

Heading to the Other Side of the Earth

Ackh! Tomorrow I leave for DC and early Saturday morning I'm heading for the other side of the world! This thought hit me at about 11:00 today, in the midst of fighting with my fencing contractor, surveying the damage (extensive!) to my yard due to the trenching for the new plumbing in the garage and negotiating the final permit stuff with the county. How did it sneak up so quickly?

So, tonight I've been scouring the internet, picking up free sources for quick survival language (wheres' the bathroom? thank you in three differing degrees of respect and such) and trying to learn about the cultural differences. I've never been so nervous about traveling. If it was just for pleasure, that's one thing - I'm fine with being labeled "stupid American." But this is business, and I need to impress, and I have no clue what to do. I was reading up on attire and I SOOO don't fit the mold for a businesswoman in Japan (no pants, always wear high collared shirts, ugh!). Crap. I have to go shopping.

I already had been initiated in Japanese business card rituals and gift giving, so feel ok there. But then there's the issue of addressing an audience of (I think) around 300 with a welcoming message from my organization. A Japanese translator will be standing to my side, translating as I speak. I've never done anything even close to that. What do I say? How fast or slow should I speak? How do I start?

And then there's my real source of anxiety about all this - both Jason and I traveling together on the other side of the world, so far away from the girls. I always stress a little with traveling away from them - what if something should happen? This takes that stress to a whole new level - usually I travel without Jason, which makes me feel secure that at least they'd still have one parent if something should happen to me. But now it's both of us. Even worse, what if we need to get back to them quickly? The fastest we could do so is on a 16 hour flight. I know they'll be in good hands while we're away, but I HATE leaving them. I dread it.

Wish me luck! I'll post pictures and fun stuff along the way, as Internet service is available. Also, coming soon, the horrors that were once my yard.

And, on a lighter note, I spent most of yesterday on a backhoe tearing out the shrubs in front of our house. It was fun, and definitely helped me get out some tension I'd been feeling lately. I found myself prowling the yard just looking for things to tear out or dig holes for.

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