But I learned a lot. I learned that even after having attained my bachelor's degree in International Business, there was still a lot that I didn't know about "international." I learned a great deal about myself as well! I figured out that I am not a hard-selling international corporate marketeer. I prefer a soft touch, I prefer to make international connections through friendships, not sales. I absolutely loved learning about communication and protocol among different cultures.
I was fortunate enough to have been offered a staff position within that office, but it was a far cry from the international career that I envisioned for myself. When I discussed my options with the personnel officials there I was told that if I wanted to BE international, I needed to GO international. In short, I'd never been out of the United States and needed to get my feet wet on international shores. They said anywhere, anything was fine - just go, spend a year overseas, come back and try again for one of the higher level positions.
I went to my university's job placement and counseling office and researched international positions. Pretty much every overseas job was for teaching English conversation in Asia. So that's where I applied. This all took place in February, exactly 20 years ago this month.
Much to my surprise, much to my horror and delight, I was offered a teaching position within two weeks of having applied. And they even gave me 24 hours to think it over. Wow, that was a tough decision. Is that really what I wanted? I was the biggest leap I'd ever taken. I said yes.
It wasn't exactly working for a huge international corporation overseas. Actually it wasn't anything like that. It was teaching English conversation to children and adults in a small town in western Japan. I wasn't really convinced that I like it. But keeping in mind that it was just for a year, just one year, I stayed. I planned to go back and apply for a position in the state department - hoping that one day I would work my way up to Diplomat. I never made it back to apply for that position.
Fast forward 20 years. Twenty very hard, very fun, at times very lonely years. Somewhere along the line I learned the language and the customs. I've made friends with some incredible Japanese women.
When I started scrapping about 13 years ago, I never dreamed that I would ever be good at it (which is still open for interpretation). I never dreamed I would one day teach it to my neighbors. I never dreamed that scrapbooking would be the key to me being an international diplomat. That really sounds extreme, but these past several months I have been so blessed to be able to use my scrapbooking skills to form and enrich friendships with Japanese women.
You probably remember my eyelash-perm adventures. The lady who does these eyelash perms saw a few of my scrapbooking pages and asked me if I wouldn't decorate her beauty school diplomas. I was honored.
I have no idea why this photo is so bad.
But these are the two finished layouts in frames.
When I look back at the tapestry of my life so far, I see the beautiful design that scrapbooking threads are weaving in my journey. Its amazing to me that I can use scrapbooking as a way to serve and honor my friends.