Generally, I want to live my life abroad in such a way that (i) I don't feel like I'm living in a labor camp, (ii) I depend on American things or food a little bit less, (iii) I set myself up to feel like I've made positive progress professionally and financially while here, and (iv) I'm able to realize some long-time goals when I get back to the US.
- Start eating "real" food. Grocery shopping is tough here because I can't read labels or identify some of the foods. In my first two months, I've alternated between making poor food choices or not eating at all, with some rare exceptions. I can do better. I especially want to be more open to enjoying Japanese foods.
- Exercise. I've lost a lot of flexibility and muscle tone in the last two months. There is no getting around the fact that I rarely get home while the gym is still open, but something is better than nothing. It would be especially nice to do some walking outside on the weekends as I experience almost no sunshine during the workweek.
- Carry my camera; take some pictures. So far, nearly all of the very small number of photos I've taken are Blackberry shots, which I could never have printed. I brought my nice camera with me all the way across the Pacific Ocean, so there is no excuse.
- Visit at least one tourist destination each month. The bar is low, but who knows how often I'll escape the office. I'd especially like to go skiing this winter.
- Get a ticket to WDC Open in Tokyo. I'm not sure I'll be able to take dance classes while I'm here, but it would be really fun to check out this competition.
- Visit Tokyo Disneyland. When I started law school, my idea of a dream job was working in-house at Pixar. I like Disney stuff, plus I'd love to compare Tokyo Disneyland to my experiences at Disneyland in Hong Kong, Orange County, and Florida.
- Keep chipping away at Rosetta Stone. Any word that I can add to my vocabulary helps.
- Blow out my hair once a week. This is code for: try to take a little pride in my personal appearance.
- Pay off all debt carrying 8.5% interest rate.
- No more negative net worth!
- Maintain my deal list; update my resume.
- Get as close as possible to meeting the annual billable hours requirement before leaving Japan. Because the same guys that only gave me 47 hours to bill in the month between my secondment and departure to Japan will probably do the same when I get home.
I need to think really hard about where I want to be, geographically, when I return to the US. Some of the concern is professional--I don't expect the work flow in my prior office to be much (or at all) improved by the time I return--and some of the concern in personal. Since graduating from law school in 2010 I have worked in Austin, San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County and Tokyo. I've felt outrageously lonely for too long and it's time for me to put down some roots and feel like part of a community again.
- Max out 401(k) contributions.
- Go to my 10-year college reunion. I hesitate to put this on the list because the dates of reunion are too close to the end date of my Tokyo assignment. Still, I really want to go after missing my 5-year and Stanford's big win at the Rose Bowl.
- Take a vacation. I haven't taken a vacation since I started at the firm. It's overdue. If I stick with the Pacific, I'm thinking of Australia. Other places I'd like to go include Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and South Africa. (Frankly, a staycation in Southern California sounds pretty good too.)
- Buy a condo. I can't control when I'll get married or get to start a family, but this is something that I can do on my own. I'd like to buy something that will eventually become a rental.
- Dance. I am so very excited to get to dance again. Here's hoping for some yoga classes too.