Welcome to my expat/travel blog!
I’m Jennifer, but you can call me Stewie.
I’m from Canada, but have been living in Nagoya, Japan for the last five years with my Japanese husband.
This blog is all about my life and experiences as an expat in Japan and also my adventures around the world.
This is my story
university –> Japan –> graduate university –> random jobs–> Korea–> marriage –> Japan –> grad school –> soon-to-be PhD student!
I have been to 17 countries for travel, vacation, work, or research.
How I ended up in Japan (the long version)
I became interested in Japan by accident. When I no longer wanted to continue learning French in high school, as Canadian students are required, I chose Japanese for no other reason than I thought the writing system was interesting.
In grade twelve, I was lucky enough to take part in a two-week exchange trip to Kyoto during spring break. I stayed with a host family, went to school with my host brother, and saw famous temples and castles. Unfortunately, I had recently broken my ankle on a snowboarding trip, so I was on crutches the whole time. It was fun, but at that time I wasn’t considering Japan a place to live in the future.
At 19-years old, after two years in university taking random classes and not knowing what I wanted to do, I took a year off and came to Japan to teach English. I suppose you would call this my gap year. I came on a working holiday visa and stayed for one year in a small city near Mt. Fuji. It was another good time, and I enjoyed it and grew a lot. But to be perfectly honest, I was ready to come home after one year.
So back I came. I did three more years of university, making it a total of six years between when I started and graduation. During those last three years, I kept thinking that I wanted to go back overseas, so I also completed my Teaching ESL certificate. I met my now-husband a few months after I came back from Japan. He’s Japanese and from Okinawa, and was an international student at my university. He’s the love of my life.
After graduation, I went to Chile for three months to teach English and live with a host family and do some traveling. When I came back to Canada, I was in that same place of not knowing what to do. I worked in a restaurant and other random jobs until I finally decided that I wanted to go back overseas to live and work.
It was a difficult decision to come to Korea for one year because it would mean a long-distance relationship with my then-boyfriend. But we did it. He went to Japan for that year, and we visited each other four times.
I came to Japan in 2012, and we were reunited again. We got married in Hawaii two weeks later and then came back to Nagoya. I started working as an assistant language teacher in an elementary school, and I did that for two years before I was ready to pull my hair out. So I quit and went to a Japanese language school full-time for one year.
I was then back to that place of not know what I wanted to do with my life, so I decided to go back to school for a Master’s degree. I applied and was accepted into a university in Nagoya with a program that can be done entirely in English. Fast forward to March 2017, I will proudly hold a Master’s Degree, and from April I will go on to do a PhD.
I have been living in Nagoya for the last five years working and going to school, with travels around Japan and abroad sprinkled throughout. The city doesn’t get a lot of attention, but I love it.
This blog was started at the end of writing my Master’s Thesis to fill the empty space that had become my days. It has allowed me to reflect on my past travel experiences and memories. I don’t live a nomadic life, but I love traveling. I want to explore the world whenever I get the change, be it overseas or within Japan.
I hope you enjoy reading my blog!