My Story

From losing my self-worth in a foreign country to rebuilding myself on a running track in Japan.

In my mid-30s, I left my home country and moved to Japan to get married. Three weeks after arriving, I found out I was pregnant. I was excited until I realized how difficult it would be due to terrible pregnancy sickness and lack of English speakers in healthcare. However, I eventually learned Japanese and how to care for a baby despite the challenges ahead.

In my mid-40s, I had my second child and lost my mom within two years. Stress landed me in an emergency room due to a severe rash all over my body. This incident forced me to become a better version of myself. I started a rigorous workout and health plan that helped me lose 50 pounds, quit my job, leave an unhealthy marriage and move back to America.

Japan had no joint custody laws.

I had no choice but to move back to my home country without my children. The positive side of this challenging situation is that it has led to a stronger bond between my children and me. Unfortunately, Japan’s borders shut down exactly when my flight left Japan. Japan remained closed for over two years.

Let me start with the year 2007. After our wedding and having my daughter, I struggled deeply with depression, homesickness, and a lack of understanding of cultural differences. I soon became an English teacher at a private school; teaching English was never a job I thought I would have to do, but the job choices for foreigners were slim. I will always be grateful for the experiences I had as a teacher in Japan. I have many funny stories and not-so-funny stories that I will continue to share in my blog. I have much to share about my time in Japan, and my future travels there. I certainly did not choose an everyday American life. 

Six years later, with a few trips to America, Europe, Maldives, and Australia under my belt, I had a baby boy, another beautiful joy in my life. I took a year off of teaching and spent my time as an at-home mom. A few years after I had my second child, I received a call from America informing me that my mother had suddenly passed away. She never met my son. I was devasted in so many ways and on so many levels.

As the years passed, my stress levels became more difficult. I did my best to keep myself occupied with things I loved, like taking online mandala classes with amazing artists like Judith Cornell, Ph.D. (Rajita Sivananda). The award-winning author of MANDALA: Luminous Symbols for Healing. But I did not feel like myself after losing my mom. For years I drank wine and overate food to make me feel better, but it only worsened things. Then, summer of 2017, I had an awful panic attack and had to be rushed to the emergency room on my first ambulance ride with no English speakers (stressful). My entire body broke out in a feverish red itchy rash for weeks. After that super scary experience, I came to terms with the fact that I was utterly lost and the most depressed I had ever felt. I had decided that it was time to dedicate everything to my mind and body.

In 2018 I spent over two hours a day walking around a track near my home in Japan, not leaving that track until I hit 10K a day. I listened to music and inspiring podcasts to keep me going. I had lost over 40 pounds (20 kilos) in a year and a half, and I faced the fact that I was incredibly unhappy in my marriage.
In 2019 I made a very courageous choice. Knowing that there is no joint custody in Japan, I was up against the impossible situation of trying to be the caretaker for my children. So I took a deep breath and decided to get a divorce and move back to America to rebuild my life. At the same time, my children stayed in Japan to continue their education.

Before leaving Japan, I wrapped up a project that involved 32 of my mandala designs getting published in a book. In addition, I taught over 500 students how to draw a mandala, a dream of mine. I was scared to go but knew I had to rebuild my life in America for myself and to give my children another option when they were ready. Leaving my children in Japan was the single most difficult decision in my life, and then 2020 came in like a storm because of you-know-what. I had no choice but to reschedule my flight back to America due to cancellations. The flight change left me with three days to pack up 13 years of my life in Japan into three suitcases and two boxes to ship overseas.

Here we are, moving into 2023.
Currently in Denver Colorado.
I will fly back to Japan for a month in 2023 to finally hold my kids again.
This website is about Lifestyle • Art • Mindset.
You can follow my incredible stories and helpful suggestions in more detail on my blog.
You will learn more about what I am doing in America and stories about Japan, past and present.
In addition, I often share my newest mandala art. on my blog first.

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