Two years ago on Christmas Eve was the night I met my husband. I spotted him standing in a dark blue jacket by the ticket gate to the train station. He was looking down at his phone and I imagined he was waiting for a message from me. Our story is how I share with others in how Making Christmas Merry Abroad is possible.
It was our agreed meeting time, but I could feel myself getting cold feet. The desire to not spend Christmas alone propelled from my hiding space and gave me the courage to awkwardly introduce myself.
Life in Japan
Life in Japan is both exciting and lonely. Tokyo is the most populated metropolis in the world, yet it is also one of the easiest cities to lose oneself in and feel ever small and isolated.
Although Christmas is celebrated in Japan, it is seen more as a romantic event and not an actual holiday. Young couples see it as an opportunity to go on dates and mingle.
Dinner that night was way better than either of us could have imagined. Sure the food was great, but the company was even better. After a long night of exciting and compelling conversations, we parted ways at the same ticket gate where we had met.
I immediately worried that it would be the one and only time, and felt the loneliness creeping back in.
One night, turned into a lifetime
To my surprise, one date turned into another, and then another, and so on. Eventually, we officially became a couple, and on our one year anniversary, he proposed. I know you’re probably thinking that’s kind of fast!
However, keep in mind that relationships tend to do that when you’re in your thirties!
We were at a beautiful hotspring resort in the mountains of Hakone when I accepted his proposal and became his fiancee. That was the best Christmas I’d ever have — or so I thought. We announced our engagement plans to both of our families, unaware that we’d have an even bigger announcement to make a month later.
Our Christmas Surprise
To our and everyone else’s surprise, we were expecting. Never of us thought I would become pregnant so soon, but my fiance was thrilled when it did.
We got married two months later, and gradually prepared our home for our new bundle of joy. Having a baby abroad was a whole other experience and challenge that I never anticipated going through when I left my home in the US. I was a bit scared and nervous, but my husband was always by my side.
For the next seven months, I continued working as my stomach grew bigger. Commuting to work during the hot summer months became harder as I waddled from one bus stop to another to get to and from my workplace. I had to carry a small fan with me to keep from feeling overheated and dizzy.
I couldn’t wait for the weather to turn cool again.
Preparing for baby
My maternity leave started in August, and I spent most of the month sitting at home with the air conditioner cranked way up while organizing the baby’s room.
Friends, family, and coworkers were all very kind enough to send us almost everything the baby would need. My husband took some time off work and we went on a small babymoon at the end of summer.
We went to some beautiful temples in the countryside of Tochigi prefecture. Although I wanted to enjoy it as much as possible, I found myself constantly out of breath while trying to move around with my huge pregnant belly.
We didn’t see as much as we wanted to, but we did get a breathtaking look at a famous waterfall. Summer finally ended, and the cool autumn months came.
Welcoming baby home
In September our little girl was born in a hospital in Tokyo. She is a very big baby and looks just like him. So much so that I wouldn’t believe she’s mine if I hadn’t seen her emerge from my own body!
This Christmas Eve is a very special one because it’s our first one as parents, and it’s my first one with a family here in Japan. I’ll never feel alone again.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Meet the Author
LaShawn is a mother, wife, and teacher that has been living in Japan since 2011. She enjoys traveling, blogging, and occasionally making YouTube videos.
Blog: The Yokohama Life
YouTube: The Yokohama Life