Wow, it has been 5 years since my last journal entry.
Last time I said some months were critical for my future and I had to pay special attention to it and well, I did. And it was worth it.
I have so much to tell you, so much I want to share with you.
In 2010 I started working to get a scholarship in Japan. It implied mostly studying English, doing the TOEFL ibt test, preparing documentation, etc. By that time I got a 100/120 score on the TOEFL ibt and send my application to Osaka University and the Monbukagakusho scholarship. I passed the application to Osaka University and while I was waiting for the result of the scholarship, I got a job in Colombia. I paused my Japan project. Why did I just quit to such opportunity? well, my family economic situation was not good at the moment and my job helped to put the food on the table. I couldn't be happier to give back to my family all the things they have done for me with so much love. I worked two years in the University I got my bachelor's degree from, and thank God my father got a job in that time and our situation improved.
While working, I continued dreaming about Japan and I'm not the kind of person who quits anything. If I have something in mind, I will make it true. Since the TOEFL ibt expires after two years, I applied again. With my work I barely had time to study, so this time I got a score of 96/100. I was about to finish my working contract so I had to hurry. As a Biomedical Engineer I always wanted to work with Brain Computer Interfaces, so I had a couple of laboratories in Japan to which I would like to join. I applied to Tokyo Institute of Technology and got the admission!!! I still had no scholarship, so I applied to a loan-scholarship from a non-profit entity in Colombia and I was selected. Of course, I never planned to use all the money because life in Japan is not cheap and I didn't want a debt for 10 years. While I have already a sure way to go to Japan, I applied to the monbukagakusho scholarship again. I passed the first examination, and was ready for the second one however there was one issue that worried me....and I was right to be worried. If I got the scholarship, by the time I've had received it, my admission to the University would have expired and I would had to apply again. Getting the admission to one of the best 100 Universities in the world wasn't something I wanted to play with so I just took the loan and came to Japan on September 24, 2013.
How was it? guys, I just can't express in words how happy I am to have taken that decision. As soon as I arrived to the University, I joined a leading school program. I take extra classes and extracurricular activities and they pay me a salary from which I can support all my expenses and have fun in Japan! (non-tax exempted, but still pretty good!) I used US$8,000 from my loan in Colombia (which I already paid last month) and continue living from my salary in Japan. Also, in the leading school I've been able to travel to US, Korea and this month to United Kingdom! And well, I also found love in Japan <3 . He's also an Engineer I met in my laboratory. He's Japanese and at first I was a little worried because of the cultural difference, but I had nothing to be worried. The way he loves me, the things he has done for me,...it's the kind of happiness that leaves me speechless.
In Japan I've met A LOT of different cultures and I've learned how much damage international media can do to a country. Just keep this in mind: learn to know people by your own. I miss my family TOO MUCH, but I decided to stay living in Japan. I'm very happy here. I'm learning Japanese and I'm looking forward to find a job in a company after I finish my Ph.D, I hope in two years. I love Japan.
Of course, you can find thousands of anecdotes about people living in Japan, maybe some complain about "Japanese are too shy", "They don't like foreigners", "Working is too hard", etc. I've met many Japanese that are not shy to speak English, and they have been the kindest and most wonderful persons. I could tell you many stories, but I'll just leave you with the first one that happened to me: By the second week I was in Japan, I moved from a provisional home stay to my new room. On the way, I was carrying one very heavy bag...and one of the wheels broke (two-wheeled bag, btw). I was 20 minutes away from the place, with a heavy bag and about to cry. I had to drag my bag for 2 minutes until some Japanese woman approached me with her baby on her arms and asked me if I needed help. I could notice she was busy and still, she took the time to go back to her home, take her car and drive me, a complete stranger, to my destination. Dear woman, I will never forget your kindness.
Finally I want to tell you this: Since I was a teenager, Japan became my dream. I dreamt about those Tokyo lights, passing by that famous Shibuya crossing in front of 109, going to those stores in Akibabara, etc. Now, all those things (and a lot more!) are part of my daily living and I'm loving it. Never...NEVER quit your dreams. Some family members and "friends" used to say: "Aww, does she still want to go to Japan?", "You have to tell her to get real and start building a life in Colombia", "Why do you want to go so far?", "It's just a phase". They gave me that "poor girl, she's dreaming too high and she will never make it" many times. My parents and brothers ALWAYS supported me and they defended my dreams in front of those persons. My parents, my grandmother, my brothers and my friends are the reason I am here. THANK YOU.
Well, soon I have to start working on my research so I'll finish this update here. Sorry for the strange grammar, I'm a little in hurry today
Your dreams are there waiting for you to make them come true.
Lots of love, Scented-Tea.