The Next Ten Years

It’s hard to believe that I have been studying Japanese for ten years. But it’s true. As of a few days ago I have been intensely trying to learn the Japanese language for the past ten years. But only two of the past ten years have been spent in Japan. With that being the case, I believe that I have learned the language quite well and have maintained whatever proficiency I gained while in the country. It took some effort, but I have been fortunate enough to live in areas with high concentrations of Japanese speakers since I left Japan, making it easy to make friends and keep up the language. I have been told that I have a knack for learning languages by more than one person. While I am not sure if I personally believe such statements, I am now approaching a new adventure in the coming months and am confident I can make the best of it.

I have accepted a new job offer that requires me to move to the German-speaking area of Switzerland to learn the business and to be trained for my new job. I will be flying back and forth between New York City and Zurich on a regular basis for the next three months and leave in a week to start the initial three weeks of training. While I will use English exclusively with my new position and my colleagues, the area I will live in will be entirely German speaking, a language I have never had much interest in previously, to be honest. But given that I will have the chance to be immersed and that it is not too different from English in many respects, I will put this so-called knack for languages to the test and see how much I can pick up. I will probably have the chance on the weekends to do some traveling as well, allowing me to visit nearby Munich, Vienna and perhaps Berlin, all of which I would be interested in seeing. I have been to western Europe, but the German-speaking countries will be a whole new world for me. My family, unfortunately, will be staying in New York, with our daughter being sent to California for some of the time to make it easier for my wife to get along without me. In other words, in the next few weeks my small family of three will be spread across nine time zones, a situation that few people would like to find themselves in.

But if we can make it through the end of the year, I think that we will be in a better position emotionally and professionally. And so, as I look back at what I was doing ten years ago, I look forward at what lies ahead. Just like in the past, I have a mission ahead of me now, a chance to live in another country, learn the language, the culture and further my skills and life experience. I am glad I have had the past ten years of moving from place to place, working with different people and trying new things to prepare me for this next step in life. May Switzerland be the beginning of another great ten years.

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