2021: My Kintsugi Year

Expat. Creative Director. Author. Miamian. And those are just the new titles I added to my name this year. It’s been another “I can’t believe I got to do that!” year. But more than that, it’s been the year when I finally found the gold I needed to re-integrate all those broken pieces of myself. In a word, it’s been healing.

I’m writing this from an Airbnb in Condesa in Mexico City, which is probably about 8,000 miles away from where I began this year, on Ishigaki in the Yaeyama Islands at the edge of Japan. In between, I…

-Taught 22 classes a week and helped dozens of kids (and grownups) improve their English.
-Got a lot better at Japanese, to the point where I can actually read articles, watch YouTubers and kinda-sorta understand them, and hold a (simple) conversation without my brain feeling like it’s going to explode.
-Visited Hiroshima, saw the Peace Memorial Museum, which was utterly unforgettable.
-Went to Kobe, Osaka, Toyohashi, cities in Mie prefecture, back to Tokyo, Yokohama. Saw the shrine where Amaterasu is! Just insane.
-Saw the sakura trees in full, glorious, incomparable bloom for the first time ever.
-Made so many deeper friendships and met so many people who touched my heart in Japan. Emma. Benita. Yuka. Azumi. Ronnie. Halley. Michael. Rickey. Hajime. Shuhei. Grace. Chiaki. Xavier. Jules.
-Elevated Nagoya to “home” status in my heart, where it will always remain.
-Packed up my whole damn life AGAIN and moved halfway around the world to a brand new city AGAIN and adjusted from being an expat to living in America AGAIN.
-Took a job with an insane salary and the word “Director” in the title for the first time ever.
-Visited PA for 3 weeks.
-Got vaccinated!
-Got to know the Magic City and welcomed Miami into my heart, from Miami Beach to Brickell to Little Haiti to Allapattah to Coral Gables to Wynwood to Key Biscayne to South Miami to Coconut Grove and back.
-Started officially taking Japanese lessons.
-Bought a car all by myself for the first time ever.
-Discovered Landing and found an apartment all by myself, also for the first time ever.
-Ventured further afield to Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, West Palm Beach, Hollywood… probably some others too.
-Started going to Meetup groups!
-Got to see Nisse for a whole week. Went to the Florida Keys for the first time.
-Went to St. Petersburg for the first time. Reunited with Pete, and yeppp, still have feelings for him.
-Made some enduring friendships with Ravi and Kevin.
-Had a “boyfriend” in both January (Halley) and July/August (Nate). Dumped them both because they were both narcissists.
-Got to see the Edinbros when they came for Simmons’s bachelor party!
-Did my first-ever digital nomad trip and fell in love with the whole concept.
-Had an awesome time in Santo Domingo, made new friends (Nem and Dani and Abby and Javi and Gloria) and reminded myself that I’m a traveler and being in motion is when I feel most alive.
-Once and for all felt perfectly comfortable conversing in Spanish, starting with Halley and reinforcing it over and over throughout the year.
-Was a part of a company that got acquired and got my stock options paid out!
-Hosted Ryan and Nicole and showed them all over the Magic City — and felt for the first time like it had become home. And also, for the first time in a long long time, felt like I am a pretty kickass host.
-Returned to SLO for the first time since my not-so-great departure in 2019, re-integrated it into my soul, saw so many people I love and miss, and reclaimed a piece of me that I’d been afraid to get back in touch with for so long.
-Read my book to groups of children as a published author, and got to see firsthand how its message connected with them.
-Reconnected with Joey, which was ^that x 1,000. Got naked with him, told him he’s still the love of my life, and he told me the same thing.
-Went to Mexico City with a friend I barely knew, bonded with him right away, went to the pyramids of Teotihuacan, and went on a kickass gay history tour with a jolly professorial type named Carlos.

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