The price of a dream

Our goodbye meal
Our goodbye meal

I met my girlfriend about a year and a half ago at aikido.  Aikido’s what I love to do, and one day she showed up to training with a friend, and stuck at it.  We didn’t really talk very much, not until I found out she was into philosophy.  Man, philosophy rocks.  And cute girls who’re into philosophy?  You may as well give me cocaine ’cause I’m hooked.

We talked a lot before we decided to watch a film together.  After that we saw each other regularly and it was golden – we just clicked.  She’s a really stellar girl – the whole package: looks, smarts, kindness.  I totally lucked in with her.  I went and won the lottery, but I let go of my ticket.

Running the emotional gauntlet

The thing about moving abroad is, when you decide to do it, you’re all gung-ho.  The idea of going to your dream country’s exciting and you can’t wait to start chasing your adventure.  But after that, as you start preparing for your departure, you begin to collide with things.  An assault on your emotional attachments begins, and it makes me think, hmm – maybe there’s really a reason why people don’t just pick up and move abroad.

Quitting my job? Let’s do it. Leaving my family for a while? Ok, I can do that. Potentially not seeing certain friends ever again? Well, that’s tough, but I guess it’s the price I’ve got to pay. Breaking up with my girlfriend? Ah man, you’re joking!

Moving to Japan has turned into a ridiculous emotional gauntlet.  Maybe I should’ve prepared better for that, but hey, I’m one of those guys gifted with hindsight not foresight.

The price of my dream

When we started dating, I was clear that I was already planning to move to Japan.  I’d been in a relationship with a girl before where I’d put my dreams on hold, and I didn’t want to do that again.  She was also going to move away to start university.  It seemed to fit, and we both thought it was better than not having a relationship at all. So the famous lines go:

I hold it true, whate’er befall;

I feel it when I sorrow most;

‘Tis better to have loved and lost

Than never to have loved at all.

It was hypothetical for 6 months, but then one day – today – it was real.  The last image I saw of her was something I’ll never forget, her walking out the door, her eyelashes wet with tears.  She said, “good luck with everything. Bye bye.”  When the door shut, I crouched to the floor to cry.  Man, it was one of the saddest moments of my life.

It’s the price of my dream.  That’s what I say to myself.

Matt Bowen

Matt is a blogger, budoka and software developer. He sold his things, quit his job and moved to Japan to study Japanese and martial arts. Sometimes he writes about it.

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