Sunday, December 31, 2006

Reflecting on 2006

The last day of the year is always a day to reflect on all the things that happened (good and bad) that year, and I would like to look back on some of the highlights of my 2006. This year did not start very well, as we had to cancel our long awaited Christmas/New Year's U.S. trip due to a certain demon who took Gyano's passport hostage. But later this year the Belgian judge ordered the passport to be returned and this summer we got to embark upon on our U.S. trip to California, Nevada and Arizona. This was an awesome trip enjoyed thoroughly by all four travelers and I still intent to write a more detailed blogpost about this memorable trip at a later date.
My fellow travelers (Gyano, Guido & Lia) in Death Valley, CA
My mother got engaged to Guido and they are due to be married on May 11th, 2007. Of course soon to be married couples want to join their two seperate lives into one, to accomplish that my mom moved in with Guido this year bringing Gyano and me along! Guido also has children and all of us together now form a busy family of seven!
Myra, Casper, Lou, Gyano with Jurre on his shoulders & Guido (Lia was the photographer)
As kind of a try-out for all of us living together, we went on a trip to Mallorca. Naturally, we were quite nervous about the chemistry between the seven of us during a one-week vacation to some tropical Spanish island, let alone about the chemistry between all of us trying to live together in one house. But the vacation was wonderful and we had a great and lazy time in the sun and pool all week! Everything was really good and high above expectations, eliminating any doubts about living together with our large and mixed family!
Lou with Guido's kids in Mallorca
Then this year Bon Jovi decided to go on a world tour again, which is always good news for this Bon Jovi fan! Unfortunately, this year due to money and time constraints Minke and I only got to see a few shows. Yet, Minke and I enjoyed our few concerts to the very fullest! After the first concert we gave up camping out to obtain a front row spot, for going out in the city and having some real fun, and the next day we enjoyed the concert from a spot onstage! Yeah, Minke and I are two very lucky people without any expectations but seizing any opportunity we are offered. And along the way we met some very interesting and fun people, I wouldn't change our 2006 concert experience for any front row spot!
Lou with Chris a.k.a. Lumpy (Richie's guitar tech)
Minke with Mike, Bon Jovi's stage manager
Then one really big highlight this year was the end that came to the studies that I hated for so long! Yes people, I graduated! Finally! It was no big secret that I had a big aversion for the International Business studies that I was doing at the University of Maastricht. No motivation led to procrastination after procrastination and somehow the end was never in sight. After deciding that I wanted to move to Japan and work as an English teacher there, I was faced with the fact that I needed a University's degree to get a Japanese working visa. Finally, I found myself motivated to work hard to finish those wretched studies and got to work on my Master thesis. After a fair amount of literature research, I came up with a very interesting thesis topic that allowed me to vent some of my frustration with the field of economics and business. After two months of thesis research and writing and countless allnighters, the thesis was finished and handed in a couple of days before the deadline even! What a weird feeling it was to actually be finished with my studies.
My final thesis "Business education and corporate misbehavior"
My supervisor emailed me my grade during our U.S. trip, and I remember being in that lobby of a hotel near Yosemite National Park, and jumping around in happiness over my awesome grade. During the graduation ceremony my supervisor gave a very nice speech about me and my favorite quote from his speech: "Louana's thesis is a beautiful piece of work which may even be published in a good scientific journal. Which is why her thesis was graded with a 9; something which rarely happens. It is clear: Louana is a very talented and intelligent student". So I am pretty damn proud of myself: drs. Lou ;).
Thesis supervisor dr. Woody handing drs. Lou her Master's degree

Next step after getting my degree, was actually finding a job in Japan. I had my heart set on a job as an English teacher at a Japanese eikaiwa (English conversation school). There are several really big eikaiwas in Japan, which could all be potential employers, but AEON corporation was the one that seemed to suit my preferences the most. I applied for a position and needed to go to London for a nerve-racking two-day job interview/assesment, and a week later I got a very happy phonecall from the AEON recruiter in NYC. I was offered a teaching position with AEON corporation! They tried their utmost best to place me in a school near Yasu, but the closest that was available was in Inuyama, near Nagoya. So, Yasu and I will have to do some traveling every weekend, but at least we get to see eachother every week instead of once a year!
Drs. Lou or LouAeon, take your pick!
Of course, I needed a way to gather some money before I move to Japan, and also as a way to finance my jobhunting and future move to Japan. So I also found me a job in the Netherlands, a simple but fun job at the EXPO, one of my favorite stores. This is where I am currently earning my money and killing time until my big move to Japan in May 2007. This is also where one of my coworkers alerted me to the existence of the 'All You Need Is Love 2006 Christmas Special', which led me to apply for the show that reunites loved ones from abroad for Christmas. And a few weeks ago the host, Robert ten Brink, kidnapped me with his private jet to Russia (of all places) to be reunited with Yasu :)!
Yasu with two of my EXPO coworkers in the break room
So this sums up an eventful year and I am ready for the new year in which my mother will get married, I will finally move to Japan, and many more unexpected and unplanned events will surely color my life! 2007, here I come! Happy New Year everybody!

4 comments:

Yasu said...

I really enjoyed reading it! I liked the picture of Guido's family , Gyano and you because it is very heart-warming.
There are many events happened in your life last year. Even just reading it made me excited.
Lots of miracles, yeah lots of miracles. If one of these things were not as they were, we had not experienced what we have experienced and we would have not been where we are right now.
mwah mwah mwah

Minke said...

I enjoyed it as much as Yasu did! Wow what a year, 2006! 2007 will even be better!
Minke

Yasu said...

Thanks Minke, for your English comment. With that, I can join a conversation between Lou and you. I wish I spoke Dutch. Well, I am working on that.

Slightly Bonkers said...

Hey .. Lou?

Ok this is going to sound a little weird, but i was doing a search for another blog, and found yours by mistake, and I'm the other foreign teacher at Aeon Inuyama!!! If you want to get in touch, which would be fun please do. Otherwise I guess I'll see you in May!