Plan 10 Steps Ahead, Take One at a Time.

Today is sure to be one to remember. This past weekend, Iwaki experienced the worst blizzard it's seen in 40 years--which, OK, isn't saying much, considering Iwaki is the San Diego of the Tohoku area. Oh, and the accuracy of my weather data only extends to my friend's dad who has lived in Iwaki his whole life and has never seen so much snow.

I'm headed to the Land Down Under in T-12 hours. Because I'm stingy with my paid days off, I went to work today and will zip straight to the airport as soon as the last bell of the day rings. I had little choice but to bring everything with me to work, despite the fact that today's local temperature is about 5°C whereas highs in Perth, Australia are around 30°C. What's more, city buses either weren't running today or were running terribly late. I asked one of the students at the bus stop how long she had been waiting for a bus: 30 minutes! On normal days, city buses are so punctual that you can arrive at a bus stop the minute that the bus is scheduled to come, and it will swoop by to pick you up in 0-5 minutes. The waiting girl went on to tell me that a bus hadn't come in the past hour and a half... which of course, made me seriously question her sanity for continuing to wait at that stop.

The people of Iwaki have been so comically thrown off of their daily routine for these past three days. Traffic was at a standstill this morning as, to my knowledge, our city doesn't even own snow plows. Yesterday, obaachans and ojiichans (elderly ladies and men) gingerly swept and pushed snow off of their driveways using dustpans and garden shovels; this morning, adults running late to work scraped ice off of their windshields with gloved hands and credit cards and kids sloshed their way to school in sopping wet Chuck Taylor Converse shoes.

Of course, I wasn't much better than anyone else. I trekked for 40 minutes to work carrying my 15-kg pack. 

I've got a hundred and one things on my mind as I tie up loose ends at home and at work on top of wondering if I'll make it to Tokyo -> Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -> Perth, Australia -> Outback -> Sydney and back again in one piece. At the same time, I'm getting to be a lot calmer than I used to be the more I set off for new places. As much as I try to plan everything in life 10 steps ahead, I can only take one at a time and respond to one obstacle at a time. I've got my passport, boarding passes, credit card, cash, clean underwear, and journal. Everything else, I'll just have to figure out along the way.

It'll be my first time landing and roaming about a country where I don't know a single soul. As usual, though, I know I'll come back having made a few new friends and memories to last a lifetime. Here's hoping for a thousand things to write about, too.

And to not get bitten by a giant spider or large, wild reptile or mammal.

Punched by a kangaroo, at worst. But nothing more extreme than that.

Oh my gosh, I totally hope I get boxed by a kangaroo.

Here I come, Oz!

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