This week…

… has had two main focuses (foci?): Europe, and grad school applications.

Euro-planning is going surprisingly smoothly. Flight is booked, as is our EuroStar from London to Paris, and our hotel in Paris. I’m still working on lodging in London and Provence, and the train from Paris to the South, but I’m hoping to wait until we get some of our bonus points on the AMEX card we opened a few months ago. Otherwise, I’m trying not to over-plan, but we do have a pretty decent itinerary set. I only wish we could add more (and go to Italy too!)

It’s kind of funny… everyone says that they speak English in Paris, and no one has the patience to deal with your weak American attempts at fitting in. But I have e-mailed at least two hotels in Paris, in my crappy French, and gotten perfectly nice French responses. It could be different over email, but maybe I will get to practice some French over there after all!

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As for the grad school apps, I have decided to apply for two Master’s programs that are available on-campus and online (the degree will not specify that it is online, so that is nice, for those who may stigmatize that approach.) I don’t know for sure that I will actually end up enrolling, but I’d like the option to, if I am accepted. My plan for now is to get to Japan, get settled, give job-hunting a solid shot, and then make a decision about the degree based on what I find. I don’t like the idea of paying for a degree or acquiring debt, but I also don’t like the idea of getting back to the States and wishing I had taken better advantage of that downtime to remain competitive and improve myself.

I know that when I struggled finding work in NC, it was because I was either overqualified for most positions, or underqualified due to lack of a Master’s degree. If I need to specialize, and I have free time at my disposal in Japan, that may be the time to close that gap and get out of the awkward in-between phase! Of course, Lord knows where we’ll end up in 3 years, or what my goals will be at that point… but (money aside), it can’t hurt to acquire more education, right? Plus, these particular programs will help steer my resume in the direction I would like it to go – on paper at least.

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