Saturday, October 9, 2010

Facing Up

HDR Kameari Sunrise (10.8.10) v2
I woke up 20 minutes ahead of my alarm on Friday, which is a bit weird considering I worked late Thursday and didn't end up getting to bed until 2am. My room faces East and the sun had just risen enough that it sent a gentle golden light bursting into my room. There were just enough clouds out to make for a good skyline, so I took a few quick pictures and went back to sleep.

I'd love to share more pictures, but today was a gross and rainy day, so I'll tell you a story instead.

I have recently finally started facing up to some of my fears that come from living abroad. When you move to a foreign country, that baseline upon which you go through life shifts. Many things you just assumed to be one way are now completely different. Others are stuff you do when you finish college and set out on your own, difficult enough in your own country and even more so in a foreign one. You have to adapt and learn as you go, and it can be a scary and difficult process.

My biggest step thus far was my trip to the dentist's office today. Despite having lived here for just short of two years, up to this point I had avoided medical services all together. There's just so many things I don't know about. Not understanding what is typical and what to expect is incredibly intimidating for me. But even scarier, especially in regards to health care, is the language gap. My health related vocabulary is so incredibly basic that I'm fairly certain that I wouldn't understand half of what I was told, even more so if anything was out of the ordinary. I've been fortunate enough to have been in at least fair health since moving over and thus not needed to see a doctor. Until today, I had put off visiting a dentist as long as I could, but one of my wisdom teeth starting coming in and, though not at all painful, I figured I should probably have someone take a look at it just in case.

In the end, I went with Nishieifuku Dental Clinic, a dentist on the complete opposite side of Tokyo that is well regard in the expat community. It took me nearly an hour and a half to get there, but it was worth it. The bulk of the communication was done in Japanese (mostly because I kept speaking to them in Japanese), but the peace of mind from knowing that English was always option made life so much easier for me.

I was advised to let the wisdom tooth come in a little more to make it easier to take out, which seems sensible enough to me. I would also like to note that I was complimented by the assistant on the condition of my teeth and that she was surprised to hear that I hadn't been to the dentist for a cleaning in more than two years. It cost me about $35, which doesn't seem unreasonable, though I have absolutely no clue as to how that number was calculated.

Little by little, I'm trying to get past the fear of not knowing. What I'm beginning to realize is that there will always be things I won't fully comprehend, little black boxes that produce results I don't really understand. All I can do is prepare responsibly, give it my best go, and hope for the best. There will probably be times I get burned, but I'm confident that I will be able to get it right most of the time.

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