Monday, September 28, 2009


I’m writing this blog post at 10,000 feet as I fly to Japan. (OK, I’m not the one doing the actual flying, but I bet you guessed that. And yes, I wrote this Saturday but didn't post it until now.) Over the next two weeks, I will practice various enzyme assays (and hopefully become qualified to do them) and learn everything I need to know to be a one-woman Quality Control Department. At least in theory; I’m not sure how well anyone in the Japanese lab speaks English. Hopefully we’ll be able to understand each other.

I’m not too thrilled about having to make this trip. I haven’t slept well in months, and my insomnia has been even worse lately; I don’t need massive jet lag on top of that. I don’t know how well I’ll handle the culture shock. But the worst thing about this trip is leaving my family, especially Alex. My trip in June had him talking about “Mommy’s bus” for days. He was asleep when I left the house this morning, so at least I was spared having to hear him wail again. I hope this long absence doesn’t traumatize him! Eugene really has to cut his work hours to care for Alex while I’m gone. We’ve been long-distance before, but that doesn’t make it fun.

Characters in novels go on journeys fairly often. Physical shifting of scenes can help to move the plot forward, make the story interesting, and introduce the character (and the reader) to new cultures. Journeys are useful in fiction for another reason: they can force character growth. Placing a character in unfamiliar settings takes them out of their comfort zones and make them develop new skills. This is something I’ll be experiencing firsthand!

I don’t know how much time I’ll have to post during my stay, but I’ll try to keep you updated on how my trip goes. I do get a couple days to play tourist, so hopefully that will go well.

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