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health + home

everything else in life.

One Year Later....

Caitlin Surakitbanharn

i have officially passed my one year anniversary of leaving my amazing home, New York City, in pursuit of greater things, in pursuit of magic.  i have to tell you... i spent my one year anniversary in Lyon, France...and i can confidently say that the magic i left to pursue...i found it.

so much has changed in the last year.  i left New York, i moved to Indiana, i returned to school for my Ph.D, i met Jao, my life shifted, i moved to Tokyo, Japan to be with him, i've learned some japanese, Jao and i live in our very first little home that is ours..together, i've learned to be more compassionate and more forgiving, i'm getting married, i've learned how to not be so strong...to let someone be there for me and take care of me...so much has changed.

when i moved to indiana, i remember being so ready.  i was ready to dig in, be really into life there, kind of hit the reset button, slow down from the Manhattan madness.  but i also vividly remember posting last year that "your dreams are not what you thought they'd be."  i thought that was my path.... my really cute apartment in West Lafayette that i really truly loved, and spending my nights reading journal papers and all that.  but it all shifted in an instant.

i remember Jao asking me if i wanted to come to Japan with him... and without hesitation, i blurted out "yeah, let's do it."  i have always loved this one particular episode of Grey's Anatomy (lame, i know, but stay with me) when at the end, when George is dying and Izzy might be dying and Meredith says...

did you say it?  i love you. i don't ever want to live without you.  you changed my life.  did you say it? make a plan, set a goal, work towards it...but every now and then, look around.  drink it in 'cause this is it.  it might all be gone tomorrow.

and that was all i could think about.  every time i got nervous about leaving the country to be with someone i'd known for 2 months...that's what i'd think about. how i'd regret it for the rest of my life if i didn't, because this is it.  sometimes plans change....my initial plan changed....i found my person, my soulmate.  so i said yes and i bought my plane ticket and i never looked back.  and it was the greatest decision of my life.  i remember landing at Narita in December, where he was waiting for me, and i stepped off that plane and it was like i was stepping into a new life.  this was it.  i left America and landed in Tokyo...it was my way of saying...i love you, i don't ever want to live without you.  you changed my life.  some people think i'm crazy, some people disagree....life is never what you dream, and i'm lucky enough to be one of those people whose real life is better than her dreams.  forget dreaming..wake me up, i don't want to miss one second of this life with you.

the past year has been insane..no other word for it.  i spent the one year anniversary of the departure for my new life in France, with Jao and more of our friends...dancing, drinking champagne, eating oysters, and eating macaroons.  it sounds like such a cliche but that is truly how i spent my day, and no one knew the significance of the day to me except Jao.  i was standing in our friend Philippe's kitchen that morning, glass of champagne in my hand (9 am, it's how we do it), leaning out the window soaking up the morning sun, and i said to Jao "it's been exactly a year since i left New York." and he smiled and asked how that year had been, and i told him "magic."  and then he kissed my cheek and we danced around the kitchen.  and Philippe took this picture of us...


and if that's not a woman who found the magic she was looking for...i don't know who is.  

there are these moments in life, you know?  moments.  that seem like they're frozen in time and that they just could not be more perfect.... i have many of them.  my first fashion show at NYFW, opening the door to my first very own apartment that i was paying for with my big girl job, getting the email from my advisor that he accepted me into school for my Ph.D....and now there's this.  this moment of dancing, carefree, with the person i love most in this world... and that there's photographic evidence is honestly icing on the cake.  i love this picture because we are just so IN IT.  champagne in hand, together, pure bliss.  

so that's how i wanted to show my year one progress.  that picture.  because that's how this year has made me feel....champagne, dancing, hair flips, and true love.  i had no idea this was what was in store for me when i left 365 days ago...but it's magic ;-)