It’s been a while since I featured a Brown Mom Abroad. I’ve actually really missed this series as I’m personally inspired by each of the ladies interviewed.
I’m excited to jump back into this interview series with Amanda!
Amanda is a 28-year-old Brown Mom Abroad living in Japan! She has a beautiful baby girl and is expecting her second baby!
BMA: When did you first get your passport?
Amanda: I first received my passport before I was even in kindergarten! My dad was in the military all while I was growing up and we were stationed overseas in Germany from the time I was in Kindergarten until around 2nd grade, so I grew up having an active passport.
BMA: What city or country is your favorite place to visit and why?
Amanda: I would have to say that my favorite place to visit is NYC! We used to go to Manhattan every few summers here and there when I was young because the city holds a lot of nostalgia for my parents because that’s where they first met! It’s just such an incredibly vibrant city! So much diversity, so much life!
BMA: What city or country was your worst place to visit and why?
Amanda: Not initially. I want to experience every country, culture, etc for what it is! Every place can be a learning experience but I know for me safety is my biggest issue. If safety wasn’t as big of an issue, I could see myself traveling to more places with less of a guard.
BMA: Is there any city or country that you have absolutely no desire to visit? Why?
Amanda: If I were to be honest, I would have to say South Korea. It’s not that it’s a bad place but I think I just didn’t go at the right time. It was December, cold, and my friend and I went on a whim with not a lot of cash on us so we were bumming it but I will say that that food was amazing and I want to go back for some real shopping!
BMA: Can you list all the places you’ve lived and how many years in each place?
Staten Island, NY (5 months)
Fort Drum, NY (4 years)
Wurzberg, Germany (9 months)
Bamburg, Germany (1.5 years)
Fayetteville, NC (2.5 years)
Fort Stewart, GA (3 years)
Fort Drum, NY (2.5 years)
Savannah, GA (2 years)
Statesboro, GA (5 years)
Nagoya, Japan (1 year)
Savannah, GA (6 months)
Sapporo, Japan (1.5 years)
Fukuoka, Japan (1.5 years)
Currently: Nagoya, Japan
BMA: Have you experienced discrimination for being brown while traveling abroad? Can you elaborate on your experience?
Amanda: I have faced some discrimination while living abroad and it almost always comes in the form of microagressions. Very rarely have I had someone outright say or do anything to me or lash out at me but there will be instances where people won’t sit next to me on public transportation, staring is huge, and I have been followed in stores. I know a lot of it is because I am living in a country where 99% of the people look the same and I greatly stand out. Most of the staring or “odd” questions I get are a product of ignorance but I don’t know how long that can be an “excuse” when we live in such a growing, diverse world and information is so readily available. I just try to ignore what I can, educate when I can, and live my life as normally as possible without changing who I am for the comfort and sake of others.
BMA: What made you decide to live abroad?
Amanda: I was always interested in Japanese culture and the language growing up. When I found out that I could take a year to study abroad in college, I took full advantage of the opportunity and met so many great people and had so many interesting and eye-opening experiences that I made the effort to come back and start a teaching career out there. Once I met my husband and we started our family, living in Japan was just a part of my life cycle and I have been out here ever since.
BMA: Can you list all the cities/countries you visited?
Amanda: I have done most of my traveling within the east coast of America, while in Germany, I had the opportunity to visit Berlin and the Czech Republic, and I am making my way through all of the prefectures of Japan!
BMA: What do you wish you knew before you decided to move abroad?
Amanda: I wish that I knew more of the language before making the move to Japan. I studied a bit before studying abroad, while abroad, and while teaching but I wish that I had a higher level before deciding to make this place my home. Luckily, it’s not impossible to survive out here with little to no language abilities but with the types of relationships I want to make within the community, a higher ability would have made the process a lot easier but I have learned so much over the years that it’s really about just getting out there and living life. The language will come with experience, effort, and most of it you won’t learn directly from a textbook!
BMA: Did you meet your husband in your home country or while living abroad?
Amanda: We met during my stint of teaching through the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan!
BMA: How long do/did you plan on living abroad?
Amanda: We plan to live here for the most part since my husband has a very stable job in Japan but we have the opportunity to spend some time in America which I think will really help our daughter keep a connection to my home country and language!
Enjoyed meeting Amanda? Follow her journey abroad!
Thank you Amanda for being so incredibly patient and interviewing with Brown Moms Abroad! Looking forward to seeing photos of your beautiful baby #2.