My Story Part II: The Three YESSES

Someone once told me that between the ages of 18 and 21, there are three times that you say YES or NO to something that set the wheels in motion that run the little engine that could called your life.  As far as I know there is no evidence to support this – no psychology studies, no neurology thesis, nothing.

But the very idea that three YESSES or NOs between the ages of 18 and 21 is an interesting talking point in small group conversations.  It’s a game that I’ve played many times with friends. Inevitably everyone comes up with three threshold moments in their life when they chose YES or NO and that decision  set them on the journey of their life.

Some have NOs, some have YESSE, and others have both. I have YESSES.

My three YESSES

    1. YES to a position in business
    1. YES to a dinner invitation
    1.  YES to immigration

Yes to Business World
In my last post I wrote about my “writing.”  I know that I could have parlayed my way into a full time position writing for the Daily Mainichi paper, but I was offered an entry level secretarial job with a major shipping company, the pay dwarfed anything that I could have earned as an apprentice working for a newspaper and there was a certain cache working for a major foreign company. I was 18.  Boy!  Could I strut my stuff! Of course, I took it. What 18 year old wouldn’t?

The Dinner that Changed My Life
An invitation to a dinner introduced me to a group of Canadians.  As is so often the case at such dinners, mostly made up of expats, people are encouraged to talk about who they are, where they are from, and what they do.  Of course if everyone already knows each other, this is skipped.  At that dinner I was the only unknown.  Attention and friendly questions were asked. This was the first time they had actually met someone who was a “man without a country.”

A little bit of backtracking here.  I was born in Japan of Russian parents.   You could say that my real story began in 1917, when the Tsar of Russia lost his country and his life.  My grandparents too lost their country but escaped with their lives as they boarded rolling stock that took them to the Far East, first to China and eventually to Japan.  Officially we had no country.  Japan does not grant citizenship to other than the Japanese.  We were Stateless.

The Canadians at the dinner were aghast … why, Canada would be happy to welcome me as an immigrant and I could even become a woman with a country, I could become a Canadian citizen.   But of course!

Decision to Immigrate
The next day I schlepped on over to the Canadian Embassy, picked up immigration papers and within the week sent in my application.  Ta Da!  A year later I arrived in Vancouver as an immigrant.  Being stateless I had no country passport to travel with.  The Red Cross issued me a passport so I could travel.  On arrival in Vancouver I produced my Red Cross passport and showed it to the immigration officer.  He welcomed me to Canada and wished me well.    Five years later I became a Canadian citizen.  As soon as I could, I got my Canadian passport.  At last, a woman with a country.  Good or good?

So, how about if we play the game?  What were your three YESSES between the ages of 18 and 21 that put you on the rolling stock that became your life to date?  Today I would change the age span, as I find that young people are not quick to make major decisions early on in life, many “wander” around for years before finding their groove.  So how about if we make that from age 18 to 25.  What are the  three times when you said YES or NO (or combo) that were pivotal to your life so far?

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