One person in my Japanese class has really made me reflect on what I want from my life. He sits in front of me and is always early for class. We all know him simply by his first name, Guy. Out of everyone taking Japanese, I believe that he is there with the best intentions. He truly is not there for the grade. His priority is simply to learn the language.
He is 60ish, balding, and white. Really not that many people fit that profile here. He says he just loves it in Japan though. He has traveled all over the country and described Okinawa to me as the "most gorgeous place ever." (I soo want to go!) Today he said he has a Japanese friend who owns a really small high-end French restaurant in Yotsuya. Reservations are required weeks in advance.
I wish I knew more about him. So far we the class only have fuzzy details about his life and thus a very shallow understanding of him. Guy introduced himself as a retired New Yorker. He has lived in Japan for 2 and a half years and enrolled in the class because he lives close to Sophia's campus. I am often paired up with him for conversation practice. One time he mentioned that he used to be interested/collect jewelry (Harry Winston and such). He is always well dressed and wears a Rolex. It is obvious he is well off. However, he is really humble about it and is really easy to talk to.
I once asked him what he does after our class finishes at lunch. He laughed and said "nothing, really." I always see people and wonder, "What is it like to be you?" Guy is one of the most interesting people I have considered yet.
This is what I want when I am older: to have the time and resources to travel and live abroad. Maybe it will have to wait till I retire too. I don't see how it could get any better than that. To not just be a tourist, but actually, truly be a resident. To know enough of the language to get by and learn along the way. Make friends and have connections in foreign countries. Pretty much live on a whim, move as you wish, stay as long as you like. Maybe move back to the states, maybe not. What an inspiration he has been.