Saturday, July 20, 2013

Looking back....4 months.

Some days I feel like I'm not quite settled, but most days; my routine of school, grocery shopping, eating out and taking the train, feels very natural. I've never NOT felt like I was in exactly the right place since I first visited a year ago June.

While some things have become easier, ordering out at restaurants and fumbling through a request at the post office, others are still difficult. Having the apartment service men come to my apartment or package mix ups with delivery or missing my friends and family, for example.

During this first 4 months the only thing that has held my absolute unending attention has been my students. I figured, if I can get a handle on this, then this summer I can worry about the rest. While I don't think I can say I have a firm grip on the classroom situation (and in all honestly I probably should never have a firm grip because that would mean I've become rigid and that can't work if I want to be sure to grow and give each student what they need) I have enough of a hand hold that things improved with my own lesson plans and I did see growth in all of my students.  Some of that growth was intellectual, some growth was listening and speaking and some students had to learn the hard way that college is serious stuff and if you want to pass the class you'll have to come and put in the time and do the work.   I'm extremely excited for the fall semester and while I'll miss each and every one of my students while we are on break, and I'll miss going to the classroom everyday, it's time to switch my attention to myself.

All of that "rest" I talked about includes: learning more Japanese, figuring out how to work in a workout routine in this loathsome heat, learning to prepare more dishes sans oven, perhaps finding a gym where they will let a tattooed American swim in their pool, make new friends and reconnect with some old friends and of course travel.

After tomorrow It will be time to turn that microscope I've had trained on my students to myself and where to begin, oh where to begin....

Today it begins with a 3 mile walk and 30 squats followed by a trip into Ikebukuro to go to place called Sakura Cafe which apparently is a great place to meet fellow expats.

Wednesday it's with DisneySea! After tackling DisneyLand a month ago (see picture below) it's time to explore the "better" side, as my students insist.

Next Monday I head up to Kesennuma for 4 days, to volunteer with a group from the school to do some teaching in the elementary schools and beach clean up from the 2011 Tsunami.

Sometime in August, probably near the end I'll head back up to Sendai to see some of my old Suttle Lake teacher friends.

September I have a trip to S. Korea planned, no details yet, with some friends from school and hopefully I'll be going  back in October to see Juli.

That may seem like a lot to some of you and it might be, but I also need to fit in studying Japanese (I'm tired of not being able to read anything) and doing more research for my school mandated research project.

I'll keep you updated, I know I haven't been good about it lately, but I'll do better this summer :)


1 comment:

  1. I love this post! I'm glad that you are doing so well there.
    It all sounds so fun!

    Also, sucks about that whole not liking tattooed foreigners in the pool thing. I hear about that from places in the US too. In fact, I think Margaret Cho has a nice long rant online about being discriminated against at a Korean spa here in the US for tattoos as well.