It's hard to imagine that three months ago I was sitting in a hospital bed recovering from surgery and a month after that I was adjusting to a temperature change of 43 degrees to 1 degree centigrade.
I can remember waiting for hours at the Narita airport for my boss to arrive. The drabness of the airport combined with the language barrier made the reality of my situation sink in. The ride on the bullet train showed that Japan can be both beautiful and ramshackle in one hit. The supermarket that night scared the living daylights out of me. I have to admit...that first two weeks was really hard. I had a video of me at a low ebb questioning my choice to come here.
And now I am here...
It's incredible. I might only know a small amount of vocab but my charade skills are professional level...no, I am not kidding. I have mad skillz.
In two months I have been to Tokyo for two weekends. I have been into Shizuoka city many times, finally driving in solo this past fortnight. I've been strawberry picking, shrine visiting, and attended countless dinners with parents. I have eaten things that I never would have considered at home. I have gotten depressed when I realise that my assumption, that clothes were beyond me here, was correct. I got depressed again when I realised the same thing about shoes. I have sung karaoke twice, once in a room and once in front of a band. Beyonce can no longer be voiced by yours truly. I got even more bummed out when one of my kids cut my fave hat. I have booked trips to Hiroshima (next weekend), Osaka and Kyoto (the week after that). I have also started squirreling away cash for my trip to New York in August.
I have the bug. The travel bug. It bit me hard and now I am carrying a big ass scar.
The thought of seeing Hiroshima next weekend thrills me. I know it is going to completely bum me out but that's the point of the experience. I really want to leave a paper crane at the monument in Peace Park.. My colleague and I are also planning on seeing the torii gate at Miyajima Island - that famous orange gate in the middle of the ocean. Apparently there are monkeys there...I don't know whether to be excited or scared. Unfortunately there is no home game for the Hiroshima Carp baseball team that weekend so I won't get that particular pleasure, though I am determined to see one live.
I have plans to visit Kamakura soonish as well as Okinawa. Some of you know of my fascination with all things war related. Okinawa was a key point in the Pacific-side of WW2, it is also one beautiful place. Having met a resident recently and really thinking about where I want to go, this was one of the places. It still houses an American base and (apparently) reminds people of Hawaii.
The NY trip is making me particularly excited. I have accommodation already set up and tickets are the next thing to secure. After hearing about it since I was a kid (for some reason I equate it with Sesame Street - go figure), the thought of actually being in NY is beyond exciting. I've had a few people ask me why NY since they know I am nuts to visit Europe. I have some great mates in the US, bloggers and authors alike. NY is the perfect combination of people and places so I can achieve a lot in a very little small of time. There might be a detour to Washington though as someone has expressed interest in meeting up. I am more excited about having coffee with people I email with constantly than seeing Central Park....though Sharon might get commandeered to give me a tour of The Strand! Sharon doesn't know about this yet but she will, either through twitter or her Google alerts :) The lovely Mitali is also someone I hope to meet up with a gush over books and FNL. Dream come true.
Give me some suggestions people...
What are some of the memories (good and bad) so far:
- supermarket meltdown
- discovering the joy of Denny's
- eating a raw squid
- being complimented on my excellent Japanese pronunciation...though typically on my use of 'arigato' lol
- my Koala class...they are my sweet peas
- My colleague...she's my training wheels and unfortunately leaving in 2 weeks
- Seeing The Lion King in Japanese
- Shibuya intersections...just as nuts as you would think
- Hanging out with Yae and meeting her folks
- Cassis - lovely berry alcoholic drink
- Strawberry picking
- Learning how to make guacamole and therefore initiating a Shizuoka fad
- Driving manual in a foreign city solo
- Paying bills when I have no idea what they are
- Catching the Shinkansen for the first time
- Tokyo subway
- Dying my hair with a translator on standby for directions
- Still not understanding why the Japanese insist on reversing into parks
- Realising my kids are learning words like 'lovely' from me alone.
- Skype...my lifeline
- Having a chorus of 'Adele Sensei cute' said to me
- And my favourite request/demand ever....'Adele Sensei, hug please!'
The big revelation is that teaching might not be for me much longer. I can only see myself teaching in a literature capacity these days. I am weighing my options and trying to figure out what I am actually qualified for outside of teaching. Books are my passion, specifically YA. Maybe this means studying to be a librarian or pursing publishing...who knows? Though both sounds like careers that would plug into my passions and allow me more contact with people that share those same interests. I seem to inadvertently surround myself with non-readers, it's time to switch that up!