Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Always look on the bright side of life"

Apologies for the lack of updates. I've had a jam-packed teaching schedule, various visitors (C from Sai, as well as family), household winter preparations, and first snowfall(s) in Towada to deal with.

Anyway, just a quick note to say that I'm getting sick (again?). I've got the dry cough, sore throat, and congested sinus thing going, so I'm feeling...less than great.

But I'm trying to practice thankfulness.

I mean, it sucked that there was such a large snowfall so early in the winter season (I've been told it was a record-setting snowfall for November in Towada), but I was lucky that I had people over who had no problem waking up early and helping to shovel the snow.

The Hachinohe mid-year seminar (for all JETs in Aomori prefecture) was a bit of a pain since we had to arrange our own transportation and accomodations, but it was great because it gave me the opportunity to fellowship with other Christian JETs. A bunch of us got together for a(n American) Thanksgiving dinner at the home of two (Christian) Hachinohe JETs, W&C. It was truly a blessing for me to be able to listen to everyone sharing about what God was doing in their lives in Japan. And it also made me realize how little I've grown and how apathetic I've been about my relationship with God since coming to Japan. It was a good kick in the butt, so to speak. Moreover, I got the name of W&C's church in Misawa, so I think I'm going to try going to that one instead of Calvary Baptist Church (CBC).

I know I've only been there twice, but I really feel that people at that church will only make an effort to welcome you if you're American (and from the base) or Japanese (and part of the "unevangelized"). I mean, I filled out the visitor card asking for more information, and even indicating that I might be interested in serving, but it's been two weeks and I haven't heard a thing from CBC. Maybe I'm just being impatient, but now that I know there's a church where I'll have at least two friends, I'm not willing to spend more time on CBC.

[22 Jan 2010 Edit: I realize now that I was being very judgmental of CBC because I felt uncomfortable at there and I mistakenly placed the blame for that feeling of discomfort on the church atmosphere instead of my own highly introverted nature. I really didn't give the church a fair chance at all.]

But anyway, this is supposed to be a post about thankfulness, so I digress.

I'm thankful that the weather cleared up for my family's (mom, my aunt, and auntie Selina) last weekend in Japan. We had a great time in Hakodate, and getting them to Misawa station early on Monday morning was no problem since the snow had melted and the weather was good.

Going back to my current state of health, I realized yesterday that the good thing about having a cold is that it makes natto (fermented soy beans) a heck of a lot easier to eat. I was actually able to finish all of my natto during school lunch yesterday simply because the cold dulled my sense of taste enough for me to stomach it! (Usually I can only manage to eat 1/3-1/2 of the serving of natto.)

And speaking of school lunches, today was the first time a particular group of the 3rd year girls talked to me during school lunch of their own volition: they asked me if I had a boyfriend! =P It was pretty funny, actually, because before they asked me, I was listening to them talk about the 3 qualities they look for in guys (face, height, etc.). I couldn't help smiling at their conversation, so I think a couple of them realized I could understand what they were saying, and that's what prompted them to ask me that question. It's too bad, though, that I had to answer, "No, I don't have a boyfriend." I'm really happy being single and not particularly interested in being part of a "couple", but at that particular moment, I did kind of wish I had a boyfriend just so I would have a little more to talk about with them. Instead I just asked them back "Do you have boyfriends?" To which, of course, they all replied "NO!" except for one who jokingly pointed to one of the other girls and said "----'s my boyfriend." ^_~

Another thing that happened at school today was that I found out that tomorrow is my JTE's last day before she goes on maternity leave. At first I was a little irritated that no one bothered to tell me earlier when her last day would be (I sort of figured it out when she told the 1st years that she'd had fun with the class and later asked someone when her last day would be), but, on the bright side, at least I found out today so I could make plans to go in to the school tomorrow to say goodbye properly.

Of course, I'm also sad that we won't be working together anymore. I won't say that it was an ideal working relationship, but I think we got along quite well and that our team-teaching would've improved and gotten more in sync if we'd continued to work together. But I'm thankful that I'll have a little more time than I thought I'd have to get to know the teacher I'll be working with for the rest of the year before I have to make my re-contracting decision.

When T-san (the school clerk/secretary) told me the name of N-sensei's replacement (and the school she'd be coming from), at first I thought that I'd never met her. After I got home, though (a good half-hour later!) I realized that I have indeed met her at Higashi JHS, but I hadn't taught with her, so it took me a while to make the connection. So although I wish my new JTE could've been a teacher I'm more familiar with (and know that I can work with), at least I know that it's not one of the teachers that I find more...challenging to work with. And who knows, maybe I'll end up getting along with her even better than I did with N-sensei--one can always hope!

I'm also thankful to have received my first Christmas card!! (Thanks Ceci!) It actually arrived two days ago, but since I'd been busy cleaning up after my family's visit and doing chores and errands I put off during their stay, I forgot to open it until today. =P Not only was it great to get mail that wasn't a bill, it was a good reminder that I should probably be sending out my cards by next week at the latest.

So yes, there're a lot of things to be thankful for. ^_^

(What are YOU thankful for?)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Photos Up-to-Date!

Wheee! More photos uploaded to Facebook, bringing me up-to-date!! ^_^ Hopefully I'll be able to get around to writing something again soon!

Random Food (yes, more pictures added!)
Tokyo & The Return
Liz & Alan's Excellent Adventure
Short Visit Home
Back to Japan
School Stuff
Kirita Halloween Party
Allie's Birthday