Saturday, February 26, 2011

oh my goodness...

well i have certainly not been a very loyal blogger have i?  i am ashamed to say that i havent gotten much done on here in the last four months now...yikes.  sorry to anyone (if there is anyone out there still!) who is checking this or hoping for some action.  i didnt forget about this, but once some time had passed it seemed too much had happened to try and blog about it all, so i kept putting it off and putting it off...until today!

okay, where to start?!  my last blog was in november last year, so happy new year and valentines day and presidents day and coming of age day and foundation day ect!  i spent the loveliest of holidays finishing up 2010 in the incredible country of india.  i went to volunteer in building some homes in a dailit village just north/east of chennai and then toured a bit of the country with my good friend Brittany, who lives on the next island over.  we had an amazing, life changing time meeting new friends and learning so much about the world around us as we went.  i know that india stole a bit of my heart and as overwhelming as it was in the start, after two weeks i had begun to stitch some of the indian ways and customs into my own and i know now i have to get back and explore some more.  im so grateful to those of you out there that helped in funding our project to build homes.  please know that those people expressed their gratitude and appreciation for your help every time they interacted with us.  i will never forget the beautiful smiles of the chevuru people.  (by the way this is a SUPER editied version of this trip.  if any of you would like more details email me or buy me a beer when i get back.  i could talk about this for days.)

so after ushering in the new year on a rooftop in gudivada with crazy indian fireworks, johnny walker and cake i came back to my island reality, naru.

winter in goto is not the hardest thing to do, not gunna lie.  i suppose that after 25 nebraska winters though nothing short of the tundra is hard to deal with.  this was the nicest winter of my life, even though they say that it was colder than last year.  i didnt agree for some reason and found this winter to be really enjoyable.  i say that it was enjoyable because technically japanese people believe that we are in spring already.  they use the chinese lunar calender when it comes to seasons.  spring a month early?, im fine with that!

temps dropped into the 40s around here and it actually did snow a few times, though it never stuck.  perhaps the hardest thing about winter here is the fact that NONE of the buildings, including my apartment, have any insulation in them, so often they feel colder inside that it is outside.  no one has central heat or air anywhere here either so the classrooms are really cold and the poor students just freeze to death during those cold months.  poor things, they cant wear anything extra really that isnt their uniforms so the girls still have to wear their skirts and short socks and just sit in class saying "samui, samui, samui" over and over.  (cold, cold, cold).  it seriously prevents much from actually getting accomplished during those times and i think it would be in the japanese govts best interest to look into heating students classes during winter.  but that is just me and what do i know...

okay, so february has been a big month of making new plans.  i had to decide at the beginning of the month whether i would be staying again or not.  i was pretty certain of my decesion before i left for india, but knew after i came back that i would for sure be leaving japan this year.  i do love this place, but living on a little island with little or not refuge or real communication with people on a daily basis is kind of taking its toll on me and i think that leaving after two years is my best choice.  i feel good about my choice, though every time i think about leaving this place just six short months from now i feel a bit sad about it.  well, i knew i wouldnt be here forever, and change is inevitable, so change i must.  i am doing my very best to enjoy my daily walks to school, the crazy beautiful sunsets, the hawks constantly overhead and my newly discovered like for running along the coast lines here.  this little island is really magicl and i feel so lucky to have had the chance to discover it for the last year or so.  i will do my best to keep discovering for awhile longer now!

so now february is nearly over here and i am gearing up for a change of staff and students (well, a few at least) in naru.  the school year here ends in march and the high school kids will graduate on the 1st with the others finishing around the 23rd.  they will then take a few weeks off and resume in april at some date yet to be decided.  in those two weeks off a bunch of teachers here will be shuffled around.  when you are a teacher in japan you work for the govt and they get to choose where you will work every year.  usually they let a teacher stay in one place for 3-5 years and then give you a new assignment.  you get little or no say in where this new place will be and when your order comes to move you go, no questions asked.  if you dont go you can kiss your job or any chance of teaching in japan again goodbye, forever.  so needless to say, during the month of march teachers around here are all pretty jumpy and anxious to hear if they need to start packing boxes or if they will stay on again.  its hard to say whether people love their assignments in naru or hate them.  if they are young and want to marry the pool to choose from gets teeny tiny here, well really almost non existant and so they have to figure some thing else out for a few years.  if they have families many of the families will stay on the mainland to go to better schools and spouses can work.  there is little or no work on this island if you arent a govt worker or a fisherperson.  so, this time is quickly approaching and i am kind of looking forward to who may be here in the next month but kinda getting ready to miss some people that will almost surely be leaving this year too.  its strange for me, but they are all used to this for sure.  they all gasp when i tell them about teaching in america and how you can easily stay at the same teaching post for your entire career and teachers often do.  just proves even further that they are all really always concerned about the great wa here.  making sure they all suffer the same is keeping things fair i guess.

okay, so graduation is coming up and im going to try and snap some shots to share (gasp!) on here.  i got a new camera from santa because he decided that my old one deserved to go to someone staying at one of the hotels where i stayed in india.  i understand santa, you just wanted me to have a better one, right?!  great. 

oh and sakura matsuri is right around the corner too.  that is the cherry blossom festivals around here and i am armed and ready this year!

hope any of you out there still getting this are all well and happy and enjoying the last of the frosty time in 2011.  spring is on the way!