About Me

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I'm currently teaching English in Japan and traveling when I can. I don't want to forget anything. So, I try to blog. This is my life.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

When you're a celebrity...

I am so thankful for this weekend. I went to the cabin on the ocean and it was wonderful! Sarah and I drove down Friday night after work. We cooked dinner and ate out on the deck under the stars overlooking the ocean. It was so nice! The next day we cooked breakfast and then went and hung out on the beach all day. The water was a little cold, but not so cold we couldn't get in. It was so nice out! We definitely got some sun!

The beach in Japan is a completely different experience than a beach in America. First of all, everyone is wearing clothes. Longer pants, at least a short sleeved shirt, hats, and lots of umbrellas. I'm pretty sure Sarah and I had on the most revealing outfits and our suits are pretty non-revealing compared to most back home! Guys were pretty much the same I guess, some of them anyway. They just wore shorts or swimming trunks. Oh, there were naked little kids running around too. I just mean, the girls/women dressed very modestly at the beach. They believe the whiter you are, the more beautiful, so they avoid the sun getting to their skin. Weird, American girls think exactly opposite that usually!

Sarah and I got videotaped walking down the beach. We were probably on the news or something. I saw the dudes with the camera and made a joke about them taping the American girls, and sure enough the next thing we know they whip the camera up and point it right at us as we walked down the beach. We just laughed. The way people are to us here is a little ridiculous. People act like they've never seen a non-Asian before. They stare at us and talk about us all of the time. It's a little weird. I guess it's a small glimpse into the life of a celebrity! Haha!

Speaking of celebrities, can I just say how sad I think this whole thing is with John and Kate Plus 8. I mean, I'm not some crazy obsessed person, but it truly breaks my heart. They are real people, real kids, and that was a real family. They truly seem like good people that got lost in the wrong things and they forgot about the important things. Watching the episodes truly makes me want to cry. My heart breaks for those kids more than anything.

On another note, I miss going to church. I miss church so much. I never realized how much I took it for granted. I haven't been to church in almost 5 months. There aren't any English speaking churches anywhere around. We do have a little gathering/fellowship thing on Sunday nights with the American staff from school. They play songs, give testimonies, have a little message and such. It's not the same though. Nowhere near the same. It's a totally different experience not having God (or at least the word and an opportunity to worship) spoon-fed to you at least once a week. You don't realize how lucky you are to have that opportunity until, well, you don't. At the same time, it's definitely a way to develop your relationship with him in a completely different way.

I miss my family, I miss my friends, and I miss church. Those are the things I miss the most these days.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Teacher or mother?

I am so bad at keeping up with a blog. I'm trying though. Lets see..two weekends ago was Kids and Parents Day. This was an extremely stressful time. I worked way way way too many hours getting ready for this day and then was exhausted when it finally came. I think everything went pretty well though, but I am very glad it's over. This was an extremely intimidating day. Not only are you judged on your teaching you are also judged on your room- it had to be perfect. Japanese people are all about presentation, so..I tried my best to make everything look perfect. The day started out with greeting the kids and their parents. Then the kids went and did pony rides. After that, everyone came inside and I taught a 40 minute circle. Doesn't sound so bad, but.. I had close to 40 people in my room just watching me. Overall the teaching part went well. I had one little boy who was kinda making noises and stuff, and then a lot of my dry erase markers stopped working when the kids were writing their words. But, if that's the worst that happened, I was happy.
After that we went down to the play hall and played relay games. The kids loved this and it was fun to watch! The kids did relays with their moms and then their dads. Then we did the Hokey Pokey. Then we went outside and had a bbq. It rained a little, but over all was a pretty nice day.

We had the day off on Monday the 15th. Sarah and I went to the waterfalls. We packed a lunch and ate down by the water. Since it was semi-hot, we decided to be daring and try to get in the water. It was so so so cold. I mean, it hurt my feet to stand in it for even just a couple of seconds. We got in it a little bit, but it was just entirely too cold. We had fun though. It was a nice relaxing day, and nice to get away.

This past weekend, I went and saw the new Transformers movie. It actually came out in Japan before America. We usually get movies a couple months after America, but for some reason this one was early. Saturday I got another massage. It was pretty good. The girl I had this time had some crazy strong hands. She was itty bitty too! I have bruises on my back from her working out my knots! Saturday night there was a potluck dinner where everyone just kind of came to hang out.

I can not believe it is the last full week of June. We started level 13 today in my class. We started at 11 and go to 20. In less than a month the first trimester will be over. Crazy! We have parent interviews (like parent-teacher conferences) in a couple of weeks, then summer school, then..Australia!!! Let me tell you, as much as I am looking forward to Australia, I am not looking forward to parent interviews. Those alone honestly make me not want to be a teacher. Ugh..I hate talking to parents about how their kids are in the classroom, it intimidates me!

Today was an interesting day. I felt way more like a mommy than a teacher. I had six kids cry today. Two kids needed a change of clothes. Sorted out at least four arguments/problems through some broken English and tears. Cleaned cuts and put on several band-aids. All that on top of the normal everyday mom-type stuff that I have to do. I love my kids, but today was a bit draining!!

This weekend I am going to the cabin on the ocean. I am so excited. It will be so nice to get away and just relax with a few people by the water. I am hoping it is hot and sunny!! It has been raining so much, I just want a little bit of summer this weekend.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bible Talk

I am exhausted. I have already worked 43 hours this week and still have three more days to go. I haven't been sleeping the greatest, I am missing people in the States, and I'm stressed. I have no idea what the next step in my life is going to be, and I do my best to not think about it much.

But today, despite all of those complaints, I was reminded of why I am here. We took the kids up top for Bible Talk with the other kindergarten classes. They are Japanese kindergartens, so Bible Talk is all in Japanese. I had no idea what was being said other than from looking at the pictures. I know it was about Jesus, and his death and resurrection though.

In my classroom, I have a children's Bible that I read out of every so often. Today I took about five minutes and asked them questions about what was said at Bible Talk. I found the story in our Bible and read it to them in English. It was so amazing telling them about Jesus and how he loves them. They knew that Jesus came for all of us because we are bad (that's how they said it). So, I talked about how everyone does "bad things", even me, but that's why Jesus came. He loved us so much that he came to take our punishment. We talked about how we should love Jesus more than anyone, even our moms and dads. We talked about Heaven and how there are castles ( "Like sandcastles, Ms. Kim?" ) and streets made out of gold, and no more crying. They got excited about that!

I know it's only kindergarten, but those kids listened. I truly believe they understood it-as much as five and six year olds can anyway. It was so awesome to be able to talk to them about Jesus though. They loved talking about it, and I loved talking with them about it. Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in the "school" part of the day that I can forget the real reason that I am working with these kids. Yes, I want them to learn English, but more than anything I want them to know the love of Jesus.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Time flies

I can't believe how fast time goes by these days. Things have been so busy lately. This weekend is Kids and Parents Day. I have been trying to get my room and my kids ready for this day. Ours is on Saturday, and the other campus' is on Sunday. We have to work both. For Kids and Parents day, we have parents, grandparents, siblings, and whoever else feels like coming at our school. They watch us teach a 40 minute block in the classroom. Talk about intimidating! They just stand there and watch us. Ugh, I'm not really looking forward to it. Although, I am starting to get a little more used to being watched. We constantly have people in our rooms watching us teach. We've had teachers from Korea here a few times, and then just random people every so often. They are selling the curriculum the school created, so they allow people to come in and see it being used. Sometimes I've had 15 people or so in my room at a time. I think it will be a little different with it being the kids parents, but I am just going to try to pretend like they are Koreans. :) South Koreans that is!!!

This past weekend was finally a relaxing weekend. The weekend before I had to work at 7am on Sunday. I sold cookies all day. Although on the upside- I had a real American style hot dog! All of the hot dogs here seem more like the consistency of brats, and I really was just wanting a real hot dog. Well, as real as a hot dog can be anyway. This weekend I went to a movie Friday night with a couple of girls. Saturday night Sarah and I hung out around the apartment. Sunday afternoon we decided to venture out downtown. We got some food and read at Starbucks. Nothing exciting, but just nice to be away. I never really thought living so close to school would bother me. It's great in the mornings, being about 30 seconds away from work. But, other than that I just always feel like I am at work. I can always hear the music over the loud speakers, or people talking, or kids outside. The kids know where I live. Ha, when we walk close to our apartments, one little boy always asks me "Ms. Kim's house?" and I seriously just ignore him. That sounds so mean..but, sometimes you just need your space you know?

We had an earthquake drill today. I'm glad we did, because I would have no idea what to do with my kids if we had a real earthquake during school. I'm not sure how together I would be able to keep it if we have a big earthquake one day. I mean, I've felt a couple that I barely even realized were earthquakes. But, if we have a big one..not sure how I'm going to feel about that!

Time in Japan so far: 4 months, 1 day
Australia: 1 month, 27 days
Mom comes to Japan: 3 months, 27 days
Home for Christmas: 6 months, 13 days