“January” as in “October through January and most of February” because I haven’t written a blog post in like almost 5 months.
I started writing this post on February 4th but just like I didn’t do my laundry for 2 weeks, I also procrastinated on finishing this. Tonight the laundry is hanging up to dry finally, so we’re all good.
It’s the middle of February; my 11th month in Japan. I’m resurrecting as I see hints of Spring coming.
Winter can suck it, honestly. A part of me dies every winter like the rest of nature does. The only good part about Winter is that the cockroaches and spiders die as well, and don’t try to come live in my house with me.
But the point is that I’m coming back from the dead, and like the world does during Springtime, I’m going to blossom and have a bunch of babies.
That was a joke, I’m not reproducing.
Enough weird antics, I’m actually getting really serious about what I want to do with my foreseeable future. These 250 Japanese kids I see every day have inspired me enough to face my recent biggest fear:
GOING BACK TO SCHOOL
LIKE A COLLEGE/UNI WITH HOMEWORK AND CLASS SCHEDULES AND SHHH.
It’s not the actual learning part that scares me, but the fact that I have to inevitably stay in America for the next couple years, because going to a university here in Japan just isn’t very realistic.
I wanted to escape and go to Italy instead of facing America, I even had multiple families who wanted to welcome me as an Aupair in their homes there. But this past month especially I’ve had clarity reach my brain when I’m at the kindergarten and I realize how much I want this life for a long time. When they run up to me in the morning to hug me hello, or bring me something they drew at home, or when a kid who hated English starts enjoying it because I’ve gained their trust.
I want to be a teacher.
A real one, with credentials and knowledge and something to give.
Elementary school keeps popping into my head after we took the graduating 6-year-olds on a field trip to a nearby Elementary school. The kids there were so funny and smart, and they had this unreal level of compassion and understanding that took me by surprise.
Since starting this post I’ve (I mean, thx Mom..) applied to University of Hawaii in Hilo. Which for all of you keeping track back home, is on the same island I was on when I was with YWAM. It’s like I would be back in a place I love, but as a new person. Not going backwards, but forwards with plans & dreams.
So can you all collectively ask Jesus right now that they accept me and let my plan come to fruition so I don’t put it off any longer.
Update on my Japanese skills: I feel really comfortable at this point. It’s almost been a year, and even though I have a language book and everything, 98% of my learning has been through trial and error and repetition. Like there are some things I hear so often that even in my ALONE TIME AT HOME I say it in Japanese to myself. Just because of repetition, not because I’m trying to be cool haha.
My speaking is still definitely lacking whenever I leave the kindergarten, because I’ve gotten so used to talking to kids that I get scared of talking to adults sometimes. You don’t really talk to adults about bugs and robots and what kind of fruit they like.
The other day one of the 4-year-old girls was like “Sarah you understand Japanese?!” even though 99.9% of the conversations I have with her are in Japanese unless we’re practicing English lol. Smh, they don’t give me enough credit.
If I get into UofH I’m definitely getting myself into a Japanese class to continue learning. I’m scared of losing what I know now due to lack of daily use. (There’s always anime with no subs *thumbs up*)
I really don’t want to leave Japan.
I want to continue waking up and stepping outside to Japan air. And walk to work every morning, looking to my right to see a little hill that I’ve always wanted to climb and sit on but can’t because it’s private property. Walking past a little farmers’ market that sells fresh produce for close to nothing that I say I need to buy from more often but never seem to. Then crossing the street, waiting for forever because there are always so many cars at 8am. Passing the Lawson convenience store, often stopping in for that day’s lunch or a quick onigiri and juice for breakfast. Seeing the same girl going to school/work/wherever she goes every day, who always seems to have a scowl on her face but I’ve imaged us in another life being friends and greeting each other every morning. Or the guy who takes a smoke in his garden at the same time every day, giving me a little nod of acknowledgement. I keep going and there’s always the same cats, a really fat orange one and a tiny little speckled one. They both hate me. The road then gets steeper and at this point every day I become fully awake and think to myself, “I love it here,” before opening the gate to the Kindergarten, putting the lock back on, and starting my day with greeting all of the people I’ve grown to love so much.
Yeah, I want that when I wake up.
Wherever I work in the future, I want that same feeling. Like I’m going somewhere comfortable, like a home or a safe place.
I’m going to miss riding the train on weekends with the sun pouring through the windows onto all of the passengers’ heads, a book in my hands, looking out at all of the buildings as we pass them. Everyone’s always on their phones. Other than the inconvenience of it, I’m glad I never bought a SIM card for my phone. It’s way more interesting to read or look at the aesthetically-pleasing Japanese architecture I like so much.
I’m going to miss the food. So much. Miso soup and shirasu and gyuniku.
I’m going to miss waiting for the bus. And the overly friendly restaurant staff. And cool clothes. And wearing masks so casually. And karaoke nights. And Pocari Sweat. And vending machines everywhere I look. And using yen. And the feeling I get when riding in a car through narrow Japanese streets. And not being scared walking places by myself. And the really adorable guys who work in hair salons that always tell me I’m cute. And Fuji-san. And Japanese trees.
And my people. Everyone I’ve met here. That’s what I’ll miss the most.
Today we had an 音楽会 (music festival/recital) at the kindergarten and all of the kids performed songs they’ve been practicing for weeks. Songs that will not, under any circumstance, leave my head…”tomodachi-i-i neee!“
Tomorrow they do it again for the parents who couldn’t make it today and I know I’ll die a little more inside because it’ll be the last big event of the year other than graduation.
Japanese people will stand in line over night to have the best spot to see their kids and take videos, but they don’t ever cheer when the songs are over. It’s so weird. In American culture we’re super loud and annoying about it, everyone’s like “YO, THAT’S MY KID!!” but here they just clap like some guy gave a speech instead of their adorable kids singing in their adorable voices after over a month of practice.
I want to be more annoying and go “WOOooOooo!” more but I keep it to like 2 seconds to not piss off the people next to me. I feel like kids respond well to that kind of praise, they deserved it.
Afterwards, two of the volunteer helper moms who I’ve grown to know pretty well came up to me and started crying because it’s almost been a whole year and I’m leaving in a month. More so than my host fam and the other teachers, hearing those moms say thank you for being such a good teacher and reminding me how much all of the kids love me did something to my heart. I had to step away and break down privately afterwards.
The 5/6 year old boys make me draw them things constantly. What they want comes in phases, one week it’s dinosaurs, or sports cars, or bugs. Recently they’re collecting these different kinds of Kirby’s (Goku Kirby was my favorite). But now instead of them watching me, I make them sit down and practice drawing next to me or else I won’t give them one. They make me a Kirby and we swap, so now I have a bunch of these little drawings on my fridge. It’s so cute, it went from, “Sarah, draw me somethinggg!” to “Sarah let’s draw togetherrr!” One of the boys is really talented and started to draw his own Kirby’s at home and then give them to his friends when he got to the Kindergarten.
I met the girl who’s replacing me and the other current English intern (Maria) as the next English teacher.
She’s never going to read this, so I can say freely that I didn’t want to like her. Something inside of me was like, “this girl is taking your kids,” and I immediately felt jealousy instead of excitement for her. Because she’s what I want to be, she’s 25 and went to uni and has actual credentials. She was teaching English to elementary/middle school kids in a different part of Japan before this. She’s not some young kid with no real idea what she’s doing.
She genuinely seemed sweet and friendly but I’m a brat and I have issues.
This post is so rambley, but lately I’ve realized that the dry season I went through/am going through with God has been a season of choice.
For the first time in my life, it actually feels like I’ve had to make the choice to want Him. Since whenever I gave my life to Christ as a child, I’ve had that blind faith. That child-likeness. There wasn’t much in my way that could stop me from choosing Him, it was simple, it was easy, I wasn’t a part of the world yet. A world that wants me so desperately to give up on my faith.
But it’s offering all its got and none of it is remotely satisfying. It only claims to be satisfying, but it’s like eating a bug. It’s just going to eat away at your innards, lol
Before, I wasn’t being handed two pills, the God-pill and the world-pill. I didn’t have to think about any of it, I just had my Father. Other ways were so foreign and abstract.
Now a hand is holding out the two pills, and I have to physically, mentally, and spiritually reach out and grab the right one.
What about you? Which one are you choosing?
A week ago I started putting on an audio Bible every night so my spirit would hopefully be learning good things while I sleep. I’m hoping that someday I’ll be talking to somebody and in the moment need to share scripture, and some deep part of my sub conscience will erupt in all of the wisdom I’ve learned while asleep hahah. It’s a nice feeling and I’ve gotten legitimately better sleep since starting. 100% recommend.
Here, I’ll make it easy for you. CLICKTHIS
It’s audio Bible while I sleep and worship music when I wake up.
I’m trying to choose the right pill. The one that fills.
It’s 2am, if I don’t post this now I’ll put it off for another 4 years.