Post #3. Orientation, Gratitude & Tinder dates, oh my.

This past week we had ‘Kumamoto Orientation’, which was the big orientation for every new ALT in our prefecture. It was in Kumamoto City from Wednesday (two weeks ago) until Saturday. This was my fifth JET Orientation so far. I had one in Halifax, back in June, one in Montreal before our flight to Japan, one in Tokyo, one in Amakusa and finally, the one in Kumamoto city. JET is a phenomenal company to work for because they offer so much support and preparation, holding your hand every step of the way. Everything is basically planned and set up for you. As a result, my experience has been a breeze so far. In one sense, however, there is such a thing as being ‘over prepared’ and I felt we were hovering over that line. By then end of the five orientations I was overloaded with information. The majority of it was certainly valuable, but there was a lot of it redundancy and contradiction within the material. I also had a fair amount of unnecessary worries coming into this, stemming from the myriad of ‘horror stories’ that were told at various orientations. I suppose this is just the nature of the company, though. It would be difficult to prepare anyone for their specific tenure, since every JET has a different placement and no two experiences are alike.

Regardless, Kumamoto Orientation was excellent and a great experience overall. It was well organized and fun. Moreover, it was a chance to meet up with the other Kumamoto JETs (about 50 of them), many of whom I had met in Tokyo. We all exchanged stories and got to know each other better. I definitely feel as though I have a group of Kumamoto friends now, and visits are in certainly in order.

When my supervisor first told me that I had to buy a car in order to live in Amakusa, I was a bit unhappy. The majority of JETs rely on public transport, since it’s generally excellent in Japan, however, it’s not so excellent in Amakusa. I have owned a car once for about a year until last February and it turned out to be a bad experience. Sadly, the car I bought was a total lemon and ended up costing me far more than it was ever worth. But my new white box car, who I’ve named Lena (after Lena Dunham, of course), has been fabulous. I realize now how #blessed I am to have my own vehicle here in Japan for the sole reason of FREEDOM! I can take road trips whenever I please, and I freakin’ love road trips. I will definitely be taking advantage of that. Especially now that I’ve connected with lots of other JETs who are scattered around the Kumamoto prefecture, there are many adventures to be had.

The Orientation was three days and jam packed with info sessions, Japanese class and practice lessons. I learned a lot. The best part was definitely the welcome party on the final night, though. This was one of probably five welcome parties that I’ve been to so far. I’ve never felt so welcome in my entire life. It’s great.

We all met at an Irish pub for a two hour Japanese style ‘all you can eat and drink’ session. And as you would expect, people really take advantage of that and tried to get their money’s worth. From there we went to another “Geijin bar’ (foreigner bar) and continued the shenanigans and then to yet another bar after that. We danced and laughed and got to know each other. It was such a fun night.

Since my work only paid for two nights of accommodation, on the final night (Friday) I stayed with another JET from Vancouver who is currently living in Kumamoto city. She is a huge sweetheart and we have a lot in common so it was really nice to have some time to hang out.. And she’s now going to come visit me in Amakusa! Yay for visitors! On Saturday we walked around, explored the city a bit and got some lunch before I headed back to Amakusa that evening.

img_0487New friend and fellow Canadian!
img_0408Morning in Kumamoto. All the kids wear school uniforms here, ‘Sailor Moon’ style for the girls. I love them.

Kumamoto city is known as the ‘big city’ in the area. It is the place that got hit the hardest this past April by a big earthquake (7.0 magnitude mainshock), which affected many places in the region, including Amakusa, but Kumamoto city was the most devastated. There is definitely still noticeable damage around. Kumamoto Castle, for example, which we went to see, got very damaged. And it will apparently take about 20 years to rebuild, since they will be using traditional Japanese methods.

img_0392A group of local High School students brought the whole gang to Kumamoto castle. They practiced their English with us. It was so cute.

With a population of only about 730,000, Kumamoto city is still a rather small city by Japanese standards, but it was big enough for me. I’ve recently realized that I am more of a small town gal and I’m totally cool with living in the middle of nowhere. But still, it was fun to check out the city and spend a few days there. It was a beautiful and well laid out with shopping, restaurants and art all around. I kept seeing other foreigners walking around and basically had to hold myself back from approaching them to say ‘HEY!- WHERE ARE YOU FROM? I SPEAK ENGLISH, TOO!’ I have yet to see another foreigner I didn’t already know in Amakusa and I doubt I will anytime soon.

 

We had some free time during lunch and at night to explore, which was a real treat. Although I ended up eating at the ‘Combini’ three times while I was there. It’s hard to turn down convenient and delicious Combini meals. Combini is the Japanese term meaning convenience store. They are absolutely everywhere here. Even in my little town in Amakusa, there are two that I can walk to in less than five minutes. And unlike Canadian convenience stores, they represent pure convenience in every sense of the word.

img_0423Out in search of curry on our lunch break

You can buy basically anything at a Combini. What I buy most often though is their delicious and affordable food. They have all the yummy Japanese junk food one could want as well as healthy food, like sushi and bentos, fresh salads and onigiri. And they’ll heat it up right there for you and give you whatever utensils you need. But that’s not all, you can also pay your bills at the Combini, have packages delivered there, send faxes, take money out, buy alcohol, comics books, dress shirts., cosmetics, kitchen utensils, EVERYTHING. They’re kind of incredible. Not to mention the sheer bliss of walking into the powerful Combini air conditioning after enduring the merciless humidity of your five minute walk to get there…that, too, is quite nice.

So Combini’s are great when you’re on the go and can’t cook, but don’t want to spend too much money at a restaurant. I have utilized their food services many times since I’ve been living here. But the funny thing is, most of them don’t have a place to sit and eat your food. I suppose it’s because you’re expected to bring it home or back to work and eat it there.

The other day I went for a long walk over dinnertime and stopped at a Combini for some food I bought the food, got it all heated up and left the store in search of a park bench or somewhere to sit and eat, but to no avail. Japan is not set up to encourage eating on the go. There were no benches or picnic tables in sight. You won’t find garbage cans on the streets, either. I literally could not find anywhere to eat. And I wasn’t about to eat it while walking, people don’t do this in Japan. (Even with ice cream cones and vending machine drinks, you’re expected to stand and drink your drink/eat your ice cream right where you bought it and then dispose of it in the receptacle provided).

Eating is not a casual thing here. They have a much higher respect for food and mealtime in general, which is considered a ritual of sorts. A specific phrase is said at the beginning (Itadakimasu) and end (gochisosama deshita) of the meal to express gratitude. Food is meant to be cherished, and you’re expected to eat everything on your plate. I must say, the cultural differences surrounding food have taken some getting used to, but I much prefer it this way. At home I eat mindlessly and on-the-go all of the time. It’s not good. The Japanese would probably be appalled if they saw the way we North Americans eat. But since moving here I’ve noticed I am developing a healthier relationship with food.

So I ended up standing under a tree in a little park area where I knew no one could see me to eat my Combini supper that night. It felt super awkward.

Anyhow, Kumamoto Orientation was a blast. I will definitely be going back to the city soon to see friends and explore some more.

img_0436Me, trying to mimic Kumamon’s dead, lifeless eyes.

Due to orientation, I missed three days of work. Upon returning, I had quite a scary moment. I arrived and noticed that the bike lot was filled with bikes and the parking lot was full too, which is unusual for Summer vacation. I walked inside and there were students buzzing about everywhere…also unusual. I enter the teachers room to find that everyone is more dressed up than usual. I find a schedule has been printed and laid out on my desk with that days date as the title. The rest was in Japanese, so naturally, I couldn’t read it.

That’s when the panic set in. What was going on here? Something big was clearly happening. I started questioning whether I got my dates mixed up and maybe this was the actual first day of school. I had no sweet clue what was going on.

Just then, the principal, who sits at the head of the teacher’s room, stands up and everyone else stops what their doing and stands up too. I awkwardly follow. The principal starts rambling loudly in Japanese, occasionally pausing for the collective ‘hai!’ in unison from the rest of the teachers. People are periodically bowing and clapping, I am one step behind the whole operation, trying to follow along and keep my cool, all the while wondering what the HECK was happening here.

When the principal finished talking he sits down and another teacher stands and begins speaking, then another teacher, and then another. I’m now freaking out even more because I realize that eventually they may look to me to stand up and say something and I would not know what to say. While I’ve tried to tell many of my colleagues that I don’t speak Japanese, a lot of them don’t quite seem to understand that. Maybe they think I’m being modest or maybe they’ve forgotten, but I am perpetually being spoken to in full Japanese sentences, to which I respond with the blankest of stares. So I wouldn’t put it past them to expect me to understand what was happening in this meeting.

The talking went on for about ten minutes, all of which were spent in terror, on my part. Then the big meeting seemed to turn into three smaller meetings, divided by seating arrangement. Then all of a sudden, everyone gets up and LEAVES the room. And I’m left just sitting there like… ‘What the heck just happened.’

Before one of the teachers left I managed to run up to him and to ask him what was going on. Since he was an English teacher he was able to explain that it didn’t involve me. Crisis averted. Thank the lawd.

As it turns out, all of the students had to come to school that day in order to pass in their summer vacation homework. (I know, right? Not much of a vacation). And the teachers were simply having a meeting to discuss that day’s event. I now know that generally all morning meetings are held in this fashion. So as it turned out, I had nothing to worry about. But still, that was scary.

Last week I got to visit my other school for the first time, too. I will be working at the big Junior High school from Monday to Thursday and on Fridays I’ll be teaching Elementary. I was introduced to all of the staff and got a tour of the school and it was splendid. Everyone was so kind and made me feel so welcome and the few kids that were around were soo cute and excited to meet me. They even had a little poster made up for me in one of the hallways, to which I later added more photos. I’m looking forward to spending more time at this school.

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I noticed they photoshopped out my chin piercing, lol.

So my friend ad fellow ALT was telling me that he signed up for the Amakusa half marathon and my response was something along the lines of ‘Good for you, man. I could never do that.’ As soon as I said it out loud something struck me. I thought ‘wait.. Is that true? Could I really NOT do such a thing? why not?’ It got me thinking about some of the core beliefs I hold about myself.

Like every other human on the planet, I have been fostered various core beliefs about myself since childhood. They fluctuate and develop all the time. Some of them are good, for example, in University, I always believed in my academic abilities and knew I could excel when it came to tests and exams. But others are detrimental, stemming around the idea that ‘I’m not good enough’. And sadly, it seems there are more of those kind. In this case, for example, my core believe manifests itself through thoughts like, ‘I don’t have the strength or stamina to do vigorous physical activity. I could attempt, but I’d definitely fail. Who am I to think I can do something so amazing?’ I’m not good enough.’

And even if this belief is not true, per se, I still believe it. So it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not because I’m living my life as though it is. Which leaves me no chance at succeeding with such things because with a belief like that, what’s the point in even trying. The same thing goes for any of the false core beliefs I’ve been fostering.

In the past couple of years, however, I’ve become much more aware of these detrimental beliefs that I hold. When thoughts along the lines of ‘I’m not good enough’ run through my mind I’ve started to take note of them. Since awareness is the first step in change, eventually, I think I can wipe out this mindset all together. I hope so.

I’ve already noticed progress, too. For example, I started my year at NSCAD in September with the belief that I was not an artist, by any means. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be there and that people would eventually realize that. I pretty much expected that other students would laugh at my work and teachers would criticize it. I held onto this belief for a while but eventually, I realized how false it was and worked to improve my confidence in my artistic abilities. It was a long road but by the end of the year I was much more confident in my talent and felt that I did indeed deserve to be at that school.

So after talking to my friend that night, I went home and did some journaling and decided that I am going to attempt this half marathon. Even though I’m not much of a runner. (I haven’t run in about a year, and even when I did run, my max would be about 10k) I will have to train and it will be tough but I’m going to do it. On November 20th, in fact! I have gone for some runs the past couple weeks and it’s been good. I’m motivated and it feels nice to have something to work towards. Go me!

On Tuesday, my friend came over and we went for an inexpensive conveyor belt sushi dinner. We had plenty to eat and it only cost about $6CAD. Nailed it! After that we decided to go for a drive and just see where the road would take us. (Oh, the joy and freedom of having a vehicle. J) It ended up being a fantastic evening. The drive along the coast was gorgeous and we had good car tunes playing the whole time, so we got to practice our karaoke skills. We stumbled upon some old ‘castle ruins’ up on a hill with a beautiful view. Within the old castle walls there were statues and a shrine and some observations decks.

img_0521Up by the Castle ruins

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We then stopped at a beach travelled along a path and up a hill to catch the perfect view for the sunset. It was absolutely magical. After that, we went for a night swim! It was dark and the water was warm and super salty so I just lay there and floated on my back in the water and star gazed. It was one of those I beautiful, palpable moments of self-reflection. I was hyper aware of all the beauty that surrounded me. All I could think about was how lucky I was to be there. And I was so grateful.

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Expressing gratitude is so important, in my eyes. I firmly believe that we should be actively practicing gratitude much more often than just on Thanks giving. Its far too easy to get sucked in to thinking about what you don’t have. Focusing on what’s wrong or what’s lacking is always going to be available, but luckily so is ‘what’s right’. I try to hone in on it whenever I can. It’s a practice that I’ve been doing for a while now, actually. Every evening before bed I write a list of at least five things that I’m grateful for. It can be anything from getting that perfect parking spot, to the love and support of my family, or the meal I shared with friends. I started doing this a year or two ago when I was going through a difficult time and read a book that challenged me to make a gratitude list for three weeks. It said to make the list and ‘watch how your life will change.’

I tried it and my life did indeed change. Knowing that I would have to write a list at the end of each day, I spent my days looking for the good things. Which magnified the joy that comes from whatever good things I discovered. I became a more positive and happy person, relatively immediately. It also helped me become more present, taking note of the good things that were happening as they actually occurred. There aren’t many profound quick fixes that I’ve discovered that are as effective as practicing gratitude.

Sometimes I also review my list from the night before in the morning. I once went through a period where I kept a little rock in my jacket pocket and whenever I touched it I would remind myself to think of something I was grateful for. In addition, when I was living in B.C., my sister and I went through a phase when would text each other every night to tell two things; the best part of our day and one thing were grateful for. I loved doing this. It helped me feel connected to her when I was living far away and it was such a lovely exchange.

I believe wholeheartedly in the law of attraction. And I know that if you’re focusing too much on what’s bad or what’s lacking in your life, you are putting out a vibe of ‘lack’ and you will simply attract more of that. You’d be actually attracting more of what you don’t want. The opposite is true, too..thank goodness. And I have to say; things have been going my way a lot more frequently since I started to appreciate everything that I already have.

So form now on, I have to include a little blurb in each of my blog posts regarding something I am grateful for.

This week: My parents. Pete & Kathy Greenwood. These two pop up in my gratitude journal frequently.

I have the most wonderful parents. For starters, they are such a great duo, which I really admire. They are each other’s ‘cheerleaders,’ supporting one another in everything they do and taking on challenges as a team, like renovating the cottage, long bike trips & marathons or packing up the van with their five teenage girls to drive 10 hours for a ski trip. (Oi.)They are very hard working individuals, both successful in their careers, but they make sure to take time to enjoy themselves, too.

They value family and friend time as well as meeting new folks and graciously offer up their homes for gatherings and parties, which are always enjoyed by everyone. Recently, someone asked me what my idea of an ‘ideal date’ would be and I actually included bringing the person to spend time with my family. I love introducing others to my parents because they are such open and friendly people. I’m proud to be related to such cool people.

Throughout the past couple of (rather difficult) years, they have taken me in with open arms to live in their basement on several occasions, generously lending me their car and feeding me delicious homemade meals all the while. They were incredibly understanding about my various and sometimes ridiculous situations and helped me to put things into perspective, offering valuable advice when I needed it. However, they were never overbearing and let me make my own decisions, supporting me in whatever I chose. They’ve even lent me money when I need it, interest free and without hesitation. I don’t know how I could have gotten through those difficult times without them

They are so good to my sisters and I and go out of their way to help us whenever we need it. I can’t count the amount of times they have packed up the car for us and helped us to move all of our things into a new place and get settled. What dolls.

Since I’ve been here in Japan my parents and I have been in touch regularly. (Thank goodness for FaceTime) and I can’t help but thank my lucky stars for being able to have such a great relationship with them, even from afar. We have our difficulties, of course, but it’s all with an undertone of love. They have helped mold me into the person I am today and I am forever grateful for my mom and dad….Sounds so cheesy but I just don’t care. Love you guys.

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Adventures with Tinder

My feelings for social media (mentioned in my previous blog post) apply to Tinder, as well. I am of two minds about the app. On numerous occasions I have downloaded it, used it for a few weeks, and then end up deleting it when the novelty wares off and I realize how weird it is. It’s just such a shallow way to meet people. But on the other hand, that’s what 21st century dating is becoming. And great relationships can come from such a thing. I have met up with people I’ve met off Tinder before and I have had both good and bad experiences.

One example of a good experience occurred when I used Tinder to meet friends. When I lived in B.C., I set my Tinder settings to both males and females and wrote in my bio that I was new to town and needed some friends. Through this, I ended up meeting this awesome Scottish dude who lived near by. He became one of few friends I had in B.C, and he was a good friend to have. Points for Tinder!

I also tend to use Tinder as a practice in being more ‘ballzy’, for lack of a better term. I have probably met up with about six people total through the app and every time I do I get super nervous before hand and want to just bail. I have no problem with meeting total strangers, however, meeting up with someone that I know through Tinder is different. It feels so unnatural and is therefore totally nerve racking for me. So pushing myself out of my comfort zone to actually commit and go meet a Tinder match is a good practice. The only place a person can ever grows is when their out of their comfort zone.

So when I first arrived in Japan I downloaded Tinder and did some browsing and matched with another JET from Nagasaki, the prefecture next to mine, a short ferry ride away. He is from England and is going on his third year as a JET. We had been talking for a while on the app and I requested to talk on the phone. (This is one of my Tinder rules. I have to talk to them on the phone before I even consider meeting them.) Based on our messages and phone conversations, he seemed really great and we had plenty of shared interests and opinions, so I wanted to meet him in person.

Last week, upon hearing that he had no weekend plans, I went out on a limb and invited him to come to Amakusa for the weekend. To my surprise, he accepted my invitation. He was to arrive on the 6pm Ferry from Nagasaki on Friday and I would pick him up at the ferry terminal, about 40 minutes from my place.

I wish I could say I was as cool as a cucumber about this whole thing, but I was absolutely not. Although we agreed this meeting would be strictly as friends, and there were no expectations or pressure, I still spent the few days prior to his arrival freaking out. It was nerve racking to have someone I had never met come to sleep on my floor for two nights, in a town that I am still very unfamiliar with, in a country where I don’t speak the language.

This is about when my false core beliefs kicked back in. You know, ‘I’m not good enough’ the way I am. I felt the urge to pluck my eyebrows and clean my apartment, among other things. It’s as if I wanted to be perceived a certain way, because there was no chance he would like me just as I was. This is total silliness, I know. And I was annoyed with myself for having these thoughts. But at least I recognized them.

I kept trying to envision how the weekend would go, which was tough. For starters I only knew what he looked like through four photos, two of which were of the side of his head. And I couldn’t envision what our dynamic would be like, since we had never met.

So Friday rolls around and it’s time to go pick up Tinderman and I’m freaking out. The ferry pulls up and he’s easy to spot.. the only foreigner on the boat. Upon meeting him I realized he looked nothing like how I had been imagining him. This is not the first time this has happened when meeting someone from Tinder. I’m sure this is usually the case. I told him that and he agreed that he had envisioned me differently as well. We had a hug (initiated by me, and a bit hesitant on his part. hehe) and drove off. I immediately took note of the fact that, unlike me, he was cool as a cucumber and seemed totally un-phased by our meeting.

We went to the same nearby castle ruins I had been to a few days prior with my friend and had a picnic. After that we went to a nearby beach and had another glorious night swim. The stars were out and they were gorgeous. Later we went back to my place and watched one of the two DVDs that my predecessor left behind ‘Halloween.’ (Which, by the way, does absolutely not deserve the 7.9 rating it received on IMBD).

Tinderman was definitely not as I expected him to be. For starters, he was very much aloof, which I never picked up on during our phone calls. I immediately sensed that he had a wall up, something he later taught me is rather typical of British men. He did not seem particularly keen on sharing about himself or getting to know me. He seldom smiled. It didn’t take me long to realize that we were fundamentally pretty different people.

At first, I definitely had a moment of ‘what have I gotten myself into’ which was probably merited. Because of our differences, forming any sort of connection did not seem like it was going to be an easy task. And that ended up being true. It took a lot of effort, most of it seeming to come from my side in the beginning. I love getting to know new people and thrive off forming connections through deep conversation. But that didn’t occur naturally in this situation. In addition, I wasn’t totally being my natural, friendly and talkative self because that so noticeably clashed with his personality. So the people-pleaser in me advised me to tone it down. Which didn’t feel great. We spent a fair amount of our three days together in silence, which was also a bit weird for me, at first. But I got used to it. I have another British friend who once told me that he noticed he and his fellow Brits are much more comfortable sitting in silence than us North Americans.

I may be making him sound like a bad person, which was not the case at all. He’s a great dude, actually. He was very well mannered and helpful. (He cooked for me twice, which was delicious and very much appreciated.) And he was also very smart and witty. I certainly grew to enjoy his company.

We were open about the fact that we were so different and actually discussed it, which eased some of my discomfort. It seemed wrong to be sharing a sleeping area with someone I felt as though I barely knew, so on the first night I blatantly told him that I was going to attempt to open him up or ‘pry him open like a clam’ as we put it, by asking questions. Not ‘what’s your favourite food’ type of questions. More along the lines of ‘what’s your biggest regret in life?’ or ‘what were you like in High School?’ It was clear that he was unaccustomed to answering such questions and didn’t seem to have even pondered many of them before, but he was a good sport about it. And I slowly started to understand him.

The next day, my new friend and I went hiking up a beautiful mountain, about an hours drive from my place. Yet again I was in awe over the natural beauty of Amakusa. We also found this cool, abandoned obstacle course in the woods with around 30 different obstacles and a mini zip line, which I tested out and after some friendly coercion, Tinderman did too. It was a beautiful day and I had fun exploring another region of this island. Tinderman seemed to enjoy himself too, although it wasn’t always plain to see.

img_0575Checkin’ out the view. It was spectacular.
img_0586One of the obstacles

Later, he and I joined the other ALTs for yet another welcome party. The party consisted of food and drinks in a private karaoke room at a beautiful seaside restaurant, complete with an outdoor ‘foot spa’. From there, we all went to another ALTs house to have a few more beers and hang out. I had a great time. We are all starting to feel close to one another, it seems. I thoroughly enjoy their company.

img_0602Enjoying the restaurant’s foot spa.

It was nice to have Tinderman join my friends and I for the night, too. He seemed to have enjoyed the evening and found it interesting to witness the dynamic between a group of JETs, different from his Nagasaki group. Moreover, I felt more myself and in my element in the company of my friends, most of whom are quite warm and friendly.

Tinderman and I had another few good, open conversations over the course of the weekend. It was interesting to get his take on Amakusa and the dynamic of our group of ALTs and hear his stories and opinions on Japan, since he has been here for longer than me. At one point he asked me to describe him in three adjectives to which I responded ‘intelligent, calm and aloof.’ And for me he said ‘spiritual, inquisitive and kind.’ I was pleased with my adjectives.

The next morning, the two of us I went grocery shopping and he cooked an extravagant traditional Japanese breakfast for me and another ALT who was celebrating a birthday that day. It was really lovely.

That afternoon, it was time for Tinderman to go home so we hopped in the car for the beautiful seaside drive to the ferry terminal. I was happy that our weekend together was coming to an end as I was feeling pretty drained and craving some alone time to recharge. In addition, the next day was the opening ceremony at my school and I was to give a speech, so I wanted to be properly rested and prepared.

We pulled up to the ferry terminal to find a sign that reads ‘The ferry will be cancelled due to bad weather. There will be no other ferries today.” -_-

So we drove back to my place for one more night, which I wasn’t exactly excited about and I’m sure he wasn’t either, but there was nothing either of us could do about it at that point. It ended up being a nice night, though. I napped while he cooked dinner, and after we ate I read and wrote in my journal while he studied Japanese. The next morning I had to wake up at 5:30 am to drive him to the ferry while ensuring I had enough time to get to work for my speech. We hugged and he thanked me and off he went.

In the end, while my weekend with Tinderman was not what I expected at all, it was a good experience. Despite our differences, I had grown fond of him over the past few days. I believe that every person comes into your life for a reason, which is to teach you something, and this was no exception.

-I learned that it is futile to attempt to imagine how things or people will be like before a situation occurs. You just never know. Devising scenarios and imagining situations is therefore a waste of energy and can lead to unmet expectations.

-I learned that not everyone is going to be open and friendly but that does not mean that they are unkind. And it’s still possible for me to form a connection with such a person.

-I learned more about my tendency to people-please and how exhausting this can be. The whole weekend I found myself constantly concerned about his happiness and comfort, making adjustments when necessary. Where as I don’t think my well-being crossed his mind often, if ever. We were at opposite ends of the spectrum in this sense. And I was actually quite envious of his overt sense of being ‘un-phased’ by others and I admired his tendency to be himself, regardless of the people around him might think or feel about it. My people pleasing tendencies really drive me crazy sometimes.

This morning was the opening ceremony at my school and I was to prepare and deliver a short speech in both Japanese and English to deliver on stage at the assembly in front of all of the students and faculty (about 850 people). It was a very formal ceremony, requiring a mini dress rehearsal before hand. I was to sit in a specific chair, wait for a signal, bow three times at specific marked points, walk up to the podium, give my speech, bow three more times, and then walk a specific route back to my chair. It’s funny how absolutely un-phased I was by this, given the amount of nerves I had regarding the Tinder situation. For whatever reason I did not feel an ounce of nervousness. My speech went smoothly and seemed to be well received.

Today marks one month since I left Halifax for Japan. It’s crazy how time flies.

Tomorrow is my first day of real classes, eek! Stay tuned.

P.S. my mailing address is 863-0012 Amakusa-shi, imagama-machi 6-6 Ko-po imagama #203

There is nothing I love more than receiving snail mail. Write to me! I promise I will write you back.

Love, Silvergirl

Aka Mary Ellen

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3 thoughts on “Post #3. Orientation, Gratitude & Tinder dates, oh my.

  1. Wow. Can’t believe you’ve been gone for a month. Missing you darlin but glad to hear life is good! I literally lolled so hard every time I read “tinderman”, such a hilarious nickname.

    I love the idea of writing down things you are grateful for everyday, and then sharing it with others. You are such a bright star, continue to shine on my dear ❤

    Love, Em

    Like

  2. Hi Madi,

    Two things, one grammatical and one girl power:
    1. Do look up the proper use of the word “myriad”. I believe “stemming from the myriad of ‘horror stories’ that were told…” should be “stemming from myriad horror stories told…”
    2. I have deleted the use of “ballzy” in my vocabulary because it implies growing a set of balls to be braver. And I’m like. Giiiiirl what about growing a set of boobs to be braver???????? So now I just say “gutsy”. BOL!

    I just got a phone call from Dad saying “did you read Madi’s latest blog post?” and I think he was crying!

    Thanks for the shoutout regarding our nightly texts. I miss them. Soon I will have WhatsApp maybe. As for shout outs, I’ll be waiting for my 4-paragraphed love letter to the world that you gave to M+D.

    Hope your scary day at school wasn’t so scary after all. Also, will you talk to Tinderman again? Man girl you are boobsy. I would have NEVER done that.

    Love you

    Lou

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  3. Damn girl you really are boobsy. I love reading your work. Expect some snail mail from me soon, Id love to face time or skype if you have some time! Love you and thinking about you ❤

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