I haven’t written in a while… And why?
I work very hard to use my blog and Facebook as a means of encouragement, to make people smile, and, perhaps, hopefully, occasionally, make people think. It’s important to me that I try not to complain about my life, use my statuses as a therapist, or make it sound like I’m just ungrateful. Except for the occasional “complaint” hopefully taken as silly (ie-hard-boiled eggs sure are hard to make!) I try to write things that show God’s faithfulness and love for me as an example for all. And lately, I haven’t had many encouraging or happy things cross my mind. They are all overshadowed by the doomy gloomyness of the past week or so as I’ve struggled and fought to get by. And in fact, God actually got me by.
And so with nothing nice to say, I chose not to say anything at all. This is good, because I am slowly gaining some perspective over the despair- yes, it felt like despair- of the recent.
I have begun teaching for extended times in class. Monday I’ll have my first class alone, no real teacher. This has been very challenging for me, but I am not surprised that it has been that way. My teaching experience is minimal, though Meysen doesn’t mind as long as you fit other criteria, and so skills like classroom control and experience don’t have my back yet. There is a lot of curriculum to memorize. A lot is subjective and so I’ll just leave it at that-It’s a lot.
—it’s a special curriculum rooted/connected with Meysen. Meysen people made this stuff.
—this curriculum is being used all over the world, even somewhere in the US.
—it’s still being perfected and worked on as they learn what works in teaching english to non-native speakers.
So I’m teaching. Making lesson plans that I care about so I spend lots of time on them. Trying to remember 100 Japanese kids’ names I’ve known for less that 4 weeks. Studying curriculum. Learning what classroom management looks like. Taking observation notes. Asking so so many questions. Walking up and down a hill that’ll whip anybody into shape in 2 gos. Shoveling snow very very occasionally. Sleeping. Eating. Connecting with home. Connecting with new people in my life.
I’ve whined quite enough, right?
Wrong. This week I also managed to catch the fiercest minor sickness cold thing I can remember. Colds in Arkansas are certainly not like this. I literally thought I had pneumonia…I had nearly every symptom, and it felt like the last time I had pneumonia. I just figured I knew my body when it was feeling like it was on the brink of seeing the Pearly Gates. The doctor thought otherwise. After missing one day of work, not really ideal when you’re new and in training and are still developing your work reputation, I decided that pneumonia symptoms should be checked out by a professional. The friendly doctor read my symptoms, which I didn’t bother to fully explain, on a piece of paper. I expected her to ask questions about said symptoms…that’s what we do in the US, hey? Nope. She did at least check my asthmatic little lungs which were a bit weazy. Lower respiratory-check. Upper respiratory…the place where all the crap that I want out of my body is-nope. I know a little something about getting my lungs checked out. And that was not how I wanted it done.
In the end, what is my diagnosis? “You don’t have anything.” Sweet. All this hacking and feeling like death is called Nothing. Sounds pretty bad. (They gave me 5 kinds of pills for my Nothing…7 pills at breakfast and dinner and 4 at lunch. Don’t be alarmed…Japanese pills come in small milligram amounts and it was a pill per symptom. America has something on Japan in this area.) Now perhaps I’m being too harsh on the doctor who surely has a ton of medical education and experience backing her. She’s certainly better at doctoring than I am at teaching. She doesn’t know my medical history… Fine.
That doctor trip was full of bitterness and anger and nearly tears. Because the day and night preceding that was filled with bitterness and anger and tears. I was feeling so sick it must have worn on every other aspect of myself. I lost myself physically and mentally and some spiritually. I broke. I prayed God would send me home to be with my family–I just knew the doctor would declare I had some sickness that required that I go home immediately. And at home I could at the very least die with people who knew me. Or mom, who can fix anything, would revive me and I could live a happy life in Arkansas and never think of silly ol’ Japan again. I made plans for what I’d do as soon as I arrived home in a few days. I started questioning whether I had listened to God when I accepted the job to come here. I was wrecked.
My friend, Jade, explained the epic freak out like this–when we’re sick, or something happens to mess up the flow, perhaps, we have a knee-jerk reaction. When you’re 6,470 miles from home the knee-jerk reaction is difficult to carry through. So what happens? Epic freak out. Maybe this is a girl thing. I don’t know.
Perhaps adding to the chaos inside my mind was the fact my constant nose blowing and stuffy head prevented me from getting anything more than 20 minutes of a doze at a time the last two nights. Two nights ago I was too afraid to take NyQuil because I thought I’d stop breathing since I was already having breathing issues. Oh, the dramatics go on. I’m just adding sleep deprivation to my list of cruddy things.
I am done complaining now. Those are THE main points that stick out from the recent life and times of my adventures.
But, even among the overwhelming blehness I have felt lately, I can recall many small quiet blessings that the enemy wants me to forget…
My teachers are helpful, understanding, and care about my success as a new teacher.
I am more gracious to myself than I expected…when I make mistakes, I learn and always try my best. Even when I’m not feeling like effort is worth it.
I’m getting to know some interesting people, and they are people I will get to bond with a lot this year. I’m making new friends…something to always be glad about.
Tonight, when I blow my nose, I can sometimes use it as an orifice in which I can inhale oxygen for nearly a minute! Praise God!
I had an encouraging conversation with someone here that was very meaningful to me.
When I skyped with Brad, I had to stick tissue up my nose to help a…situation. He did it with me just so I didn’t feel so stupid looking. (Moral of that is just feeling loved, despite the weird things I do. :] )
The kids at school are getting use to me. Sometimes they even seem excited to see me…I can’t wait for one to run up and give me a hug!
I am living in Japan.
And I still have life.
Maybe the bad and the good shouldn’t be always be in competition with each other, battling to outnumber the other so that I can say “Bad, you win this round.” Instead, I’ll try to focus on the flow, the ups and downs, the bigger picture. It won’t be about which one outdid the other, but rather taking them both and just learning. A day will just be a period of time that I grew more and more; even the “bad” ones have so so much to teach me.
I hope that no one who read this is hoping that I never speak again on the interwebs…I’ll keep the complain-fests out of my future writings. This was a special case.