Sunday, May 30, 2010

I don't know where all this is going...

This was a great weekend. It's so humbling the way God uses people to inspire, and convict us. The lesson at Church this afternoon was about dreams. What we dreamed when we were younger, and then turned it into what are God's dreams for your life. There were so many great things the guy said. THEN, on the train and on my walk home I was listening to my ipod and these are the lyrics to the song I was listening to.

You are the author of knowledge
You can redeem what's been done
You hold the present and all that's to come
Until your everlasting kingdom

Lord, I don't know where all this is going
Or how it all works out
Lead me to peace that is past understanding
A peace beyond all doubt

You are the God of tomorrow
Turning the darkness to dawn
Lifting the hopeless with hope to go on
You are the rock of all salvation

Lord, I don't know where all this is going
Or how it all works out
Lead me to peace that is past understanding
A peace beyond all doubt

Oh, Lord, you are the author
Redeeming what's been done
You hold us in the present
And all that is to come

Lord, we don't know where all this is going
Or how it all works out
Lead us to peace that is past understanding
A peace beyond all doubt
~ Newsboys, Lord (I don't know)

I never in my life dreamed I would be teaching and ministering in Japan. Yet, even though I have only been here a little bit, I don't feel like this is what God really has dreamed for my life. I am already blessed beyond belief to be here, and by the people I have already met. I know this is part of his plan and dream for my life. As they said this morning, God still has more chapters to my life's book.

My heart is so heavy right now. I can't really explain it. I feel so overwhelmed with blessings. I don't understand why God can so richly bless my life, when other people are struggling just to get by.

God I don't know where all this is going, or how it is going to all work out, lead us to peace that is past understanding. Thank you so much for all your blessings.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dumb Blogger and Picture Perfect

So I tried to change my blog background, but it didn't really work. I am EXTREMELY un-educated in how to make it look better. SO if any of you reading this know how, I will gladly let you help me, or even just change it for me. ( I know I would have to give my user information).

So I just wanted to say that, not I will actually tell you something about my day in Nihon-land (Japan).

My roomate told me this morning as I was about to head out the door that she wasn't feeling well and if she began to feel better later she'd come to school. Well she didn't make it to school, but when I got home today the house smelled of pinesol, and the floors were spotless. I don't know about you, but when I'm sick i sure as heck don't get the urge to clean, much less mop the whole house! I should also tell you our ENTIRE house has to be swept and mopped, because it is all hard wood or tile.

OH and on top of that the school hired a professional photographer to come today and take pictures of the school for their yearbook, and pamphlets for the year. Guess who they wanted to take the pictures of??? Bridgette, my roomate, but she was at home "sick". So who was the lucky person who got to have their picture taken ALL over the school with students? Me! So I pretended to be talking to to students or telling them something important. They took pictures in my classroom, where we were re-doing a speaking part of the lesson, just to make it look good for the pictures. They also took pictures as I was leaving and posed students in the hall with me talking. Then I went to my desk and they had students take pictures there. Then we went outside to take more posed pictures. Needless to say I was the teacher model for the day. There have been some days in my life I have enjoyed taking pictures, but today was not one of them.

In some ways I can't wait to see the pictures, because I want to see if any of them actually turned out good, then the other part of me doesn't because I felt like I looked AWFUL today. Because it was cold and rainy. Not good weather for looking cute. Oh well, life goes on. Hopefully they will re-take pictures next year and choose a new model for their pictures.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Do I need to know this???

So today was our first teachers meeting. Need I remind you that since I'm in Japan it was ALL in Japanese. Thankfully they gave the english teachers a translator, but did she translate everything....NO!

I finally asked, what's he saying, and she would tell me one sentence for the last 5 minutes of talking. REALLY?!?!?

While the meeting was going on Bridgette, my roommate and co-worker was smart and brought papers to grade while sitting there. She was grading Dictionary quizzes that we decided to give every one of our classes. The purpose of the test was to make sure they all had dictionaries, and to make sure they knew how to use them. So for each word they had to write the Japanese word, and then write a sentence in English using the word they had to look up. One of the words was neck....want to know what the student put? My cat is necking me. When I read this I started laughing... IN the middle of the teacher's meeting. Also I should add that in Japanese culture, you have to be respectful of those talking. So I initially felt bad for laughing but I couldn't help it. To make matters worse the lady that was supposed to be translating tapped me and said shhh he's talking about how the students have been having bad behavior, you shouldn't be talking or laughing. After she said that I was a little annoyed because out of the 10 minutes this new TOP (what they call principles, and authority figures in the school) sensei (teacher) all she told me was that they had been talking about student behavior. Did they tell us how to handle it? (Not that I have really had any problems in my classes) Did they mention behaviors to be looking for? She didn't tell me a thing. I was clueless.

THEN, after an hour I was thinking surely they have been saying more important things than, keep your desk clean, and watch for girls trying to fix there hair during class and chapel. So I asked the translator, "Is he saying anything we need to know?" She told me yes...and that was it. Not yes, he's telling us ..... She just said. "Yes" So at that point I completely quit listening and started counting ceiling tiles, or looking around the room to see how many teachers had fallen asleep, because Japanese people can sleep whenever and where ever they feel tired. When I looked around I could only see 3 sleeping, and I can't remember how far I got on the ceiling tiles before it was time to go. Afterwords my rommie and I decided we didn't feel like walking home in the rain and fixing dinner so we went out for Pasta, and got a cab for the ride home.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Best and Worst of Costco

Yesterday was my first trip to Costco. It turned into quite the adventure, because you don't realize how heavy everything you buy gets. I also didn't keep in mind how far I would have to carry it home, and on and off trains.

So for the best- The food! I never thought I would enjoy hot dogs, pizza, and churro's as much as I did at Costco. part of the enjoyment could have been the fact that I hadn't had American food like that, and for that cheep in about 2 weeks. Which really doesn't seem like it's been that long.

The worst- Hands down having to carry a HUGE bag full of food on and off trains and about 2 1/2 miles home up a HUGE hill.

Also on the worst list, is a worst dress candidate. I wish I had gotten a picture because if this girl had been in America I would have thought this girl was a prostitute, but in Japan it is quite acceptable. Okay so she was wearing a mid-drif, TIGHT scoop neck pink shirt, with tight washed out jean capri's. Then to top it all off she was wearing 5 inch clear platform heels. However even though they were clear, the toe/ball of the foot platform area had flowers in it- like it was hollow almost. It was the most bazaar outfit I have ever seen. Oh I almost forgot to mention her long blond and brown spiral weave in her hair.

Anyway she looked quite interesting. At a later time I will have to share some more crazy things I have seen since being in Japan.

I did make it home safe, and the trip was well worth the block of cheese that I got for ONLY 800 yen ($8.00).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Last welcome surprise!

So upon arriving to Japan my sister has had all sorts of surprises. The first night I'm home my roomate cooked me dinner and had surprise guests. The following week we went out to dinner at a Shbu Shabu restaurant which is special to Japan. Then Saturday she surprised me with a massage. This past weekend (Friday) my sister surprised me once again with tickets to the musical Dreamgirls. It was the traveling group from New York. So it was in ENGLISH and it was SOO Amazing! I have officially decided I have the best sister in the world.

I surprisingly think I can get used to living in a city and having SO many great things to go and see all the time. The only problem is eventually my funds would run out.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mommy WOW, I'm a big kid now!

So after this past week at school it has finally began to sink in, that I am fully employed and have big kid responsibilities.

I am actually a teacher. I have about 300 students in 17 classes, and 5 different grades that I see once a week for 50 minutes. Girls come to me during lunch and after school to ask me questions. I also have teacher meetings, and after school club activities that I help with.

I've now had two different teachers that translate for my 7th graders ask questions that flattered me. One asked me, "Have you had teacher training? Because you seem so confident, and speak loud and clearly." I would hope I was speaking clearly when I only say 3 words a minute. Okay so maybe I don't talk that slowly, but it feels like I do. The other teacher asked me, "Do you enjoy teaching? Because it looks like you are really having fun with the girls." My response, Yes I love teaching. (Why would I have spent 5 years of school trying to get a teaching degree if I didn't.)

I really am enjoying my life here thus far. I'm still adjusting, and my body is still trying to get used to the stressful, busy country of Japan. It's also great to be here with my sister, my best friend for almost my entire life. There were a few times I would have disowned her, but for the most part, we've been best friends.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

One week down

So it is hard to believe it has been a whole week since I arrived in Japan. I am starting to get really frustrated at how distant I feel from the people I love. My laptop can't connect to the wireless for some reason, and the desktop computer doesn't have a microphone or speaker to call. SOOO I apologize for not being able to communicate with anyone.

Things are going well. I had a fantastic welcome dinner Friday night. My sister got a nice group together and we went to eat shabu shabu. THEN I went to Karaoke. It was SOOO much fun.

I am really enjoying being so close to my sister, because Saturday she surprised me with a massage and a fun day of sopping. Then I came back and rested before my roommate had a friend over dinner.

Today, Sunday, I slept in till 8. After I got up I took a shower, made breakfast, and took my time getting ready for church. After church I went to my sisters apartment and hung out until I decided it was time for me to head back home for the evening.

Now I'm back, and getting ready to head to bead. Someday when I get Internet on my computer I will try to make this a little more entertaining.

That's all for now. God bless till next time.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hi my name is...

So the past few days I have been introducing myself ALOT! I have 16 classes a week, ranging in grades 7-11. I am the only teacher that has at least 2 classes of each grade. In grades 8-11 they have had to ask me questions.

Here are the top 10 questions I have been getting ....

10. How tall are you? - 183 cm (they don't do ft / inches)
9. What is your blood type?
8. What is your favorite Japanese food?
7. What is your favorite Japanese artist? Do you really expect me to have a favorite or even know any after being in Japan 5 days.
6. What is your favorite season?
5. What is a difference between America, and Japan?
4. Do you like Japan?
3. Where do you shop?
2. Do you like your sister?

And for the hands down favorite, and top question ...
1. Do you have a boyfriend? Really??? Do they expect me to 1, have already gotten a boyfriend after 5 days of being in Japan, or 2. Leave a boyfriend in the US for 2 years.

Some things just don't seem to change.

I absolutely love my students, and I am looking forward to teaching next week by myself. I just hope I can remember where all the classes are. :-)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Funny Story of the day- Compliments to my sister....

So i am on my way home and am waiting for the signal to change so i can cross the street (this road is too busy to jaywalk in my opinion) but of course that doesn't stop the superior nihonjin! this one business man decides to sprint across the road in front of this car. As he begins running he trips over his own feet and face plants and then rolls on the road! thankfully the car is going slow and stops! the man TRIES to play it off (impossible hundreds saw) and attempts to get up fast and finish running across. As he begins to run he picks up his bag and spills it! the bag wasnt zipped! it was so ridiculous! he ruined his suit and maybe some papers and definitely took a MAJOR EGO BLOW and as you probably guessed the signal turned green as he was gathering his things! CRAZY! also he was running away from the station not to it!?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 2: Getting situated

1:00 am- wake up to use the bathroom
4:43 am- wake up to use the bathroom, and feeling reaady to start the day, until I check my itouch to realize what time it was. So inspite the fact that the sun was up, and I felt rested I attemped to fall back to sleep.

8:30am- wake up for real, change out of my p.j.'s and head downstairs to make breakfast which consisted of banannas, peanut butter, and COFFEE.

9-12- Checked e-mails, facebooked and chatted until my desktop computer froze up.
12-2:30pm- Cleaned, unpacked, and organized my room.

2:30pm finally got hungry, made a grilled cheese sandwich and ate leftover baked beans for lunch. Checked e-mails again to see if my sister had replyed to my previous e-mails with questions. She had so then I started laundry. and worked in my room some more.
4:30pm went for a little walk and then came back and wrote blogs until now.
6:10p.m. getting hungry, and expecing my roomate home. So...

Good bye until tomorrow!

Day 1: Welcome to Japan!

My arrival to Japan was delayed a day due to a wonderful stomach bug. Actually it was anything but wonderful (vomiting, diahea, fever etc). So I left Saturday morning at 4:00 am to make it for my 6:30 flight. Thankfully everything went smoothly and I arrived in Japan at 2:00pm on Sunday.

My sister, and Ida sensai, one of my principal's met me at the airport, and then my sister and I wnet by bus to Yokohama station. At Yokohama station one of our friends met us inher car to take my sister and I to my house.

Once I got to my house I had more people here to welocome me. My roomate Bridgette cooked an AMAZING feast of food for my first night here. She was worried I wouldn't be able to eat because I had ben sick, but this was the first meal that actually tasted good. Alright ready for the menu? We had jerk grilled chicken, grilled corn on the cob, grilled pineapple, mac and cheese, green beans, baked beans, garlic bread, and cream cheese fruit dip, with apples, mangos, and strawberries. It was delectable.

After dinner we cleaned up, my sister helped me unpack a little, and then we visited until I started falling asleep. Then they kindly let me go take a shower and crawl into bed.