keii

#492--A year in review.

Hello! It's been quite a while. Nine months, actually. I'm absolutely horrible with updating, but I figured since I've reached my one year anniversary I'd give you all an update, for those who are still on El Jay. I'm also slightly tipsy, so if there are typos please ignore them.



This past year has been a lot of things. It's been terrifying, it's been frustrating, it's been trying, but it has been amazing. I've signed my contract and obtained my visa for another year, so I will be in Japan for another year. My co-workers have been wonderful, and I have the best team of English teachers anyone could ask for. Unfortunately, one has left and we're in the process of training the new teacher, but he'll fit in just fine.



I've taken a couple Japanese conversation courses during the year, which have been helpful for every day use, but definitely not helpful for helping me communicate with my coworkers. I picked up a couple text books from the book store and I've been studying like crazy, but my problem is that I don't force myself to use it. I keep trying, but it's like my brain and mouth don't connect when I do.



School has been amazing. My kids are the best, and I'm going to cry like a baby come spring when they graduate from the kindergarten. I'll still see them because I'll still teach them for whatever days we schedule them for for next year, but I won't see them every day and my heart hurts just thinking about it. It's crazy to think about how attached I've become to these kids in just a years time. And they're becoming so conversational it makes me feel so validated.



We've had multiple typhoons come though the area, and I have seen more snow that I've seen in a very long time, and I'm looking forward to this winter to see what it brings. I love winter. I love bundling up and being all toasty. And cocoa. All the cocoa.



I'm finally adjusted though. It took a really long time I feel like, but I'm finally comfortable here.



In non-school related news, my sister got married on the day that SCOTUS legalized gay marriage across all the 50 states. It was already legal in SC, surprisingly enough, but it made that day so much more special. And it altered my Maid of Honor speech ever so slightly. I had it written back in January and I continued to alter it up until the night before. Her wedding was the first time I had been home since I moved, and there were a lot of emotions surrounding that trip. I had made the decision to not go home for Christmas last year because it was difficult to leave the first time and leaving again after the holidays would have been so much worse. This year though I am going home. I have my tickets already bought and my hotel for the night before booked and ready to go. December can't get here faster.



So it's not really a long year in review, but if anyone wants to ask anything specific I'll gladly answer. In short though, this past year has been amazing, and I'm looking forward to year two.
keii

#491--*blows off dust*

Soooooooo.


How are you?


I just got my own internet today. It's not wireless yet, but I'll get it figured out later. My neighbor with the unprotected wifi moved, and therefore took their unprotected wifi with them, so I have been without internet for about two months, I guess? Maybe a month and a half.


Work has been awesome. I started teaching the three year olds, and when we get back from the holiday I'll start teaching after school, too. :) I don't know if I'll just get thrown into it, or if P-Sensei and I will team teach and transition to me, since it's one of her classes I'm taking. We'll have to talk it out.


I spent my first Christmas alone, and it didn't suck nearly as bad as I thought it would. It probably helped that I decided to go to Tokyo for the four days leading up to it, but it wasn't terrible.


~~~~


WELCOME TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE JUMP CUT.


Also happy new year! This post has literally been in draft since the 27th of December. orz


We've started school back, and I talked with P-sensei and we're going to team-teach Fox class (all the after school classes are named after animals) for two weeks to transition it over to me.


I really wish I were better with words, because I legitimately can't get basic sentences out to even begin to go on about the last three and a half months. I still catch myself looking out my window and going "I can't believe I'm here."


I'm not dead though, I promise. I'm just really bad with words, and really bad with updating anything. I keep saying I'm going to try to be regular with this thing, but I can never seem to actually do it. Maybe that should be my new years resolution.


Speaking of resolutions, it's no surprise I didn't accomplish mine from last year. I just looked it up, and I managed the "gym twice a week" for a few months before that fizzled, I didn't read much for pleasure (if I read anything), and I didn't apply for grad school because this opportunity came up before I had the chance to. I did manage to start using more of my makeup though, even though that also died down once I moved.


I'm out of words already. orz I hope everyone is okay. I miss you all.
oh yes!

#490--Oops I'm in Japan.

And have been for the last week, actually. I don't have internet (currently stealing from a neighbors unprotected wifi), so I have been really limited to what I can do and stuff. I've been on twitter, but that's pretty much it.



My body has finally adjusted to the time difference. The jet lag wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. My body just shut down around 10pm every night and woke up at 6am every morning. It's not necessarily a bad schedule, since I have to be at school at 9:30 every morning, but even with the 8 hours of sleep I never felt really rested until yesterday when I actually slept until my alarm. It's getting obvious that I'm used to it though, because I actually stayed up past midnight last night.



It's been amazing so far though. The school and all my coworkers have been extremely helpful this past week while I adjusted to everything. No complaints on that end. Or on any end, really. I wish I had more to update about but I sadly don't because I haven't had the time or the energy to really explore, and I don't know how to navigate the buses. .___. The vice principal gave me a bus schedule, but as you can imagine it's in Japanese. She and one of the English teachers picked me up from the airport, took me out to dinner, and got me to my apartment. The next day the VP came and got me and walked me around. She walked me to the school, walked me to Apita, which is basically all I'll ever need in life in one building (grocery store, clothes, places to eat), got me a cell phone (which I'm assuming will come out of my paycheck, along with rent), and has just been amazing to me, even if her English is about as good as my Japanese.



My apartment is on the fifth floor with no elevators, so I am going to have a fantastic pair of legs at some point. It takes me about 20-30 minutes to walk to school in the morning, and it's about a 10 minute walk to Apita. There is also a convenience store along the way, which I'm going to venture to today because I didn't feel like getting groceries this morning and I am running out of food.



My first week of work was relatively uneventful. The first day the secretary and I ran around the city of Komaki and got the majority of everything taken care of (bank accounts and registering my immigration card with the city). The other days has been me studying the curriculum and watching the other English teachers classes. I have two training sessions coming up. One session is from Oct. 21-23 in Tokyo, and the other is Nov. 15 in Osaka, just for the day. It's exciting that I'm getting to go, but a tease all the same because I'm not actually going to be able to see anything. I'll make physical notes of how we got there though so I can make my way back at some point.



I'm super happy, guys. I can't even put it into proper words.
keii

#489--Finally coming together.

Everything is finally coming together for my move. I got my certificate of eligibility last week, and tomorrow I'm heading to the consulate in Atlanta to apply for my work visa. I'm probably taking way too many things with me for it, but I'd rather have it and not need it than to need it and have to go back a third time.



I also have my plane ticket, and I'm flying out September 18th. It's a lot later than originally planned, but my apartment won't be ready until September 20th. I'll end up staying with the principal and her family for that first night. I only managed one stop, so I'll from from here to Detroit, have a three hour layover, and then fly from Detroit to Nagoya direct. I also have a comfort economy seat where I'm more excited about 4" of extra legroom than I am about free alcohol. lol.



It still hasn't sunk in, and it probably won't until I leave. I still feel like I'm dreaming and I'm going to wake up and find myself still unemployed. It's just so unreal. I'll probably break down in the airport. All of them. lol
keii

#487--!!!!

I actually have something happy to talk about for once, it's a miracle!


I think the last time I updated I was spiraling out of control with my emotions. I didn't really change much, but I did a lot more visiting with local friends and just getting out helps me clear my head. I had the inner monologue going and I finally came to, and accepted, the realization that I wasn't meant to teach. I did keep looking though, because I'm a glutton for punishment. I looked at day-cares, preschools, the children's museum, even more retail work (ugh). It wasn't until May that I actually found something that sparked the fire again. Of all places to find the posting, it was on Craigslist. Not exactly the most reliable of sources, but after applying to multiple day-cares and private preschools and not hearing anything, it looked really good.


The job posting was for a kindergarten English teaching position in Japan. It was the dream job posting. And it was one of those moments where if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. I did do my research first though before I even considered it. I made sure the school actually existed, I triple-checked on multiple ESL and TEFL websites that the posting was legitimate, and I emailed several questions to the recruiter before I emailed my resume.


I had an initial interview late May over Skype, and when the recruiter found out we were in the same city she started laughing, and that honestly made it better and less stressful. I can count the number of interviews I've had on three fingers. I was extremely nervous. It went well though, and I immediately got a second interview to be held in person. Second interview happened last week, and it went really well too, and I was severely over-dressed. I met the recruiter, the principal, her husband, and their daughter. The husband did most of the talking, since he knew more English than his wife, but everyone was amazing (and their daughter was super cute).


A week passed though, and I didn't hear anything. I went out of town the following weekend and kept my phone on me at all times, and killed my battery every day doing so because the farm has no cell service whatsoever. We came back on Monday, and the first thing I did was send out an email. I just wanted a time frame as to whether or not there would be a third interview, or if there would be news. I got a response about 10 minutes later saying they were working on final decisions.


I got an email late tonight asking how serious I was about working for their school. I wrote back how, while living in Japan would be exciting, the school and the kids are my priority, and I was very serious. Because I am. This is the dream job, and I'm not going to have my last-ditch effort for teaching be half-assed.


Well an hour later I got another email saying they wanted to hire me. I am moving to Japan in August. Please excuse me while I scream.


aewsrtdjcykyufhioubvykgrjtxedjfcgvuyghbkj


To go from having nothing work out for YEARS, to landing the dream job I wanted to work towards after building my career is so surreal. I cried for a good half-hour after I read the email, and I really want to print it out and frame it. lol. I don't even want to think about all the work I have to do to get ready to leave in a month and a half.


Just. UUUUGH. Once I actually have an itinerary I'll be sure to post it here, and I'll actually post regularly (for real this time). But AAAHHH!!!!
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keii

#486--Life stuff happenings.

Hi friends. This is a TL;DR entry of my feels. And not the happy kind.


I have had a really tough month with just about everything. I've spent the majority of it crying myself to sleep, and when I do get sleep it's not a whole lot. Or at least I don't feel rested. I can sleep for eight hours and never feel rested.


A lot of the stress is just stemming from me coming to the conclusion that I don't want to teach anymore. I'm no longer mentally able to handle it, and it breaks my heart because it was literally the only thing I wanted to do. All I've ever wanted to do was work with kids, and after having door after door just slammed in my face I've had enough. I'm sure I've said somewhere here before that I am my own worst enemy, and my fear of failure got the best of me. My initial certificate expires in June, and as of this moment I'm not planning on renewing it. I can't handle retaking the certification tests and I really won't be able to handle another three years of hoping someone gives me a chance. I'm just tired of letting myself down, and I'm tired of letting my parents down. I'm just tired.


This of course stems into grad school, which also won't be happening any time soon. This also sucks, because I was finally okay with going back, but now that I don't want to teach the extra degree is pointless.


I had it out with Mom again. It's all just spiraling out of control at this point. Dad had snapped at me for suggesting my brother do something instead of myself doing it the other day. It was just cleaning out the cat boxes, but Dad's argument was that my brother's chest bar could get infected. I would have bought into it had the bar just been put in, but it's been in place for a year now. If it hasn't gotten infected yet, it's not going to.


I just let it seethe at this point. I understand that he has his physical and mental limitations, but I can't for the life of me understand how he and I can do the exact same thing and he get babied, but I'm considered lazy. Aside from his volunteer work at Dad's office, and him vacuuming maybe once a month, he does NOTHING around the house. I help cook. I help do the dishes. I clean out the cat boxes (which I'm allergic to, just to keep up a friendly reminder), and I pick my brother up from work, so heaven forbid I sit around and play video games. When dinner time came around, I had given him a dirty look and slammed a bottle on the table because he moved it out of the way, and then proceeded to move it back after I waited for him to finish. The next morning, Mom actually asked if I was okay, and when I told her "No" she told me to fake it.


I'm still in a shitty mood, and fast forward to Monday, and my brother calls Mom and asks to be picked up. Mom answers on speaker phone, and I quote "Can you pick me up today? I really don't want Rachael to pick me up, I'm kind of mad at her." After crying myself to sleep for a month, you can imagine how well that sits. With the exception of the dirty look from the night before, I have literally done nothing to him, and he's mad at me. He tried to apologize later that night, but I ripped into him. Told him that it doesn't matter how much stress he gets at work, he had no rhyme or reason to be mad at me when I hadn't done a single thing to him. Told him that the last thing I needed, after crying for a month, was to get shit from him. I probably over-reacted, but he gets babied for everything, and he needs to hear things like he's 22, and not like he's 12.


And then we get to Mom and me. She starts off saying how she's sorry I heard him on the phone, and how she told him to go apologize. That right there is my problem. That, to me, negates the purpose because he didn't do it on his own. He was told to apologize to me. Mom could have easily just told him I heard and that I was upset and let him do with it as he pleased, but she told him to do it. So no, I won't be accepting any sort of apology from him. I think he was genuinely upset about it, because Mom told me he came downstairs and cried, but I really don't care. And I told her that. I told her that I didn't want to teach anymore. I told her that I was sick and tired of being considered lazy when I have done everything to get a job around here. I told her that I was sick of seeing my brother being treated like he's 12, and that he acts that way because of it. I told her that I was sick and tired of crying myself to sleep at night because I felt and thought so poorly of myself.


I had made a comment right after that saying that I didn't know if I felt better or worse after words, and I think I can finally say that I feel better that it's out there, but I honestly feel worse. I feel better knowing that Mom doesn't think I'm a failure and that it's okay that I don't want to teach anymore, but now the pushing is going to go onto finding work elsewhere. I'm terrible at everything, so I don't even know where to begin looking.


Mom suggested career counseling, which really doesn't sound appealing, and also suggested therapy, which I'm seriously considering. I clearly need help, but I've just been so focused on trying to please my parents and not myself that it's just gotten way out of hand. I really don't want to admit that I need help though, which brings everything right back around to me being my own worst enemy.


I'm just so miserable right now, and I don't even know where to begin to start to try to make things better again.
keii

#485--New Year.

So Happy New Year, friends! Hope everyone had safe holidays and all that jazz. Christmas was uneventful as per usual, and I actually went down to a friends for New Years Eve and a bunch of friends from high school all came and we had a girl's night in and got to catch up. :) It was nice.



New Years tend to come with resolutions that I never seem to keep, but I'm actually going to set some that might be obtainable. I'm just going to list them off here, mainly for myself so I can see them written down.

1) Go to the gym twice a week.
--I'm not going to try to lose weight, because every time I do something stressful happens and it all comes back on in the form of pizza and pints of Ben and Jerry's. Last years downfall was my fight with my parents, and it never came back off. However, I do think I can manage going to the gym twice a week, at least. I have this fancy membership that keeps taking $20 out of my bank account every month, so I need to actually use it. And maybe if the weight just comes off that way, I'll be tempted to go back more often.

2) Read for pleasure.
--I've never been a pleasure reader. Ever. Public schools had this required reading for summer and they were all books that never interested me. Ever since, I just couldn't find anything that I actually wanted to read until The Hunger Games. I couldn't even get into Harry Potter. And I've actually already started. I got an iPad for Christmas, and I started roaming through the "Free Books" section and read "28 and a Half Wishes" and "Friends with.....Partial Benefits." Both were cute reads, even with the few grammatical errors every now and then. I've already downloaded another free book, and then I have my bookshelf full of Agatha Christie novels and my "Wicked" series, and "I, Robot". It's slowly becoming more appealing.

3) Apply for Grad School.
--I'm going back. I've finally decided on a degree, and I've found two schools that are so far away from my parents it makes it perfect. More importantly though is that *I* decided to go back. My parents, while they mean well, always pressure me into doing things I don't want (like the 250 business cards that my mother made me print). And even though my mother has admitted to me getting the personality trait of "The more it gets brought up/pressure there is, the less I want to do it" from her, it's exactly what she's doing, and I've almost lost my love to teach. Which is a really shitty thing to type out and actually see, but it's true. And even though I'm registered to sub in the county, I've kept postponing my start date because I'm terrified to teach since the county I trained in was scripted. I'm giving it one week, and I'm going to contact a principal I'm close with and see if she'll let me sit in on a class and just observe. I hate going into anything blind, and I think that'll help me get over my initial fear.

Back to the grad school topic though, I've decided to focus on Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology. There is one school that has that, which is located in New York. The other school is just Instructional Technology, which is in Maryland. I'm planning to shoot for Fall '14 or Spring '15. There's just a lot of work I have to do. I'm trying to get the majority of the work done without my parents knowing, because they'll hate my school choices being that far away and will talk me out of it like they've done all my other furthering education options (speech pathology, teaching in Korea, etc.), but I don't know how I'm going to get up the New York and Maryland to visit these schools without them catching on.....and without money. OTL That also means going to Myrtle Beach and paying a visit to my professors and getting them to write me letters, which should be interesting because NONE of them wanted to write me references for my teaching applications. None of them. I can't wait to drop that bomb on my parents. "Your daughter doesn't have a job because her professors didn't like her! :D"

I did tell my sister today very briefly about it right before dinner, and she asked if I would be moving and I very quickly answered "Yes." I hate it here, and my parents, while I love them, are driving me up the wall. It shouldn't be too hard to find a place in Maryland, and the school in New York is in Albany, so I have a high chance of finding something rather than having to look in the city.

I'm still looking for other schools that are out of state, but not many teach this degree face-to-face. I know online classes work well for others, but I get so distracted so I need to have that classroom.

4) Use the makeup I've bought.
--I'm a hoarder of all the pretty things, so I have all this makeup and I use none of it. I'm planning on changing that. I've got a vanity station all set up and everything. :) This way I can at least try to actually update that beauty blog I attempted to start. lol. I'm thinking an "every Friday" update with that.



So there you have it. I'm also going to try to update here more regularly as well. It's been a rough year, but I'm ready for the big changes I'm about to bring upon myself. :)
keii

#484--*blows off dust*

Oh right. I have a thing.


I wish I had more to talk about honestly, but my life is so boring. orz I'll fill you guys in on the two major things.


1) I did successfully move back home, and I've been back for about two months now. I went back home with the cats and then Mom and I came back down with her van and we packed everything up and cleaned the apartment and came back. We ended up hiring movers, and that was the best decision ever. They were super efficient, and it made both my and my mom's lives easier. They came and loaded up the moving truck in record time. Mom drove the truck back home, and I drove the van back. Once we got back, we unloaded everything that was for the house inside, and then took everything else to the storage unit. Which reminds me, I really need to go and check on everything. >.> Otherwise, it's been a very smooth transition. :) It's still not exactly ideal, but it's certainly less stressful.


2) I applied, interviewed, and have been accepted into the school districts subbing system. :D I just have to get the video training done and get everything set up and I'll be teaching again in no time. I'm excited and scared all at the same time. Greenville's curriculum is very different than Horry's. Horry County runs on a scripted program, and Greenville you have to come up with everything. It's more ideal, because you get to teach how you want, but having trained in a scripted system is going to put me at a disadvantage until I can get used to it.



I'm sure a lot more has happened since then, but I really can't think of anything major except the two above. The move was a huge thing, and then finally getting an interview for subbing was another. I had put the application in and didn't get a call back for anything for three weeks. At that point I was counting my options, because I didn't think it was going to happen. I had a few moments where I broke down (once in public, even) because the topic kept coming up and I didn't know what I was doing wrong to be ignored in this county. The moment in public, Dad had mentioned going back to school and I just bawled at the table we were at. I want to go back at some point, but when my sister asked what the problem was I flipped out and said I didn't see the point in going back to get another useless degree. And that's honestly the one thing that's holding me back. I want to keep going, but I don't want to waste the money in a degree that I love, but essentially still can't use.



Enough of that though. Friends, I'm behind 4 months on LJ entries (except for maybe Ri's). What all has happened in everyone's lives? What's going on in fandom worlds (except Koki getting fired. I don't think anyone could have missed that)?? Anything important??
keii

#483--Being an adult.

Managed to be an adult today and formally put in my two-weeks notice into work. Boss ladies weren't exactly thrilled with my decision to leave, but understood that I need to take care of myself. There is a lot going wrong with that store, and while I didn't cite specific reasons why I decided to quit, I did tell them that the last month was exceptionally rough on me and I had had enough. So my last day is next Saturday (the 7th). I'll probably be more upset closer to time, but I can't get over how relieved I feel now that I only have two weeks of obligations left. I feel the best I have in months, so I know this is the right choice. :)



That does leave what I'm planning on doing now. I did come to the decision on my own, but I am moving back home to my parents. It's not exactly ideal, but it's not permanent either. I talked it over with Mom last night and I do plan on taking a month off just to de-stress and actually relax for once because I haven't had a chance to since I graduated. After that I do plan on keeping track and seeing when Greenville county starts to hire subs. If they're hiring after the month, awesome. If not, then I'll start looking for other work either in the form of another part-time job or just volunteering in schools. I'm also floating around the idea of applying for JET, because the dream job is to teach abroad. Also grad school.



We'll just have to wait and see, but for right now I'm just going to enjoy feeling the weight coming off my shoulders.
keii

#482--Whelp.

So Token Male remembered just about everything about that night.



The conversation happened way sooner than I wanted it to, but it happened. At least through text messages it did. orz He actually brought it up himself, which is why I was caught off guard by the whole thing. And the fact that I was still at work didn't help either. He never believes me when I say he has bad timing.



It didn't really go anywhere. It went back and forth of him trying to reason it and me saying how upset I've been since then since I thought he blacked out and didn't remember a thing. Though he did say had he'd known that I'd be hurt by the whole situation he wouldn't have kissed me, and I don't know if that hurts worse or not....



I'm just sad. I don't really know how else to describe it. Just sad. He did finally ask me though if I was really okay with being with someone who might be dead within the next 10 years or so, and I told him I was fine with it because any amount of time would be better than pining after him. He said I was too nice, and then called me a fool.



I don't think I'm ever going to get proper closure. I keep re-reading the conversation and he thinks I'm mad at him and I told him several times that I'm not but like any boy he doesn't listen. I'm just sad. I think it's all worse because I'm a Leo and I'm just upset that this wasn't the outcome I wanted.



And of course this conversation happened after I agreed to go with him to a mutual friend's party. OTL Why is this my life.