Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Week

In case any of you are wondering why I haven't been writing emails, here's what my week is like.

Just so you know, we have 4 branches for our school.
One in Toyohashi (the city I live in, the school is a 5 minute bike ride from my house).
One is in Toyokawa:

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One is in Kosai (this is not Aichi prefecture anymore, it's Shizuoka, but right on the border).

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The other school is in Gamagori, but I don't really go there. Instead I go to the junior high school close to Gamagori city.

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12:00 wake up, get ready for work
1:20 leave the house
1:30 start work
8:00 (or 9:00 sometimes) finish work
8:10 get home, make dinner, etc. Easy start of the week so far.

8:19 wake up
8:20 make sure the sound on the laptop is on, go online on Skype and go back to sleep
8:30 start the conference call meeting with my boss and co-workers
9:15 (if I am lucky, after 10 if not) finish the meeting and go get ready for work, as well as get some lesson-planning done, or blogging, or emails, or any other unfinished work.
12:20 leave the house to go pick up materials at the main office
1:30 arrive at the Toyokawa school and start work
8:20 finish work
9:00 get home from Toyokawa
Not such a bad day either.

7:00 wake up
8:00 leave the house
9:00 get to work at the junior high school in Gamagori, where I do ALT work for the morning.
12:30 finish ALT work, go to the train station to get back to Toyohashi, and from there to Toyokawa.
13:45 get to Toyokawa branch school and start work there.
7:30 finish work
8:15 get home
8:30 have a paino lesson (only 2 times a month)
9:00 finish the piano lesson
9:30 start a private lesson
11:30 finish the private lesson and have dinner if I haven't yet (this week is the first time I am doing this though)

8:00 wake up (depending on the day, whether I need to do lesson planning or not)
8:50 leave the house
9:00 get to work and start work
11:30 finish my morning classes and other things in the office, go home to have lunch
12:15 leave for the train station
12:45 take the train to Kosai
1:10 get to the school in Kosai and start work (I technically start at 1:30)
7:25 finish work and head home
8:15 get to my house
8:30 start a private lesson
10:00 (if I am lucky) finish the private lesson

7:00 wake up (2 times a month, the other times I get to sleep in)
8:00 leave the house for the station
8:30 take the train to Toyokawa
8:50 arrive at Toykawa school, pack materials for the morning and head out (usually takes 15 minutes)
9:20 or so get to McDonalds next to the kindergarten where I teach in the morning and have breakfast (yes, I know, but McDonalds is the only place open around there, and sometimes I just have a drink)
9:45 leave to go to the kindergarten (which is a minute walk)
10:00 start teaching (I teach 3 classes usually, 15 to 30 minutes each); play with the kids after teaching, have lunch with the kids
12:30 go back to the school branch, put stuff back, head to the station to go back to Toyohashi
1:45 or so arrive at the Toyohashi school (if I don't have kindergarten, I would get there at 1:30, so I get to have the morning to myself for sleeping or for lesson-planning, emailing, studying Japanese, etc.—but most often I just sleep)
8:20 finish work, go get groceries, and then go home.

So that's pretty much what my week is like. I work so late so I can only go grocery shopping on Monday night or Friday night. I can go in the mornings too, but at nights they have sales, so I try to go then. It's great, there is a sale every night. I also manage to get to the store on Thursdays too before my private lesson, or on Wednesdays if I don't have piano. On Thursdays the store has dumplings on sale, so I always wonder what the sales ladies must think about my diet, because I usually buy a bunch... you know, to last me for the rest of the week. Although, I've been trying to cut down on dumplings. They are so easy to cook (heat up, really), but I usually fry them in oil, so it's a bad idea to overdo it. I also was eating a lot of korokke before, but I am also trying to cut down. The stuff is so cheap, but it's deep-fried, so also bad for me. I guess I have been trying to eat more healthy in general recently.

I have the weekends off to myself (except three Sundays per year for work parties that we host for kids). Of course, I have kendo for 3 hours on Saturdays, although I don't always go (as you would know if you follow my blog). Saturdays I usually clean my house first, then either watch TV or study, or catch up on reading. On Sundays I used to meet with friends a lot, but now I am taking it easy because I overdid it a bit and got too tired. It's nice to have Sunday all to myself and not have to go anywhere. These days I just do the same as on Saturday: study, bike around the city, get shopping done if I need anything, read. I also sometimes catch up on work (lesson planning, reading about behaviour management, thinking what to do with the troublesome kids, etc.). I try to write too, but I haven't been doing nearly enough of that, I guess. I really don't feel like writing emails those days though. I guess maybe I am just tired from my schedule, because technically I have time, theoretically. I dunno. Just don't feel like sitting down and writing, especially when I feel I should study Japanese and practice piano. The only people I talk to these days are parents. They complain that I don't write (even if they don't say it all the time, I think they still complain to each other, because I know how they complained to me when my brother was away). I guess for them it's hard to really picture what it's like. I know I used to think my brother is lazy and selfish when he didn't write from Nara, but now I know what it's like... and it's not something you can understand unless you are living it, I guess... Anyways, at least I call my parents, I guess nobody else gets even that, not even my friends in Japan... (X_X). I used to feel really guilty for not staying in touch, but then I remembered a conversation I had with my best friend. She was telling me something along the lines that before taking care of others you should take care of yourself. It wasn't exactly in those words, but I think that was an idea. And she is right, I think... On the bright side though, I am getting more used to my schedule now, and I am not as tired anymore. Also helps that teaching is becoming more rewarding as I get to know my kids better. It's all about small steps with the kids, winning a little bit at a time, and well, it really makes me proud to see when they improve, be it behaviour or actual English. Teaching really is a special thing.

I don't remember if I blogged about this or not, but I was thinking the other day: I keep complaining to my co-workers about my boss, about my schedule, about the kids sometimes, about the prices. When I look back though, a year ago I was walking on campus, anticipating how a year from then I'd be in Japan, teaching as a full-time job. And here I am. I really am lucky to be here. So many things had to happen, so many coincidences, and so many things I made happen, that brought me here. And every minute of it is really worth it. It really is.

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