Three months

Today’s the 3-month anniversary of my arriving in Tokushima prefecture and the town of Ikeda (a third the size of my hometown, with the heat of Nevada and the humidity of Florida, it was reputed) and setting foot in this apartment. I spent today throwing Halloween parties at the 2 elementary schools I teach at on Thursdays, paying off the balance on my plane ticket to India, and spending time online doing research for my eikaiwa classes tomorrow morning (to no, or very little, avail, as usual). Lindsay came over for a little while tonight as well, and we hung out while I offered her tea and cookies (Danish butter cookies, Mom and Dad, the ones we buy at home all the time in those dark blue metal tins–I bought a tin for one of my schools without realizing I’d already bought something else to give them, so I have to finish them off now…it looks like I’ll have very willing help, at least).

I’m going back and reading the Word-file journal I kept up–I haven’t updated it over the past month or so, but I guess that’s all right; I have internet so I can definitely document the more important things that I want to remember, and I’ve been writing down other observations. It’s interesting to see how far I’ve come. I remember honestly freaking out a little bit once I got here and saw how old and run-down the town was, and how small and barren and empty the apartment was, and how I was missing so many appliances, and how I thought I didn’t have a pillow to sleep on (I did and just missed it), and how my big Herbal Essences shampoo bottle leaked a bit but I didn’t have a washing machine yet to wash the leaked-on items. (I’d brought Sam’s-Club-size bottles of Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner; the conditioner I finished about a month ago, and I’m just finishing up the shampoo now.)

I’m also laughing about how I wrote how I was considering leaving the air conditioner on overnight because it was oppressively hot. I’m trying to translate my a/c’s remote control right now, because room temperature is somehow considerably colder than it is outside in the evenings and it’s a bit nippy in here right now. I can only barely remember what it was like this summer.

I’ve come pretty far these past 3 months. But it’s funny, because I can’t believe how quickly they’ve flown. Recontracting season is beginning, but I only now feel like I’ve really gained a foothold here, and I still don’t have all my furniture, though my boss came to talk to me today about getting a wardrobe. (It’s totally not her responsibility to help me out, since this wasn’t at all specified in my contract, but I really do appreciate that she’s trying so hard to make sure I’m settled, despite juggling her work on top of taking care of Lindsay and me.) I’m only now really beginning to settle in, and so much time has already gone by. Before I know it, it’ll be time to make the decision on recontracting. Three months ago, I was so worried about how I’d manage, and now the question of whether or not I want to commit to another 12 months somewhere in Japan is approaching pretty rapidly.

But my apartment does have the 2-range stove and microwave/toaster/oven and TV/VCR and washing machine that were promised, as well as the kotatsu and fridge and futon and A/C that were already here. And I have 2 plastic chest of drawers (one in my oshiire, one in my tatami room), a tall bookcase that’s serving as my kitchen pantry, a short bookcase that’s sitting next to Allison’s old TV stand that Hannah donated, a pedestal fan, an extra futon pillow, a shower curtain, and a lot of lived-in clutter with no place to go just yet. (And a ton of persimmons.) This is serious space management–I thought I’d be ready for it since I was used to living in the dorms at Georgia Tech, but I’m not used to dealing with not having anywhere to put these things! I’m not living out of my suitcases anymore, but the box my parents shipped my winter clothes in is still serving as a clothing storage unit in lieu of my having a real chest of drawers and a wardrobe. (I think that when I do get a real chest of drawers, this plastic one will move to the back of my oshiire–that’s my futon closet–and serve as storage for out-of-season clothes and other stuff I’m not going to use regularly.)

I was hoping to write something more introspective, but it’s been a long week and I’m a bit tired, and I should get offline and keep working on translating my remote, which I’ve been wanting to do for the past week or so. Maybe future entries will make up for it. (And I lied again–still nothing about my kids, but I did at least take photos at my 2 elementary schools today. I’ll pull them onto my computer and upload them soon.) Good night, folks.

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