Improvised weekend

This weekend, I was supposed to go on a trip to Hiroshima. However, typhoon Vongfong put a damper on things (literally), and so we decided it was best to stay put and not risk busing. Although disappointed that we didn’t get to go, I think it was for the best… even though the typhoon weakened before hitting land, it was still a little scary driving back to my place, and the wind is howling pretty loudly right now. 

On Friday I saw “Guardians of the Galaxy” for the third time, and on Saturday I had a fun time exploring Machi Asobi (a huge anime event) in Tokushima city, followed up with pizza (LAWD, real cheese is hard to come by here) and karaoke! On Sunday, I sat in as a judge at a city festival for a shouting contest, and then went over to a friend’s and spent the night. And finally, today was spent watching movies and eating until it was time to head home and prepare for the work week.

And now I shall go to bed and hope the wind dies down.

Jesus take the wheel. Literally.

So I watched “Guardians of the Galaxy” the night before I left for Japan, but I opted to watch it again with everyone on Saturday night because it recently came out in Japan. It was fun! My car didn’t have so much fun, though…

As we were driving back home along the already terrifying river road at 1 in the morning (might I add 30km from home), it began to rattle and smoke… so I had to pull over and leave it in a parking lot. Thankfully I was with some awesome people and another neighbour came to my rescue!

My mechanic (who is AMAZING by the way … and dare I say CUTE) came in to deal with my mess on a day that the shop was closed and even gave me a replacement car to get around until they figure out what’s wrong. The kindness I’ve been shown here is unbelievable.

things students say at my elementary school

Clock: *11:11 am*
Student: 先生ポッキータイムだよ~ (Sensei, pocky time da yo~/Teacher, it’s pocky time~)

I died

The view from my apartment. I’ve made it to Tokushima! I think I’m overdue for an update. 
Flowers from my workplace. The first time I’ve ever gotten any. Touched~

What no pre-departure orientation can prepare you for…

As the countdown begins to loom and—to put it crudely—shit begins to get real, I notice myself slipping into a cycle of routine emotional distress.

Owning your first apartment. Moving out on your own for the first time. Perhaps even owning your first car and fearing having to drive alone on the opposite side of the road. Being in a foreign land. Having to fend for yourself. And so much more. All at the same time.

That’s a lot to deal with. Don’t take it lightly. 

Reality begins to hit you from every possible angle, and sometimes, it’s not pretty.

Today, I struggled to address relationships with friends. My insecurities had breached so many levels that I began to really fear losing relationships. And then the added stress of feeling like I needed to resolve things that had been long-standing issues.

Maybe what I’m trying to get at in short, and what my future self would probably agree with, is that I don’t have to necessarily address everything in my life at once. And writing this has already made me feel a lot better because that’s what I thought I needed to do.

Mental health is important. I’m taking time out, reevaluating what I’m doing, and getting some breathing in. Just doing whatever it takes to center myself in this hectic time.

Everything about life at this moment feels so tentative that I would really like to attach a huge “loading…” or “under construction” sign to myself.

spending the few weeks that I have left at home making some memories~
One month… the things left behind

Today marks exactly one month until departure!

I find myself in a weird mixture of extreme excitement and anxiety. I can’t help but feel that I need to be rushing around doing something regarding the move every second of the day. Anything from “don’t forget to submit this form!” to “… remember to bring your favourite mug for when you might be bawling your eyes out profusely and need comfort.” 

(You’ll notice as time goes on that I tend to hyperbolize a lot)

And then there’s that. The emotional side to this all.

This is a big deal. A HUGE deal. While some participants have done these types of things before or visited Japan on a prior occasion, I’m uprooting myself for the first time and I don’t know what to expect.

I’m excited, but also scared. Very scared. Sometimes when I sit and think about it for a while, the scale of it looms over me.

Many of the ALTs in my new area have thankfully been able to reach out to me via Facebook, which has made the transition a little smoother so far.

Naturally, part of me worries a lot because of what I’m leaving behind here. The relationships that I’m scared will change. The ones that might dissolve. Making this decision was really, really difficult. I felt selfish for doing it. People in my life were happy, but didn’t want me to go at the same time.

"That’s really far."

"Aren’t you scared?"

"You’re brave, I wouldn’t be able to do that."

"I don’t want you to go."

I almost didn’t go through with it. It was an overwhelming amount of things to think about. But I didn’t find that to be a good excuse to give up this opportunity. Many people supported me through it as well… I’m sure no matter what, it will be an amazing experience in the grand scheme of things.

I just want people out there to know… if you have someone in your life making a decision like this and you think that they’re going off all happy and carefree, think again. Support them. It makes all the difference. Tell them it will be OK. Tell them you’ll be there for them no matter what. Remind them that skype exists for a reason. At times these are the comforts that I seek from people, but it’s hard when they think I haven’t thought about all of these daunting things.

At the moment, I can’t help but dwell on the things I’m leaving behind.

What’s meant to last will last… and one end will signal a new beginning.

point A

I guess this is where I begin…

My name is Sammy. I live in Toronto, Canada. I’m a recent graduate of a bachelor of education program (newbie teacher here), and am excited to see what’s coming up next.

This August, I’ll be moving to the island of Shikoku in Japan - more specifically, I’ll be taking up a role as an Assistant Language Teacher with the JET Programme in the city of Awa in Tokushima prefecture.

As with any life-changing events, I felt it was important to document the point from which I’m starting.

Hopefully, as I fill this place up in the next little bit with all the happenings, events, memories, etc… it will provide helpful insight for future JETers… or people who just want to know what I’m up to :)

- Sammy

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