A group of young adults shuffled heavy feet as they herded together down a cramped, blissfully humid, bright white hallway working their way into the waiting area of their arrival gate. Given no reprieve, the group was then polity instructed to move on, like a pack of lost wide eyed cattle. English was no longer being blasted out in announcements over the intercoms as it had hours before. Signs they waddled past no longer held instructions in one language, but two.
The group continued to walk groggily but briskly to retrieve luggage they had packed days before in anticipation for their new lives. How much could you pack up into two suit cases that would become your everything?
Their frumpy lazy American styled clothing stood out among the rather well dressed folks they passed. Brown eyes stared in awe and followed the group in everything they did. Whispers in a unknown tong reached the groups ears as the moved throughout the airport.
No longer in the land the group called home, they had now become the minority.
Welcome to your new life in Japan.
It has been two freaking years already. TWO FREAKING YEARS! And yet it seems like yesterday that I first set foot onto Japanese soil. It still feels like I am living in a dream.
So much has happened and so little has changed. I am still doing the same thing, working as a ALT on the JET program. I am still the same old me, but I am now in a relationship with my silly boy Keisuke. That has changed the most.
One has become two, but still we are not fully able to be a WE, the long distance keeps it a me. Hopefully soon that will come to change.
Teaching is different than it has been in the past, but I am doing okay. Making lesson plans, teaching, and being the happy go lucky ALT that I have always been is still on my plate. The when and how we teach the lessons is different. But my kids are still making my time here worth every second.
But lets be real, there are still many down and out days. Things that tick me off, but sadly that comes with any job. I just have to remember to remain calm and accept the difficult times. It cannot be rainbows and unicorns 24/7; leave that job to the conbinis!
There is still one important thing that gets me through it all, my students. Their smiles are worth everything. While most are lacking any form of creativity, they thrive in their dedication in almost everything they do. Even though they slack in some of their studies *ahem* English, *cough* excuse me.
Sure not all my students are perfect little angels but they still get me through it all. Including my little hellion boys but that is for another time.
How can that be, you might ask?
They often remind me of why I am here, what it is that I am doing as an ALT. The mixed, often broken, English conversations brighten the darkest of days. There have been students who have come right out and whole hardheartedly said “Amanda I want to study overseas,” while other students have the bigger dream of working abroad.
I am doing something. This does matter.
Two years I have spent working in Yamaguchi as an ALT. Sure it is inaka and sometimes hell, but somehow I am about to start my third and final year. I am happy to know that my days here, while many have been spent as the desk warmer, are making a difference.
I am thankful for the time I have spent in Japan. I have grown even wiser and stronger, becoming a better Amanda than I was before. I am thankful to my fellow teachers, office staff, and students for all the have done and will do for me. Without them this journey would not be as fantastic as it has been. I look forward to the days still to come.
Thank you for a wonderful two years Japan!