Oct 15, 2011

I'm baaaaack!

Oh my God,

All i'm going to say is i hope Mr. Laptop had a good rest, because he's not going to get shut off for a while!  I was actually going to head over to McDonald's today, because they supposedly have wifi.  Well, when i woke up this morning around 8:30 (all on my own, shock!  See, being without internet has left me bored enough to get me to bed before midnight most nights.  I actually like this routine, we'll see if i can't keep it up~) i went and turned on my laptop like i always do in the hopes that there will be a connection.  First boot-up, no go.  Restarted once and low and behold, we have contact!  I even whistled a little "Hallelujah" tune.  Or maybe i was actually excited enough to sing it.

Anyway, a long-past-due post!  Sorry it is so long and uninteresting and un-picture-ful.

October 4, 2011

Just as predicted, the laptop isn't connecting to the internet again, yay!  So now for another pre-typed entry to upload when i can get connected again.

I never really talked in detail about my job.  I don't think it's that interesting to talk about but maybe some of you might be interested.  I work at a small hoikushitsu (also more commonly called hoikuen), which most people take to mean preschool/kindergarten, but the place i work at is really more like a daycare.  None of the kids are older than three years old.  Right now there are three babies under a year old, and then about five kids between one and three years old.  In the early afternoons when i go into work i usually help in the baby's room- reading to them, playing with them, putting them down for naps, consoling them when they get fussy, etc..  It's quite a lot of fun, actually.  The youngest right now is about 6 or 7 months and she's the only girl in the baby room, so she's gotten the nickname of The Princess, or The Queen (a couple times she's even been called The King, lol.  I don't know why though).  With such royal titles it's natural that she'd act like a princess or a queen, and that she does!  She won't take any milk whatsoever.  No formula from a bottle, no milk pumped from her mom in a bottle.. we even tried giving her both formula and breast milk from a spoon, and that was a no-go as well.  It was rather sad, because she would be so hungry and cranky and inconsolable (my poor ears!) but just wouldn't eat.  That went on for the first few days she was with us, until we finally tried giving her some okayu, which is just a soft watery rice porridge, and that was finally a success.  She's still pretty cranky most of the time, but is usually fine if she's being held and bounced around.  That would be all fine with me, except that she is a *big* baby!  Seriously, she looks like a mini sumo wrestler, and we joke (quietly) amongst ourselves about her looking like a big sausage rolling around on the ground (she can't crawl yet, but she's a good roller).  So my arms usually get a good workout with her, trying to get her to stop crying as i stand and swing or bounce her around.  She does like when i sing "Five Little Ducks" to her though, and will usually fall asleep then. :)

Then there are the one-year-and-ups.  They are mostly taken care of by the Japanese teachers, but they get "E-time" with me for about an hour every day.  I know it's not good to pick favourites, but mine is definitely little R-kun.  He's about two years old, i think, and is definitely the most out-going of all the kids, and always smiles at me when i come into the room and is the first to approach me with his toys or books for me to play with or read to him.  He's also easily consoled by being picked up and taken to the window to look at the ブッブー driving by (bubbuu.. that's the kid's word for car in Japanese, the sound the horn makes).  He's always the last to be picked up by his family too, usually between 6 or 7pm, so if there aren't any adult lessons in the evening i'm down there with one of the other teachers keeping him entertained.  Last night he'd run over to the bookshelf, pick out a book, run over to me holding it out, then sit on my lap for me to read it to him.  He's adorable!  We probably with through almost 10 books, haha.

So the baby's room and toddler's room are both on one floor of the building, and the floor above is kind of the 'grown-ups' area.  There's the kitchen, our boss' desk, our lockers, etc..  This is also the room where the adult English lessons are held.  From 5pm to 8pm we have English lessons for adults, mostly.  There are a couple elementary school and junior high school students, as well as a couple university students as well.  Most of the people who take the lessons are acquaintances of my boss, and they're all really nice people.  Lessons are usually pretty simple, since most of them are pretty low-level English.  Sometimes it's all just conversation, sometimes it's half conversation then we do some sort of exercise like flashcards, grammar worksheets, or whatever appeals to them and fits their level.  To be honest i just wing it most of the time.  I'm really not cut out to be a teacher, i've realized, haha.  And with no actual training i still feel kind of lost sometimes.  With the little kids it's just fine.  I bring them some books and read to them and play with them and that's good enough.  But with the adults, they're actually paying for these lessons so i feel like i have to give them a good lesson and teach them something to make it worth their time and money.  Although the lessons are super cheap compared to all the big corporate English schools out there, so it's definitely not anywhere near as demanding as it would be working for one of those companies, and i'm very glad for that.  Last night there was only one lesson with one of the regular ladies, Mrs. Y, who seems to really like me, always calling me Mei-chan and smiling when she sees me.  She's an elementary school teacher and recently started bringing one of her colleagues in for lessons with me, because she thought her colleague would enjoy them too.  Yesterday she also brought her daughter for the first time, who's in college training to be a nurse.  I guess she had been trying to convince her daughter to come for a while too, so that does make me feel good that at least some of the students are enjoying their time with me and are bringing their friends. :)  Mrs. Y's colleague told me last night that one of her colleagues also wants to come, because she had mentioned how "cute" i am so now he wants to some see me.. haha, awkward!

Then there are my coworkers.  My boss, Mr. Big Bear, is a really nice older man, very laid-back and easy-going.  In my head i've started calling him Papa Bear, because he has this kind of fatherly attitude with all of us and with the kids there too.  Then there's Mama Ann, as i've taken to calling her in my head.  She's from the Philippines, and from the very first day she kinda took me under her wing, told me that if i had any questions or trouble or needed anything to come to her.  "We understand each other," she had told me, "we're both foreigners you know."  Although she's been in Japan for about 10 years, so she's a lot more in the know about everything, and she's very outgoing too, which i enjoy.  She knows it too.  "I'm very forward," she says.  She says whatever's on her mind, and that's rather refreshing here where a lot of people tend to be very reserved.  She gives us all good laughs.  But she does really look out for me, and is always sneaking me snacks and chocolates in between taking care of the kids and cleaning and lessons, haha..  "Here, Mei-chan, hurry eat this!" as she shoves some sort of snack at me.  Then there's M-sensei, who's second-in-charge behind Mr. Big Bear.  She's very nice too, and always makes an effort to talk to me and include me in conversations, even though my speaking level is still shit.  She seems to genuinely appreciate my presence and efforts there, which is nice for me.  Then there are the two teachers who take care of the toddlers.  I don't really get to talk to them often since i really only see them when i have English time with the kids, or if there are no adult English lessons and i'm down there with one of them when the other leaves early.  They're nice enough, but not as easy to talk to as M-sensei or Mr. Big Bear.  There are also a few other teachers/cooks that i only get to see in passing since they work in the early morning and leave shortly after i arrive.  They're all very nice to me, greet me and chat with me as i'm coming and they're going.

So, for now i'm quite happy with where i'm at.  The pay isn't as good as what i could be getting elsewhere, but as i've said before i'd much prefer a good working atmosphere to a huge salary.  I'm good at living minimally, and good at saving, so it's definitely just fine for me.

That got to be quite a novel about my job, and with no pictures either, i apologize!  I would love to adorn this post with pictures of the adorable kids i teach, but we're not allowed to take pictures of them, for safety reasons which i totally understand.  I did get one picture of Baby R-kun (a different R-kun than the one i mentioned.. this one is one of the under-one-year babies, the first baby i met on my first day there, and he's very adorable!  Again, not nice to pick favourites but he's my favourite baby~) on my cell phone, when i was told that we couldn't take pictures.  Though i secretly sent it to my email before i deleted it, so i could have it for my memories.  Still, won't be posting that though, sorry!

1 comment:

Mom said...

Awesome! Thx for the post! So glad you are enjoying your job and the babies. :o)
I finally made it to the post office today before they closed! Just in time, too! The mailman was picking up the mail to take to the post office.
Actually, it was a storage place by my work at K**** high school on 91st Ave between N***** & O**** that has postal service. So... plz let me know when you get it. I was pleasantly surprised at how much it cost to mail. I was expecting around $50 to $60, but it was only about $27.

When you get a chance, please send me a list of items (small items, plz) that I can send you for Christmas. Maybe some candy or food itmes, toiletries, umbrella, hat, gloves, mitten, scarf, ...things that don't cost too much
and cost much to ship.

I saw in Time magazine today where Japan is going to be giving away airline tickets to Japan in 2012 to draw in tourists after their earthquake, tsumani period. I'm looking into it. :o)

OK, well I better get busy. Love you lots & miss you tons

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