Thursday, July 06, 2006

back to normal

haha, thanks to everyone who asked me if I was ok after that last post.

I'm fine -really.

I've realized part of the issue is my apartment. It's tiny and it's cluttered and I have to make some decisions about my possessions and learn to live with less or I'm going to go crazy. When I thought I was going to move to Kurobe I had grand ideas that I'd purge myself of a lot of unwantables - well, more like unneedables. Now that I'm staying put, I have to decide if I should still purge. I think I should. I need to haul out everything in my closets (there are boxes I haven't opened since I put them there 3 years ago). That space could definitely be used for more important things -like my snowboard -which is leaning against a wall at the moment.

I wish I could drill holes in the walls....then I could put up shelves and get things off the floor. As it is, I have shelves that pretty much go to the ceiling, and if they don't, then I've got stuff stacked on top of them that does. If there were ever a serious earthquake I'd be toast. They'd be digging my out from under books mostly. The Niikawa JET library takes up a lot of my apartment space, but for some reason the books don't bother me, there's something very comforting about being surrounded by all those books. It's the stacks of paper, and the trinkets and the clothes and the rest of it that irritates me.

My friend Amy is leaving JET this year and she's moving out of her apartment at the moment. She has to decide what to keep for the girl that will take her place and what to throw away. She took a bunch of her stuff to a flea market not too long ago and she said it felt great to give her stuff to people who she knew appreciated it. I remember seeing one in Uozu a few years ago, maybe if I find one close to Nyuzen I'd be willing to part with things.

So, that's the goal. Simplify.

Monday, July 03, 2006

a little off these days

Something's been going on...I think it's an accumulation/formulation/combination of a multitude of factors which have all collided to make me 'Super Bitch' this week. It started with the end of my very last class EVER at Nyuzen High School. I still have to work here until the end of the month, but I don't teach for the month of July. I got back to my desk after the class and wanted to throw something. Usually I just want to cry, but this time I was just MAD!! What's that all about? I think it SUCKS that I have to leave a job that I love so much. Yes, I'll probably like my new job but DAMN, it's gonna take a lot to compare to this place.

So that was the start of it. After that class, anything and anybody that crossed my path has been a direct target for my grumpiness. The thing is, it's irritating being irritable. Everytime I've opened my mouth somthing nasty has come out - Thumper's unforgettable mantra, "If you can't say sumpin' nice...." just hasn't been workin' for me.

Thursday evening was our monthly Colare International dinner -the chili that Gillian made was tasty-delicious. I rode my bike to Kurobe from my apartment (it's about 7 or 8km) and I was cruising on Route 8 (the main road -not quite a highway but always busy busy busy). I really was CRUISING -32.4km/h according to my speedo. I was on the right side of the road, riding on the sidewalk (which is built for bikes as well as pedestrians) -you'd likely get squashed like a bug on Route 8 if you chose to NOT ride on the sidewalk -it's full of big trucks and not so competent drivers. Like the guy who nearly hit me trying to turn into a company parking lot - he hit the breaks, and I squeezed my breaks -both of them, my back end fishtailed and then I yelled a few choice words that even if he didnt' speak English, I'm sure he knew exactly what was going through my head...

I was rattled. I showed up for dinner hot, sweaty and a bit shakey. Everyone's chatting and being friendly and I still wanted to throw something.



So where was I?

OK, so back at work on Friday...I have to evaluate the mini-dramas that my second years (grade 11s) presented. Each student had to evaluate each of the other groups (that was part of their evaluation...). So, let's do the math. 5 classes of 40 students each, 12 groups per class, they each had to evaluate 10 of those groups. 40x5x10= 2000. 2000 comments that I have to read through, correct and rewrite onto a sheet that I can give back to the groups...sometimes I'm not as smart as you all think I am. I've got 3 classes finished, plus I have to mark listening exams for 400 students.

Friday night was a nice break from my black cloud. K and I got dressed up in Yukata (summer, cotton Kimono) and went to Toyama for an early Canada Day beer garden celebration. The sucky part of this night was that our friend Chika, whom we had invited had to work overtime and therefore couldn't come -but more importantly, she couldn't help us with our yukata!!! We found a site on the internet, complete with a over-cute cross-eyed Japanese cartoon model to take us through each step.

We managed to dance our way into them satisfactorily enough to catch the train to the Toyama on time. We met up with some fellow ALTs -Canadian and honorary Canucks and had an all out drinking and eating fest for 2 hours. The reason we wore yukata (besides it being summer and festival season) was because it was half price if you did!! Kirsten, Adrianna and I managed to get a bit of attention with our golden tresses and yukata! It makes for quite the combination.

Jimmy, the future King of Canada, brought sparklers and after dinner we went out to a park and lit up the night. K managed to convince half the group to wade through the water thingy in the park and I managed to convince her to pose...

We caught the last train home and I was in bed around midnight -had to be, I had to work Saturday morning. Back to marking papers....

Fortunately I had the afternoon off so K and I biked to Yamanokoshi (a pottery shop/bar up towards the mountains). We stopped in to say hello to the new American girl who's been hired there and then biked down to the river side for some frisbee. THIS IS WHERE THE GRUMPINESS STARTED AGAIN. You see, we have a pretty fun group of people in this area and most of them are pretty active and like to play sports. I had had a request to round people up for some ultimate frisbee, but for some reason or another people failed to repsond to my text messages and there were only 5 of us at the field -not enough to play, and even if there was we probably wouldn't have played anyway because the wind was blowing pretty hard. I felt bad because Jake had driven all the way from Kosugi (50some k) to come and play and we had to cancel. Grumpy. We decided to onsen instead and that helped to ease some of the tension.

We gorged on Pizza Jamboree for dinner (happy factor continued to rise) and then went to Uozu (two towns over) for the release of Mark and Rob's (aka the Bento Boys) CD at a bar called 135s. Grumpy factor begins to take hold again. Don't get me wrong, the CD's great and I love the Bento Boys, but minor details throughout the night prevented me from having a GREAT time. I know, I know, tragedy. But when you're already in a hole, going deeper never feels just gets darker and colder.

I didn't manage to get to sleep until after 3:00. Sunday I had to get up and go to Toyama to get my driver's license renewed. Not such a big deal except I had to sit through a 2 hour lecture on 'safety driving' all in Japanese. I was keen for the first 12.6 minutes as I played with my electronic dictionary, figuring out kanji that I should already know (add irritation points) but then it just became too tedious and I switched to short stories by Roald Dalh for the rest of the presentation.

The storm cloud that had settled over me for the past 4 days stayed with me on the drive home. Route 8 at 4:00 on a Sunday...what was I thinking? My weekend was over basically, I wouldn't be home until well after 5:00, pool's already closed so no swim -yucky weather, so no bike ride...

I realize that all of my little complaints are just that, little. BUT, when you're feeling just a bit off like I had been, everything seems that much more negative, unbearable, disappointing, unfair, irritating, and annoying.

Today, I got up, rode my bike to school, got right to work marking papers. I had decided not to start this week the way I had ended the last. Then I got the text from K saying she had been hit by a car. That's when I realized I really had nothing to complain about at all!!