Monday, June 26, 2006

cute kidddies

I'm sure this breaks like every privacy rule in my contract... but whatever. since I'm leaving I've started taking pictures of my fav. students.

here are the twins that have won the "cutest kids" contest out of nearly 300 students. they started at 19 months and now can understand simple instructions and repeat some English words. they are hilarious. and they know it. 'cheeky' as our Brit teacher, Nicola, says.

and in a later class. after I nearly killed her classmate for being sooooo loud and I couldn't take it and picked him up with one arm, grabbed his books with the other and just as Nicola was starting to yell at/explain to the manager taht she can't teach her neighboring class with my child screaming him head off 'cause it's fun... I emerge from class, bearing said evil child on my hip, and propell him to the manager.

then I go back to teaching this cute girl. who subsequently behaved better then she had in months and months.

ok, mom, is this how I make the cute face to ham for the camera?

hmmm, let's see. is this how to do it? I can't remember.

wow, trying to be cute is boring. yawn. guess I'll just have to be cute without trying...

and then she gives me a hug at the end of class. I never ever ever expected this to be my life. more than anything I can't get over the shock.

argentine tango

for those of you who don't really know what Argentine tango looks or sounds like, this is a perfect example that one of my friends found. you should just be able to click on it and watch it.

man oh man this makes me miss those dancing all the time days.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

wwwwwwooooooooo hoooooooooo!!!!!!


I just landed the job I had been salvating and holding my breath for!

It's only mornings and is basically designing creative lessons and playing with kids. no more A SAYS A A A A APPLE!!! no more working late into the night every night. no more hour commute (though I do have to move). no more stockings and heels. no more required makeup. no more suits.

it's finger paint and edible paste starting in August.

plus the school is called "the fun house" and as my friend Robert says

"and then you'd be working in the fun house! can it get much better than that?"

Saturday, June 10, 2006

the dream

recently I’ve been having some second thoughts. recently I’ve been missing the science. I had an interesting talk with “the pretend boyfriend who I’m sure I’ll ditch anyday now and who will not be discussed in this blog” about athletes choosing high protein diets how carbo loading the night before is no longer a favored strategy because apparently the body isn’t so good at storing glycogen as we thought… blah blah.

and it sounded vaguely all bunck to me. and I wanted to refute it with some solid information but as my mind was still caught up in circles with the kids lessons I’d been teaching all day (She’s a doctor! He’s a baker! // walk, walk, walk, jump jump) I couldn’t extract all those lectures in metabolism and how we actually break down sugar and protien vs. all the crap pop science about it and I grew more and more frustrated as my answers were reduced to, “oh really??” “huh”

and I realized how much I missed learning science. as much as I often hated it, I still liked pushing the electrons around and thinking about these big puzzles. I wondered what mr. rat-tail prof. Steven’s would have to say about it all.

and then I had a dream.

I was handling a tube of radioactivity that looked a lot like the reticulum lysate (exploded rabbit blood) that we use in radioactive experiments in the Darimont lab. It’s bright red and very viscous. it was sorta for an experiment and had some element of a party trick to it. I’m carrying a whole 1.5mL eppi tube of this red stuff. usually you only thaw 50ul at a time because this stuff is so expensive. I’m now carrying 300 times that much which could be easily worth 10 grand. maybe $30,000 even. I am very aware how expensive and dangerous this little tube is, in my dream.

in real life, when we thaw the radioactive lysate you have to be really careful because there is a small chance that some of the liquid nitrogen got caught under the cap and this can cause the tube to pop open and spray little amounts of radioactive rabbit blood everywhere.

sure enough, in my dream the cap pops open and a little drop falls on my UN-GLOVED hand. If this type of radioactivity (Methionine coupled with S35) gets into your body it is incorporated into your proteins and cells and will do damage for it’s halflife of about 30 days. If you wear gloves it isn’t dangerous. but in my dream this drop of red has fallen right on my BARE skin. it doesn’t hurt or melt or anything like in the movies. I just know that it is very very bad.

for me, working with radioactivity is a little like being in the middle of a big argument, I hit a level of calm that will get me through till its over. the panic can be delayed. I’ve controlled my breathing; it is measured and careful. I do not panic or flinch. I keep walking holding this precious expensive tube in hand. the rest of the lab is depending on me.

I am, at the same time, freaking the F* out and dead dead calm. I am aware that I have messed up the experiment. I’m not moving fast enough, this tube need to get back on ice before it is ruined. with the top open it is being contaminated with RNAses. My inadvertent carelessness is ruining this tube that the lab is depended on doing their experiments with. I am very aware of Bea’s disapproving voice in my ear. I feel I failed her as her protégé. this is an expensive expensive mistake. this is worth more than my year’s salary.

the tube of lysate is now an open beaker of bright red dangerous liquid. a piece of paper falls from the ceiling and lands half in the beaker and half resting on my other hand. the radioactivity quickly wicks up the paper. now both of my hands are covered in radioactivity. I continue to move quickly and carefully. I do not let myself succumb to the panic that is slowly gripping me.

and then the phone rings and I wake up.

I get my bearings and try to bring myself back into this reality. The feeling of panic does not leave me quickly as replay the dream in my head. and while it was indeed, a horrible dream, it was a good reminder of many of the things I don’t miss about being in a lab.

it’s a lot of pressure to work with really expensive/dangerous things.
I don’t miss spending the night chasing after that one tiny spot that was just slightly contaminated. especially when it was in the 4C room. (and for the record, not while I worked in the lab things never got contaminated to an actual dangerous level. just to a level that required hours and hours of cleaning…)
I don’t miss the pressure.
I really really don’t miss all that pressure.

(and still no word about the preschool job.)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

preschool teacher?

I always imagined preschool teachers to be honestly sweet women. not particularly smart or especially pretty. not especially full of talent or ambitions. I imagined them to be simple but genuinely good people. women who's biggest strengths were inexaustable patience and a good heart.

in other words... exactly the opposite of how I see myself. I'd like to think of myself as talented and occasionally clever. I do not consider myself especially patient or genuinely kind. nor would I say that I have a profound or even genuine love of children. I mean, sometimes some of them...

but here I am, continuing to check my email as many times a day as possible to see if i got this preschool job. the schedule is sweet. 8:30-1:30 M-F. the pay is 190,000 yen/m or $1,600 (I make around 280,000 now) but they don't care if I make up the difference in income with private students, which I think I could easily get. or I could just live a litte more frugally and relax. plus it's a really really kickass school with a huge play room and art projects for the munchins ect. so I'm impatient to see if i get it, we'll see.

and if I don't get it? I don't know. there are lots more jobs... but this whole process of searching and working is exhausting. it may be getting time to leave Japan if I don't get this job. not sure where I'd go, though.

i'll keep you posted.

in other news, I found a four leaf clover today.