This year Christmas will not be so unlike every other day. I'll wake up to the alarm on my cell phone in a temporary apartment and hit the snooze. I'll mutter to myself, not wanting to get up: it's cold, I'm sore from my latest enthusiasm for exercising. I'll check my emails on my cell phone and try to engage my brain. I'll turn on the heater and climb out of bed ten minutes or so later. I'll pull the curtains and smile at the sun. Yes, it's chilly and winter but it's lovely here.
I'll boil water for coffee and probably corn soup, an instant soup that is thick, salty and sweet enough to perhaps be the perfect comfort food. I'm so addicted, I'm beginning to think they must mix crack into it or something. There may be some toast or rice or yogurt. Perhaps I'll splurge a little and buy a cinnamon roll on the way to work.
I'll leave the apartment around 10:30 am and if it's a clear day, see Fuji, covered in snow, the perfect cone of a mountain, looking down on me as I walk to work. I'll unlock the school, get the heaters going, the computer system up, change into work clothes, make myself another cup of coffee, and be ready to go just as the clock rolls to noon.
There will be a handful of classes scattered through out the day with plenty of time to read or study Japanese in between. Perhaps a student will bring cookies or a Christmas cake and there will be treats. Maybe I'll go and pick some up myself. The lobby will be filled with the same hip Christmas songs we've been listening to for a month. Perhaps I will remain anti-social in my room with better music playing. I'll finish at nine and meet some friends who live in the same building for a little foreigner Christmas dinner. Perhaps we will go to the near by Chinese restaurant and fill our selves with gyoza and noodles.
It will be a quiet day with few exclamations and little drama. And I am totally ok with that. There will be no boyfriend's parents to meet or make nice with. There will be no awkwardness of Christmas presents for people I don't know. There will be no pressure to make this day special and normal in a family that have had too many hard holiday seasons recently. No one is dying this year. It's been a while since I could say that. There will be no subtext of, I'll probably never see you again. I love you. There will be no tears to hide. This year Christmas will be a slightly boring normal day. It feels like a relief. Though my family are all spread out this year, we are all solidly on good paths. We are healthy and learning, and for that I am infinitely grateful.
The 27th starts a week long holiday and it will be filled with friends and bike rides along the rivers and the coast. On the 25th, my first pay check in over a year should be transfered in to my bank account. It's good to be working, mostly. I still dream of the jungle and returning to the park.
The plan seems to be continue working for Ye O' Eikaiwa till mid March. It'll give me a place to stay and enough time plan the next steps thoughtfully. I have landed what will hopefully turn out to be a good job. Though exact start date (late March or early April), money, vacations, details of what work I'll actually be doing, are still very much in the air, the general idea is that they are hiring me to create an English as a Second Language component to their "Super Science School." In an often typical Japanese way, they decided to first hire a good candidate and then make the program to match their talents. So, the program will be brand new and the science/EFL curriculum my own creation. I'm waiting to see the details before I sign on the dotted line, but it sounds really interesting and good fun. The interview was funny, we hardly talked about my resume or skills but rather talked about cycling and triathlons, my interest in Japanese language and culture and ended with them asking me what my favorite Japanese work was. お疲れ様, Otsukaresama, I answered. A word that has no real equivalent in English or Spanish. It's said at the end of the day to denote a, "thanks for your hard work" or "good night." You would say it to your coworkers at the end of the day or to your friends after a long hike. It means you've finished something together. Hmmm, they answered. That is a good word.
And with that, I got the job. It will be sunny with some clouds on Christmas. There will be a high of 12C.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanaka or Solstice to you all.
More than anything, I wish you a day of peace.
and the adventures continue....