I had never planned to.
That is, I had come to Japan three years ago on the JET programme, intending to find something after the program that would allow me to remain in Japan at least part time for at least a few more years, if not forever.
Yet despite 27 job applications, 3 skype/phone interviews and 2 in person interviews, it doesn`t seem that I will be able to, as I was unable to get any of those jobs. The worst part is when the person interviewing me would say something along the lines of “You seem like a really nice person, you shouldn`t have trouble finding a job. I`m sure there are other schools out there who would want to hire you.”
Is it just me? That seems quite the odd thing to say. And I heard it more than once. 🙁
Maybe I didn`t try hard enough. I should have applied to more jobs, maybe branched out more in types. Tried harder to not be myself at interviews, maybe. Maybe I`m not actually meant to stay in Japan, much as I love it.
Whatever the reason, it looks like I have to go back to America at the beginning of August.
I`m starting to be resigned to it, though you wouldn`t know it by how little I`ve packed or actually done towards moving so far. (Although I have looked into international moving companies and so far the quotes I`ve gotten are around $2,500 ^^;; For that, even if rent was $500 a month, I could just get another apartment here to hold the stuff for five months >.> )
I know I`m mistaken about it, but there`s somehow the feeling that if I wait to pack, reality will change. I know that it won`t, but hopes are weird things.
Besides, packing is a pain. Doing paperwork necessary to leave is a pain. Trying to sell/get rid of things is a pain. Thinking about leaving is a pain and leaves a lump in my throat so I don`t want to think about it.
It`s not as if there aren`t things to look forward to. Seeing friends and family that I last saw in December or even longer ago. Maybe going places that I have not had a chance to visit in three years. Possibly getting an apartment with a friend so we can both move out of our families` houses.
one big problem is job.
The only job I have ever had that I never once woken up dreading to go to was the one that I currently have. Dread the early hour that school starts? Sure. Sometimes dread what I had to do for a particular class or observation lesson? Of course, especially if I wasn`t feeling good that day. But for the job as a whole, I have not once, in three years, woken up thinking `I don`t want to go today`. In the 19 years I`ve been working at an actual job (babysitting doesn`t count) this is the only job that I`ve felt that way about.
I know for absolute certain that I do NOT want to go back into retail. I did ten years of that, and that is quite enough. American customers are often not the best of people, being very entitled, and thinking that everything has to go their way or the business is stupid. (Sadly, I may have even acted like that once or twice, though I can say I have never yelled at a sales associate since I have been on the receiving end; and I would not have acted like that once I started working retail, which was way back when I was 14.) I`ve had enough of dealing with people like that. I know I`ll still run into them, but it would be nice to not have to give into them.
I hadn`t realized at first, but another thing I don`t really want to do is substitute teaching. It did give me a very big boost experience wise before, but there were several issues. None of which had to do with the teachers, and even mostly not with the administration.
It was the rules that the teachers had to follow, and then, the kids themselves. The kids (at least in the school system I was working in before) are getting worse and worse behavior wise, and as a teacher–especially as a substitute teacher–there is little to nothing that you can do about it. Even if punishments are enacted in school, they are either small, or aren`t actually punishments, (kids allowed to play on the computer in the principal`s office after misbehaving in class, for example) and very few families follow through at home, making it not work anyway. And then the kids who were well-behaved see the other kids getting away with anything and getting rewarded for bad behavior, so they start to act out too. I`m tired of that. I know several psychological reasons behind it, whether or not the kids also have the added addition of special needs stuff, but that doesn`t make it any easier to deal with.
The other thing about subbing that I don`t want to go back to is not knowing when or if there will be a call that day. Being constantly on call is tiring, and I had started dreading getting those calls, by the time I came to Japan. If there was a permanent subbing position in preschool or elementary school, I might take it. But I`m not sure I could go back to regular subbing. (Even though I feel bad that the there are very few subs. But there`s a few reasons for that, you know).
I remember, eight years ago, the first time I went back to the US from Japan, with no idea of when I would come to Japan again. That time, it felt like I was being forced into something I had outgrown. Not family and friends, of course. But more, lifestyle and place. I had outgrown that way of living, and maybe that place, and coming back had felt like I was being squished back into it, when I didn`t fit anymore. Not exactly a comfortable feeling.
I can`t help but wonder if I will experience that again, and I am not looking forward to it…if I felt like that after only three months, what will it be like after three years…?
No matter what, I can`t leave Japan completely, I think. When I have enough money saved, I want to get an apartment or something here, even if I only come for three months every year (that`s how long the tourist visa is). That part I have yet to figure out completely, but that`s my current plan.
Because…I`ve been thinking about this for a while. Even if a job pops up last minute in Japan (not likely, but until I actually leave there can be hope), I feel like choosing Japan or choosing to go back…neither is the right choice. And when you`re faced with a choice where both options feel a little wrong, how do you make it work?
Probably my ideal scenario would be somehow obtaining a visa where I could live in Japan for 6 months, then near my family in America for 6 months every year. That would be perfect. Not sure how I can do that, but I am determined to somehow try.
And if that means I have to sell/get rid of most of my stuff so that I can go back to America at the moment, fine.
You can`t get rid of me that easily, Japan. I`ll be back.