Saturday, February 26, 2011

Stay On the Sunny Side

Hi all,

So as I sat on the train to NYC yesterday (drying out from the downpour that kept me hydroplaning on the way to the station), the thought arose "This could be the biggest interview of my life", followed by "I sure hope not!". Because, honestly, I hope that I'll never have to look back and be able to find a single moment that is able to define my entire life. Sure, if I get the JET position I'll definitely walk a much different path then if I don't. But, if it's meant to be, it's the only path I can be on. I'm honestly at a very good point of equilibrium, if I get this position, I think I could be up for a great new challenge. If I don't, there's obviously a different place that I'll just have to find my way to.

After a minute of misdirection, (and one of the grossest bathroom changing experiences Grand Central could offer), I was able to find my way to the cleverly hidden Japan Embassy on Park Ave. I was greeted at the desk where I became I67, led upstairs with a guard escort in a group, walked through a metal detector, handed back my penny, met some recent JET returns, listened to some very hyped-up other interviewees and fought a minute of inferiority. Both JET returnees insisted that you didn't have to know Japanese, but both had some. One of the guys had been there before and became smug, while the other whitened a shade and desperately looked for an in for the conversation. I had a moment, but I realized that I was there and had represented myself honestly, and was good enough so far. I went in, shook hands, and was utterly me. I gave an honest account of my experiences and opinions on why I wanted to go, and got to demonstrate my horrible drawing skills. Not the brightest moment, but it was still fine. When I found myself back in the lobby I wasn't terribly relieved, except that now I've done all that I can. They seem to know what they're looking for, and hopefully they'll be interested in what I have to offer.

Now I get to sit and wait.

For 6 weeks.

On the bright side, I'll probably catch up with seminar soon. Hopefully. It was a busy week. Monday found me balancing a garage door (light, pull down) on my shoulder, with a 70+ villager hanging off the handle. "Dolly" lives in my house, and is the doll that her name implies...she's got a great sense of humor but is always into something (getting up early doing harmless things like denuding a dying houseplant to the not-so-harmless putting a ribbon around the cat's neck and locking her in the bathroom. When another villager commented that Dolly had been up since 5 and we asked how she knew she answered that she'd come downstairs to use the bathroom. Why? Because the cat was shut in the upstairs bathroom. Now that we've discussed that there's no litter tray and we'd rather not have a repeat of the kitty poop in the sink incident, this may stop. We hope. Anyhow...story). She has a thing about closing doors, which is limited to 1 in the house. Apparently she always closes the neighbor's garage door. This isn't very safe as she has to walk on the icy path by their car, plus she's been requested not to do it. This was the first I'd heard of I picked my battle. She came back after her first attempt, but I stoically held my ground and repeated it was time to go to work and no, this wasn't our door to close. She went away a bit weepy, but was consoled by her friend.

When I returned home from lunch, she seemed to be in fine spirits. Wanting to make sure that she knew this wasn't personal, I asked "Are we ok about that door?"

Dolly leaned over, with a glint in her eye and said "Yes...I closed it! Heh heh heh" She cackled.
She got it on the way home.

It's a start.

She really keeps us smiling though, so it's easy not to take it personally.

 I walked up behind her and rubbed her shoulders (she's a hugger and very affectionate), and she suddenly proclaimed "Don't undress me!" And then burst into laughter...

What can you say to that?

Anyhow, a villager passed away this week. It was an interesting experience. I didn't know this one, (which is surprising, but they were sick for a long time since before I even came to the village). It wasn't a big surprise, and the end came painlessly. But a loss is always felt throughout the whole community, and I attended the funeral with Schmee and the house today because it felt like the right thing to do and to support the house. The funeral wasn't what I expected, but the music was beautiful and carried a sense of peace.

This week had quite a few ups and downs. Lots of nightmares filled with death and stressful situations, but also wonderful experiences. We were having dinner Thursday night and the phone rang. This is annoying, since no one is supposed to call during meals (although we'd been interrupted at breakfast and resthour that day, so it was becoming a trend. Baker answered it, and when I asked who it was he whispered the name. I wanted to know which one, since we have 2 in the village, albeit with a great height difference, so I pantomimed the question. Short or taller? He shook his head and gestured REALLY tall..."Don't be silly, that one is in Germany!"

Nope, he wasn't.

"HE NEVER SAID GOODBYE!"...yes, he did hear that on the phone.

I also said it again when he came to our living room and flung myself at him for a hug. His response?

"Well, I didn't say hello yet either..."


Anyhow, it was wonderful and unexpected to see him. But disappointing, because he'd come over to get a ride from Baker to go back to NYC that evening. BUT, he was in town until Monday, so I got to make plans for after my interview to get together for dinner.

So, after my interview (and another gross Grand Central bathroom-changing experience) we met up. I put him in charge of navigation and we went to Chinatown/Little Italy and walked around talking until we found a place. It was pretty authentic...forks were not provided, and Dusty laughed at my feeble chopsticks attempt. Something I'd work on if I get accepted by JET. Anyhow, I was the one laughing when he realized that the panfried noodles were going to prove a big challenge.

We managed.

So, that was such a nice surprise. This year is kind of a dud. We have a TON of couples, and we don't have an "organizer" like last year. Also, everyone isn't anywhere close to 21,  which limits our after-nine activities. It's much more cliquish. I think that part of the problem is that an American could step up and organize things, but we're all pretty over-committed and simply don't have the time. (Or possibly patience). Anyhow, it's late and I need my sleep. I took a later train back last night, and it took me an hour to get home, as the rain had turned to snow and ice. Most of the roads were fine, but I was (gratefully) behind 2 snow plows, and the last few miles were actually quite bad. But I made it.

And now I need sleep.
So, hope all is well,

PS. Might've watched "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" tonight with Schmee...

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