Sunday, June 19, 2011

Similar but different.

It's interesting how much has changed, and how much is still the same, when I compare my life now to how it was six months ago.

In December 2011, I:

1. Submitted my application to the JET programme. I'd known people who'd done it, secured excellent references, and highlighted my experience working in multicultural partnerships, literacy programmes in schools and libraries, and a far-above-average outgoing personality and ability in public presentation to diverse audiences. I was pretty confident.

2. Put in my notice at my high school, where I worked as the head of library services, that I would not be renewing my 1-year contract. I felt that it would be unprofessional to take up a new contract, only to leave six months in. Plus, the school principal was the provider of one of my references.

3. Agreed with my partner S that this was something that we'd do together, keeping our fingers crossed that the JET programme does all it can to send couples together in their placements.

4. Panicked a little about my impending unemployment for the following six months, but trusted that I'd be able to pick up work easily, as I have done in similar situations in the past.

5. Dreaded the Melbourne Summer.

Now, six months later, I:

1. Am going to Japan in August. My application was rejected without so much as an explanation or even an interview. I reserve the right to toe the line between arrogant indignation and graceful tenseness when it comes to this issue. However, I am going anyway. The plane tickets have been bought, now that we know our destination, and the die is cast.

2. I have just given my housemates six weeks notice that I'll be moving out. I've already done some preliminary packing, and slowing weeding out my books and clothes that I can pass on to the salvos. It's suddenly starting to feel very real.

3. S has been officially given her destination (which we had already known for weeks) and we'll be living together in the inaka. This is a serious adventure together, and it's awesome to have such a wonderful person to make this trip with.

4. I've managed to work steadily for the past six months, juggling casual work back at my school, and at a public library service. All the perks of permanent work, but without the mandatory 8am starts every day, or paid leave. However, I am somewhat apprehensive about my employment once we get to Japan. I've already contacted numerous agencies, but I suspect the fact that I already have a designated place that I'll be residing at is working against me. I'm also concerned about the lack of Japanese language. Although no Japanese language is required to be a JET ALT, most other work seems to require basic Japanese. Of which I do not possess.

5. It's bitterly cold in Melbourne. Which I don't mind. I am more apprehensive about Japanese humidity. Humidity is one of the things I hate most in the world, along with spiders and social injustice (not in that order).

I wonder how different my life will be another six months from now.