Saturday, June 19, 2010

bfg on hickeys and dis-ease

It has been some time since I posted but for an entire week I have been the home of some extensive bacterial bodies. Oh yes, I was sick and had the works ladies and gents: sore throat, sinus congestion, headaches, drowsiness and just that all-around miserable "woe-is-me" attitude that begs for attention and apple juice.

So far I have been three weeks off of work and it has been a busy time. Before Sickness knocked on my door I was on top of things: spending time with the nephew, reading for thesis, organizing home. Last week though I had to give up precious Luca time and now I am totally behind on my reading. URG! I hate myself right now.

Concerning Beloved Nephew, next week will probably be my last babysitting session. It makes me sad! but it can not be helped. Being behind on thesis means I need, must, am obliged by blood and law to focus on my goal: complete my Master's by December. Don't get me wrong, I will totally be seeing my family in July but not for 7 hours of playtime. There is one benefit from this... not seeing my grandma who lives downstairs from my sister. Right now, Nonnina is ridiculously mad at me and it looks like she won't get over this before I go. It saddens me especially since even before her passionate tirade against moi, one of my major concerns about leaving was her passing away. Nonnina is eighty-two years old after all so even though a world without her sausages and constant reminders that I have rotten ovaries is unimaginable, it will happen. And if it would happen in Japan well, for lack of a better way to write this, it would suck ass. So leaving on not-so-great terms with her doesn't sit well with me but in certain ways this drama, not just from her but a few others who have unfortunately preferred to wallow in their preconceived conclusions rather than in communicating, is one of the things I am happy to get away from. Lately, I haven't been able to shack off this sense of being under constant attack, not exactly sure why, and Japan where the only people I know are Miyamoto Musashi, my thesis advisor and some old students I tutored will be a definite reprieve from this stress.

I was not completly useless while sick. I finally bought a beautiful MacBook Pro 13" which I am typing away on now. Her name is Jingu, after the Japanese legendary Empress of Korean decent who led Japan into a new cultural wave of art and military success not to mention one of those chicks whose awesomeness was so massive they (ah-huh male historians) had to write about her.

The switch from PC to MAC should not go without mention. It has been difficult! All my short keys need to be relearned, all the names are off and though I love the fact that there is no Temporary Files folder that deletes when I Shut Down it hasn't sunk in yet and I often have a panic attack thinking I lost all the files I downloaded from my email but have not moved. I did something pretty nerdy though and purchased a year's worth of One To One Sessions with Apple. This is a service for $100 where, as often as I like during the year, I can be privatly tutored by an Apple Representative IN PERSON. Do you realize how amazing that is? Already, I have had three hours of tutoring and Monday not only do I get a private lesson on the Safari browser but will also partake in a 90 minute workshop on iPhoto. In this way, I have been hyper productive in getting to know Jingu so that in Japan I won't have problems. Oh! Best of all I still get this service in Japan - so how awesome is that?

I also bought my Camera Mishima (Lumix FH20 if you must know) and have been having fun with the bf's dog, Sasha, using her as my main model. It was the natural choice given that she is always around and I can count on her to listen to my pose commands. I plan on using my shots to practice iPhoto and iMovie on Jingu - not wasteful since I can totally see the bf devote a digital frame to this.

I will be using Mishima all this weekend since I will be spending the all of Saturday and Sunday at JET Orientation! Held at McGill's Thompson House, the Japanese Consulate hosts two days of lectures, workshops and Q&As for us departing JETs to help us prepare for living and working in Japan. Another example of just how impressed I have been with the organization since the beginning of this entire experience.

And with that comes the oh-so-juicy news...  I HAVE BEEN EMAILED BY MY PREDECESSOR Melissa M. Predecessor is the current teacher at the school I will be replacing. Can you believe it? Even now I am tearing up because no longer is it "some school somewhere in Shizuoka". Instead, its A school with AN apartment that is a twenty minute bike ride for each other. I am posting a map here that points out my apartment, recommended gym and conbini (convenience store), library and, best of all, Shizuoka University which is moments away from my school and very close to home. This will totally come in handy for my thesis!
View Shizuoka City in a larger map

The big relief is that my apartment is going to be partially subsidized - the school will be paying me a little less than half of my rent. This leave me with about $375 CND per month to pay - nothing unreasonable at all. I am still waiting for photos but it seems to be a cozy 2 1/2 from Melissa's description. This is a major concern for myself and most JETs for though we all have the same salary    whether or not our accommodations are paid for in part or full is up to the school we are contracted to. So you can understand the relief. It seems that most people in Shizuoka are actually housed in school/government complexes but since I will be situated to the South of Shizuoka City - which, did I mention, is right by the ocean? - where there are fewer JETs and government workers in general, I will be in a small apartment complex. God, even as I write this I am squealing with excitement.

July is filling up slowly. My SF Gals are making dinner before I go, I will be having coffee with some of my peers in Grad school, am hoping to get a Cousin Gathering at Bofinger, another gathering with my Japanese language class, Tiziana, my beloved roommate from Italy, will be leaving on the 8th, and of course am trying to pack in some dinner dates with the bf. Not to mention he and I are totally loving the hickeys on True Blood - talk about Grade-A TV.  I have said two Japan good-byes already - my friend Marisa went off to Middlebury College for the entire summer and I was able to see Robert J. Sawyer while he was in Montreal for a reading at Indigo. So the day is creeping ever closer and as the details come in it is become harder and harder to fathom that I am leaving. Soon the labels for these blogposts will go from "departure" to "Year1" and I am ever so anxious for that moment to arrive.

I promise to blog this weekend with details on Orientation. I have my notebook and Camera Mishima all ready for action. Am pretty certain the info will be very helpful for past and future JETs not to mention a great way for me to revise and process all the information.

bfg needs to go to bed!

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