Monday, July 23, 2007

Long-Awaited Update in English :)

Well, Gaizka has been pretty faithful with his entries, but it has been quite a few weeks since I've made a post. Sorry to you readers who are dying for more posts in English :)
I am still teaching English with Nova, the infamous language school here, and Gaizka is still job hunting. Sadly, the market for Spanish teachers is much lower than we expected. We usually occupy our time by watching movies on the computer and cooking at home, though we occasionally splurge and go to the movie theatre or go out to eat (going to the movies here is like a major even since a normal ticket costs about $18!! 'late shows' go for about $12). For the last two months we have been living in an apartment across from the place I moved into originally when I came here back in April. Think Shabby-Chic. Then convert that into a '70s Japanese twist...OK let's face it, it's definately on the shabby side with very little chic at all, but we are both happy since we have enough room for both of us, and also have a western style bed. Most Japanese apartments are so tiny, a guy like Gaizka, being 6 feet tall, wouldn't be able to turn around without bumping into the table/counter/cutting board. There is no oven, but a 2 burner 'stove' and we have a mini fridge. The toilet and bathtub (which is in very interesting round mauve and bule 70s style tiles) are in separate rooms, and we have no sink other than the kitchen one, so we've definately had to adjust to brushing our teeth amid dirty dishes (eewww)...I know, it sounds terrible, but really it's pretty good considering everything...
So, luckily, we will both be coming home to Sonora to welcome the birth of the newest McLaurin. We are really excited and greatful about this because for a while, I didn't think it would happen when I originally planned due to many factors including the fact that all the other teachers in my branch are taking their holidays during the exact same time, and our boss is very stressed. Despite all that, I did some hard thinking and finally mustered up the courage to tell the boss my situation. To my surprise, he was rather accomadating, and to make a long story short, I will be able to take about 10 days off to come home...We're leaving out of Tokyo and flying into San Francisco this Thursday the 26th and staying until August 5th. Yippee! We can't wait to see everyone, and also be with the Twins for their 10th birthday :)
I must say teaching here has it's ups and downs. The Nova group is a large corporation that has recently suffered from many customer complaints and lawsuits due to false promises made by Nova Staff regarding availability of lessons and scheduling. So far, we teachers have been relatively unaffected by this, but the reputation of the company is declining. And let's face it...a school that refers to the students as 'clients' isn't exactly what I was expecting when I took the job. I am much more interested in the experience of teaching English than the idea of working for a major corporation. Despite the overly-corporate attitude in the workplace, I have some great co-workers. We also have some great students, and some...well let's just say 'unfogettable' ones as well. Suffice it to say that my branch is located very near a mental institution. Ohh the stories I have...I will write more about them in the future...
Also, I recently attended my first wadiako (Japanese drum) class. That was very exciting, but also physically exhausting. I am still learning a lot about it, but so far, I know that there are many various size drums which are usually played with thick wooden sticks. The class I attended also used some traditional flutes for a music piece. There were about 50 people in the class, and only one person speaks English (he's half American), so I really don't understand a lot, but I was happy to see that they use western notes on the written music, which closely resembles the written drum music used in pipe bands (different from orchestral music). I look foward to attending more classes when I return from California, and I will keep you posted on that as well.
For now, we are still enjoying our time here in Japan, but we are also very excited to be making a visit home to California. We're looking foward to seeing as many of you as posible in the upcoming days!

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