Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A bit of the ups and a bit of the downs

Ok, so as most of you know, Ian and I began our first week of 'real' lessons on Saturday. I know he has told you a bit of what we do, but I figured I would elaborate a little.
First off, Nova is HUGE. Seriously, it's like the Starbucks of the English schools. There is one on every corner. Take for example our training locations. Regular training and kids training were done at two different schools, however both the schools were about a block away from one another (on opposite ends of the train station really). With this in mind, you would think that Nova may have been able to place people in branches that are within a reasonable distance from the instructors homes.

You would think.

In total I have about a 3 hour commute to and from work. I get to ride my bike to one station, get on the longest subway line, ride it right to the end (on the side of the city absolutely the farthest from us), and then I get to walk 15 minutes up a hill in heels all while being smothered by a blanket of humidity that could make Florida feel dry.

But then again, there is the upside that I actually get the privlidge of working at THREE branches in total! Lucky me....they are all so small and so close together that they like to move the employees around all the time. And guess what? One of my branches doesn't even have a washroom! I get to go outside, up some stairs into another building, through an arcade, and down a hall, where the washrooms are mere holes in the ground! Woo hoo!!! I have yet to be at my 3rd school (that will be my Wed. location), but I will be sure to let you know of any pleasant suprises!!

Ahhh...yeah I needed to rant about that for a bit. I am trying not to be negative about the job but it gets frustrating. The work itself is something an English speaking Monkey could do, and gets quite mind numbing. I just need to find some hobbies that require a bit more high level functioning and then that will be fine. The good part is that we are here to have fun and to sightsee and have adventures, and working this kind of job won't get in the way of that. Its definitly a 'leave it at work' kind of job. It is disappointing however that since my branches are so small I am never working with more than 1 person. So in total, in a 5 day week, I will work with 5 people at most. I was really hoping to have a chance to interact with fellow workers and make some friends, but when its only 2 of you, and you finish, start and break at different times, that rarely leaves any space for chit-chat.

The good thing is that our apartment is chalk-full of friendly people whom I could and have easily spent time with. The living arrangment really helps to level the work arrangment a bit. Also, the guy we have been training with is super friendly and we all have hung out a bit. It's nice being able to talk to someone in our exact position. He came over at the same time as us so he knows exactly what we are going through.

And really, I can't be all negative about my work - though the walk is a pain, since it is so far out of the city it is quite a bit greener, and, yes - there is a forest filled with chattering monkeys across from my branch. That was pretty awesome. I also get to walk past a small temple, which was a nice suprise, as it is actually the first I have encounted in what I thought was a temple rich country. And work really isn't stressful. Since we don't have many students I often end up with 'empty lessons' where I have no students, but still get paid. So I figure as long as I can keep a good book on me at all times, I should be fine.

All in all, it's not really as bad as I may have made it sound. It is just a strange adjustment and the lack of real food has probably made me more irritable that I should be. I still think this is awesome and I am very glad we came. Once we start seeing some of this money we are making things will improve drastically, as we will be able to begin some serious sightseeing. I believe our first venture will be to Kyoto - probably in mid October. As for now, it's grocery searching and language learning (for them AND us!).
I know this was a heavy 'text' post, so I promise some eye-candy for you all next time!! Pictures Galore!!

I miss you all!

Love Tara


Justin said...

Ian- Yeah, while travelling I've had some people ask me if I lived in an igloo, so these people seem smarter than the average. You should bring them chocolate as a reward for their keen knowledge of the world.

Tara-You need to go into the chattering monkey forest and capture a monkey. You can train it and make it your monkey friend, and then carry him around on your shoulder. Ian, you should do the same. As soon as I'm out there I plan on doing that, and then eventually when we meet, we can have monkey wars. Anyone else who's going be out there should do the same. I'm not exactly sure how the wars are going to go down yet, but anything's possible with monkeys. Also, after the wars, we can have monkey tea parties. I say this because I know how much you like tea parties Tara. Just don't make the water to hot cause monkeys and scalding water don't often mix well.

Keep having a good time, and don't let the work stress you out too much, and wear comfortable shoes on that walk to work.

EMom said...

Yes. Justin the monkey capturing IS an interesting idea.... I see where your mind wanders at 2 a.m.
Tara, hang in there...so many changes all at once. At least you won't have to get embroiled in office politics! Maybe the Japanese lessons will give you a chance to meet people.

Meaghan said...

that sounds like quite the commute :P but Justin's idea was smart (noo not the monkey one, although I am intrigued by that idea as well). you should definately change your shoes for the journey. At least you're getting to see a lot of the city though :)
and the holes.. well, they sound.. fun? no.. maybe not fun. you know though.. hahah

your friends in Japan said...

Justin - Brilliant monkey plan. Of course, you got the rabies shot so you don't have to worry about being bit by one in the midst of the war. I however, have yet to get that shot. So until then I think I will have to keep a good 10 paces between me and the monkey jungle. Thanks for the suggestion though!
And as for the shoe thing...yeahhhh...I really need to wear my runners and carry my dress shoes. Gooood plan.

Janet - yeah, no office politics is most certainly a plus. I have no patience for that stuff anyways, so it won't be missed!

Meaghan - Yeah best to stay away from the monkey wars for now. And the holes - no...not really fun at all. But now I know why stores advertise mostly by handing out free tissue packets on the street!! They sure come in handy!

Meaghan said...

hahahha thats the best advertising scheme ever invented!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Guys!
Sorry it's been so long since anyone from S-bucks has written but don't think we've forgotten you guys...every other day, someone says "I miss Tara and Ian"...and then we all sigh and look down (it's all very depressing!) And ps. the monkey training is a great idea although I think his/her developed skills would prove more useful teaching the stupid lessons you guys have to do thus leaving you guys more time to explore! It's brilliant, I say, brilliant! Anywho, have fun and keep your chins up about teaching...it'll build character? That's all I've got. Peace out, buds!

Dad said...

Jusin, no no no monkey busines please...however monkey wrenches do come in handy....hey hey hey were the monkies, people say we monkey around.....Tara I am gkad you found a use for all thise free tissues....I sent you a coupl eod emails.....anu reply? We are going to Blues Town for mom's BD (Chicago), wish you an M could join us. Wear comfy sjoes, in New Yor and Toronto th eLadies wear running shoes while walking from transport to office, heels in bag...try ther same thing. I miss you and love you.

your friends in Japan said...

Justin - Thanks for the tips! With your guidance, I'm sure we'll fit right in here.

Melissa - thanks for including me in the being-missed. I'm flattered, since I was just getting to know most of you there.


your friends in Japan said...

Melissa - I MISS STARBUCKS!!!!
This job pays a ton better, but D&R was soooo much more fun :(

Anonymous said...

hi tara&ian watched your website
pictures are lovely talked to mom last week she is good miss you a lot
love aunt nell uncle bill