Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork
With a sigh of relief I can finally say that all my paperwork I submitted over a month ago has been received by my consulate. (next time I need anything important I’m keeping track of the tracking numbers of things instead of losing them almost instantly - same with the confirmation number of my cashier’s check. … Typical Maia move to lose everything)
Now I have to start filling out paperwork to mail to Japan in the next weeks to apply for a Yakkan Shoumei to take over various medications. Wooo… paperwork
Earlier today, I found out that I will be going to Hiroshima-Ken! (For those are you that are unaware, it’s the orange shape on the map). I was not given a city yet, this means that I am most likely a prefecture JET, It also means I will most likely be teaching High School. I have to wait patiently for more information about which city I will be living in.
Note: Just because it’s Hiroshima-Ken doesn’t mean I’ll be living in the City of Hiroshima. It’s kind of like saying “You’re moving to New York, but you may or may not be living in New York City…”
Initially I have to honestly admit I was a little disappointed. However, I did request Hiroshima… I technically got what I asked for. I think it was just the initial shock and how it just seems to unfamiliar. I get like this whenever I move somewhere new. I just want to cling to the familiar. But I think this will be an awesome adventure. Plus, It’s Japan. There’s trains. I can always just take a weekend trip to Osaka, Kyoto or Tokyo (albeit it’s a little spendy). But Hiroshima really is seeming to be such a great placement.
To be honest, I’m really really starting to look forward to it. I’m really excited for the upcoming weeks and months where I’ll get more information and then start getting ready to leave!
HIROSHIMA-KEN, I’m coming for you.
“Congratulations! You have been placed in Hiroshima-ken, Hiroshima-ken”
I guess I’m moving to Hiroshima prefecture!
This is what I’ve resorted to…
edit: I’ve found out through some lurking that the prefectures are starting to get Info about the new ALTs as of (4.30.13) So it shouldn’t be too much longer!!
Today is May 1st!
All the paperwork is turned in. *Whew*, That’s a huge weight off my shoulders.
I’m leaving Minnesota (the state that I’ve called home for the last five years) two weeks before I depart for Japan to visit my family in California. Which means I have roughly 75 days left in Minnesota. Below is my bucket list of mainly Minneapolis/St. Paul things I want to get accomplished before I leave. So far, the list goes as follows…
• Go to a Twins game
Summit Brewery Tour
• Get a drink at the CC Club
• Saturday Brunch at the Triple Rock
• Road trip to the “biggest ball of twine”
• Road trip to Duluth… (just to say I’ve been there once.)
• Walk across the headwaters of the Mississippi
• Eat a Juicy Lucy at Matts Bar / 5-8 Club; compare and pick a favorite.
• Go to Sebastian Joe’s for ice cream
• Walk through the Sculpture Garden (take a picture with the cherry and the spoon)
• Visit the Como Zoo
• Eat at Chino Latino
• Eat at Cane’s Chicken (apparently it’s magical?)
• Complete the Blucy Challenge at the Blue Door Pub
MOA Sea Life
• Buy a T-shirt from the Electric Fetus
• See a Midnight movie a the Uptown Theater and get pancakes from the Uptown Diner after.
• Milkshakes and Fries at Mickey’s Diner
• One last Bubble Tea at The Tea Garden for Nostalgia Purposes
• Order the 310 at Quangs.
• Go to Lake Calhoun this summer at eat at the Tin Fish
• Go to a Movie at the Drive In
Taco Taxi… get some magical Tacos.
• Go Bowling at Memory Lanes
• Go to Psycho Suzi’s.
• Drink a Boot at Gasthof’s
• Ride the TMNT ride at Nickelodeon Universe at MOA
• Grab a slice of Cafe Latte cake
It also allows me to get the chance to photograph some Minnesota things to show my students… I think showing them what the Mall of America looks like and how it has an amusement park inside might be a huge hit.
100 days left until I depart for Japan.
—- where is time going?
Detroit received my paperwork today.
I have now officially confirmed that I still want to be an ALT. Now I get to play the waiting game until I find out where exactly I’m going.
(It’s really hard to resist the urge to start buying things for Japan when I honestly have no idea where I am going, what grade level I’ll be teaching, etc.)
All at once it hit me today-
I’ll probably be leaving Minnesota around July 15 to drive to North Carolina to hand over my car to my brother. Which means I have three months left to spend with Carl and all my Minnesota Friends before I leave Minneapolis. From North Carolina I’ll fly to San Francisco and hang out with my family until I leave in early August via the San Francisco embassy.
Everything is happening really fast. Is this real?
I’m already getting excited about being an ALT. I started thinking of what I could bring to introduce myself to my classes. For example…
- Stickers. (especially those America related, with English words or just all around cute…)
- Stamps and stamp pads
- Minnesota Twins related stuff.
- A map- I probably could do something cool with all the places I’ve lived or something
- Pennies (someone suggested on the forum that kids go nuts over these)
I also have to figure out where all my stuff is going. As much as I wish I could cart three crates of vinyl and huge stack of books I know there is no way that will happen. I really accumulated a lot of stuff over the last five years. Crap.
I’m just this weird mix of nervous/excited with some sad mixed in because I’ll be leaving the place I’ve happily called home for the last five years.
I JUST HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS OKAY?
Mailed Off The Paperwork Today!
I guess that means that I have officially accepted my position as an ALT for 2013-2014! I’m also quite pleased that I got everything together and mailed off it record time. Now comes the fun part… more waiting. Although it’s much more exciting this time just because then I’ll be able to answer more questions such as the infamous…
- Where in Japan?
- What grade level?
I feel like August is going to sneak up on me. I’m just so excited! ^^
So I guess I’m just going to start at the beginning…
As I’m starting to do all the paperwork to actually move to Japan and participate in JET, I’m starting to get the all too familiar question… WHY JAPAN?
Growing up, my family was blessed to be given the opportunity to move to Europe. Luckily what was supposed to be a three year stint in one country turned into a whirlwind tour that lasted a majority of my childhood and teenage years. I was lucky enough to live in Holland, Ireland and Germany, go to a vastly diverse International School and meet and make friends from all over the world. This experience opened up my world in ways I cannot even begin to explain and my love of traveling was born.
Japan has always interested me. Growing up I was exposed to Pokémon and Sailor Moon. I quickly became friends with Japanese students over these common interests and I guess you could say that really fueled my initial interest in Japanese language, food and pop culture. Eventually High School ended and I wanted to instantly move to Japan and start teaching English. However, after a series of semi random events I ended up moving to St. Paul, Minnesota to attend the University of St. Thomas for college.
My time in Minnesota was filled with a plethora of new experiences, such as the State Fairs, Cheese Curds, Learning to Drive, Freezing Winters, Mall of America, Ice Hockey, Biking and Lakes.
I recently graduated in December 2012 with a BA in English and a minor in 5-12 Education and Communications/Journalism.
JET originally came to me a few different ways. I first heard about it High School when I began looking into teach abroad programs. It turns out one of my teachers had done it and told me I’d be the perfect candidate for it and should consider it postgrad. It came back to me Sophomore year in a flyer in the Student Center, and then after studying abroad last summer in Japan for three weeks for a course on Intercultural Communications, I knew I was 100% sure I wanted to go to Japan and teach English.
ESL education is something I recently became very interested in and passionate about after student teaching in a ESL classroom where a majority of the students were refugees. I really like the idea of teaching my native language to people who have limited or no knowledge of it and watching them grow as they learned not only about American culture but the language. Classes were fun, and it was fun to motivate and encourage the students while assisting my host teacher.
I think the reason JET really appealed to me was because it is in a way a fusion of everything I love. It allows me to live abroad again and see what another part of the world is like while mixing in my love of Japanese culture and utilizing my passion for ESL education.
Last October, with a surge of motivation (even though I was in the process of getting ready to graduate), I gathered all the initial materials, wrote up a SOP, sent off a package and held my breath… and after a long daunting application process (which I’m sure I’ll write about later) here I am!
I cannot believe how lucky I was to get accepted (especially on my first try). It’s just starting to feel real.