Tuesday, November 23, 2010

You ate WHAT?!

                My dear family and friends, greetings from across the pond! I apologize for not starting a blog or sending out any emails since I’ve been here. I have been so incredibly busy almost every second of every day! But, I have been keeping track of everything with a personal journal so I don’t forget anything and I’m able to send out these updates.
                To start with, my plane ride was long and uneventful but good nonetheless. God kept hitting me with these little blessings throughout my trip! The best of them all, though, was the fact that the seat next to me on the plane was empty, thus allowing me to stretch out my long Johnson-style legs. I can’t imagine what 13 hours in such cramped seats would have been like if someone were sitting next to me! Praise God!
                When I arrived in Japan, I was overwhelmed with such an adaption to the culture! I loved everything about it, though. The people, the places, everything! I met many members of the team here, which was really cool for me seeing how I’d only ever been in contact with them before by email. The area here is so incredibly beautiful! I love taking walks or riding a bike around because there is always something beautiful to see!

I arrived when the school I am working at now (CCSI) was having their fall break, so I had about a week to adjust and be orientated to the culture and school its self. Along with orientation, I had time to do some sight-seeing over break. One of the other interns here took me to a festival at a college in Chiba. It was so neat! It was a lot like a festival I went to in DC one time, only here the students were screaming at us from every angle, waving posters and asking us to buy their merchandise. I loved it! It was definitely different from anything I was used to.
My first Sunday here, I ended up going to two different church services – one in Oyumino, and another in Tokyo. It’s so awesome hearing the Word in different languages, even if I don’t understand it. Thankfully both services had translations, but I still enjoy hearing it in Japanese. Someday soon I hope to be fluent in Japanese! *she says with a dreamy far-off look*
My first day of school went wonderfully! The staff and students were very welcoming and helpful as I blubbered around, not quite sure what I was doing. Another of God’s little blessings showed itself to me in the form of my lack of nervousness that first day. I did and continue to feel very comfortable there! I can definitely feel the prayers coming from so many different areas around the world!
                I finally have a set schedule at school which is incredibly nice! My first week there, I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to figure out where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing. Now that I have a set schedule, I’m able to prepare myself mentally and emotionally for the days and weeks ahead. I am at CCSI from 8am to around 4 or 5pm on Tuesday-Friday. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I teach English to the younger kids in the school and algebra II and history or language arts to the 9th-10th graders. On Thursday and Friday, I teach algebra I and history to the 7th graders and I tutor two Japanese boys with English. The free periods I have at the school are spent grading, planning lessons, reading, and/or doing my personal devotions. At 8 o’clock on every school morning, the teachers meet for half an hour to read through the Psalms together. The Psalms have always been incredibly encouraging to me, and I feel like that’s the perfect way to start the school day. I’m very thankful that we have time set aside for this.
Recently we had a bazaar to raise money for the school. It was held at the school, and there were so many things for sale and games to play. It took a lot of work to make it all happen, but thankfully we raised a lot of money and everything has been restored to its former beauty! (As a matter of fact, the school has been neatly organized and made prettier because of the bazaar!)
                Since I’ve been here, I’ve met SO many people! My journal is full of so many random names because I am absolutely dreadful at remembering them! Thankfully I’ve almost mastered the names of all of my students. ;-) I am surrounded by so many wonderful people here! The people I am staying with are absolutely amazing! I’ve truly been blessed with this family I’ve been pulled into. One of the other interns here is staying in the same house as I am, and she is awesome! We’re the same age and share a lot of the same interests, so it’s easy to get along with one another, which is another blessing because we see each other every day. :-)
Another intern here, who is also the same age as us, is living in Tokyo while she is here, so the intern I’m living with and I go and visit her every weekend because she is leaving in December and we want to spend as much time together before she leaves. We’ve done a lot of different things in Tokyo so far including going to the zoo, an aquarium, and just walking around. One night we walked down by the river and watched different party boats sail past. They were beautiful! The lights of the city are stunning! I am awed every time I go to Tokyo. 

I am becoming giddy as Christmas comes closer every day and lights and decorations are starting to be hung everywhere. I love everything about Christmas. It’s my favorite time of the year! At the school, we’re getting all prepared for our living nativity. In practice the other day I filled in as the role of Mary (or “Maria” as she is called here.) I had a lot of fun, and the kids seemed to enjoy it as well. There is lots of work to be done in preparing for the nativity. Prayer that everything would be done in a quick manner and nothing would go wrong and that no one would get sick would be absolutely wonderful!
One of the most interesting things to adapt to here has been the food. I’ve loved almost everything I’ve tried, which is amazing when you consider the fact that in America I hated white rice and fish. Well, I was a big girl and decided to suck it up and adapt! It turns out that the Japanese rice is far superior to the white rice I detested back home! I love it here! To the disbelief of many people I’m sure, I tried sushi this morning for the first time… and enjoyed it! WOW!!! I think God is changing my taste buds! I’ve also eaten octopus! Yes, yes, I’ve very proud of myself! Along with these things I would have instantly dismissed in America, I’ve tried other things like monja yaki, bo pans (LOVE THOSE!!!), Japanese curry, and obento. These are not the only things I eat here. There has been an amazing supply of pizza I’ve found in various places, spaghetti, ravioli, soup, casseroles, and other normal American-type foods. Things definitely taste different here, including Coca-Cola. Chips here taste sweet! Cheetos definitely do NOT taste like Cheetos! The other interns and I have been on a Dr. Pepper kick for quite some time, so we have found the nearest vending machines to meet these late-night cravings.

A few days ago someone asked me what I love about Japan specifically. I love the people here, the language, the heated toilet seats, the singing appliances (TRUE STORY! They chime whenever anything is done cooking/cleaning/boiling/heating/whatever!) I love how cute everything is! There are cartoons and cute mannerisms of people. I love that everyone is nice to you! I LOVE THE BABIES/KIDS!!! THEY ARE THE ADORABLEST OF THE ADORABLES!!!! I love how helpful this team is. I love being able to help them in whatever way I can. I love the train system. I love people watching. I love my bed warmer (yutanpo.) I love it all!
Many people have been asking me how they can be praying for me specifically, and I’m sorry I have not responded to many of you. But here are a few things that I really would appreciate prayer for:
(1) The first group of younger kids that I am teaching English to is very difficult to communicate with because they are just learning to speak English, so a majority of what is said in the classroom is in Japanese, which I do not understand. This can be very frustrating to me, seeing how I really want and need to communicate with these kids, especially because it is English class. Please pray that I would be able to communicate with them, and that they would understand me and I them.
(2) That I would make the time to have my personal devotions. It’s easy for me to think, “Well, I’m incredibly busy and don’t have the time,” which is definitely the wrong mindset! Pray that I would keep up with my personal walk with my heavenly Father!
(3) That I would be an encouragement to the rest of the team here as there is a lot of stress, pressure, time restraints, and many other emotionally draining things.
                There is so much that has happened since I’ve been here, and I’m thankful to God for it all, because good or bad, I know He’s doing all of this as part of His plan. I hope this is a good first update, and I’m sorry it’s been so long in the making! I appreciate all of the encouraging emails and the prayers from you all, and I will try to keep you updated as to what crazy adventures I endeavor.

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.” – Psalm 28:7


  1. Great update, sweetie! I love how you write. I love that you're having such a great time. I love that the Lord is blessing you. The pictures are wonderful. Can't wait to hear more. Our prayers are with you everyday along with our hearts. Love you bunches.

  2. I love the post! Especially the pictures! (I think the Dr. Pepper one is my favorite.) =)