It’s time for another monthly check in. November brought several changes to Mitake. I rang in my 23rd birthday, not too much jazz or anything. Mitake has been experiencing its weather woes, with lows occasionally dipping into the high 30’s or low 40’s, but daytime highs are still in the high 50’s and low 60’s. Although the weather may sound nice, it really has been a lesson in layering. Every morning, I reluctantly walk out of my only heated room into the mid 50’s temperature of my entire apartment. Yes, we don’t have insulation here or central heat. When you combine low 50’s in the morning and every possible window open at school, you learn very quickly what layers work best. Honestly, it probably isn’t the most flattering look (at the moment I have on a tank top, tee shirt, button up shirt, and sweater) but it does the job. Now that it’s December, I can look forward to the use of heaters in school! Although it still is fairly nice weather, I hear that January and February are the months I’m really going to dislike.
I’m sorry to say that I don’t have a lot of cool stories to tell you. I made some day trips to towns in my prefecture or just outside of it. I’ve been more adventurous with driving (I even hit 80km/hr with my car, it was shaking…about 50mph I believe). But that’s about it.
At school, I’ve been making my rotations, I’m currently starting my Junior High School rotation and I’m very excited to give Christmas presentations. Last rotation I made a poster about Thanksgiving in America for the largest JHS (it was pretty cool, I must say). I’m happy to say that the JHS students are warming up to me, especially the girls, which is shocking because they are incredibly quiet in class. I’ve learned that the occasional joke or me making a mistake in Japanese is just what they need to try a little harder in class. At Elementary School, I’ve taught things like colors, numbers, rock-paper-scissors, and more complicated subjects like directions (we played simon says), location names (department store, school, police box…no, not police station), world locations and maps, and how to tell time. I’ve definitely got a better hang of things, which is good since I have been teaching now for 3 months! I’ve had some tough days at school, but generally there isn’t much that recess can’t fix, lots of tag and basketball. I’m really coming to like the balance between JHS and ES because it gives me a little change of pace, which is good for the students and me!
But here we are in December. And what I’m most excited about is Christmas vacation! I didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving; so instead, I plan on making Christmas twice as special. As of now, I have less than 3 weeks until I’m in Hawaii and trust me, those days can’t go by fast enough.