In or out?

I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself to document every single moment of my experience here. I think that is actually hindering my writing, as when I miss a day, it just makes me less inspired to catch up. And then when I see something very cool in the present, I’m like, “Well, I’ll just blog about that when I get to this point…3 months from now.”
It’s not just my blog. I’m also about a month behind in my personal journal. I documented almost every day of my experience in Switzerland, and I wanted to be as disciplined here. Granted the 1995 Swiss journal was pretty much all about how much I hate hiking and school, and the 2003 Swiss journal was pretty much how much I hated all my drug-addict ex-boyfriends I had left the country to escape. They do provide interesting insight into my mind-set, though, especially the 2003 one, where I document the hours spent playing in the sink and making faces at myself in the mirror because a month’s vacation alone in a foreign country seems a lot longer than you’d think.
But there’s no time for sink-playing or face-making here in Japan. In between trying to learn this language, trying to make sure all my kids learn English, and trying to see every sight in Japan before I leave, I am ironically leaving little time to commit it to paper. I also don’t like to cross things out or scribble in my personal journal, so it’s laden with entries like “Monday was boring. Tuesday, there was a typhoon. Oh, wait. I forgot. Monday, I discovered a new Periodic Element. I guess I was distracted because when I was supposed to be writing in my journal, I saw a dog with a puffy tail and chased it down the street instead. Here, puff! Hee hee!”
So in an attempt to catch myself up HERE, I will just summarize my last few months, and when I think of interesting parts I’ve forgotten to mention, I’ll bring them up then. Okay? Okay.
Well, we last left off with my interview. Honestly, my next few months were spent with my foot out the door at work. The secretary knew about my plans, because she had helped me fax in my transcript requests, but it was secret for everyone else. As is always the case with life, though, I started getting really close with my coworkers, and enjoying my time there. I learned to utilize lunch time, and I broke my self-imposed rule of “not complaining about the workplace because if you bitch enough, you will start to hate your life more than you thought, and let’s be honest, getting paid to watch TV and write down some words really isn’t a bad gig.”
So, yeah, I joined my friends’ Work Sucks attitude, and it made for some pretty entertaining conversations. Why is making fun of something so much more fun than just shutting up and taking it? Anyway, we got to be close right when I was about to leave. They joked about how I was getting to see the world and they were staying with the predictable grind, but the grass is always greener. After all, they still have such amenities as, oh, say, a doctor who knows the English word for the medicines they’re allergic to, for example.
I knew the day I was going to get the email saying whether I was accepted or not because of my furious page refreshing of the ALT forums I had joined. They were all abuzz because while the British and Australians knew long before us, a girl in Hawaii found out that she was accepted, and we knew we were not far behind. I ached to check my email on my phone from work, but I had built it up so much that I knew finding out on a three-inch screen would somehow be anticlimactic.
I raced home and got there before Justin, which was good, because I could prepare my poker face for him alone if I had been let down. For those of you who don’t have gmail, you should know that it displays the first line of every email in as much space as the window allows. When I checked my gmail, I was terrified that I would read the first line before the email opened and get the wrong impression. Leave it up to the most important email of my life to start off like “Congratulations! You did … (open email) NOT make it in! Now you can stay with your friends and family!” Or even “We’re sorry to inform you … (open email) that you have a lot of shit to get packed! You’re going to Japan!”
But they were very nice in their carriage returns, and I was able to read the whole email at once stating in terrifying legalese that I had “passed the second stage” and was selected as an ALT although “not guaranteed placement.” This had been discussed time and again on the forum, but I don’t know why they choose to word it so ambiguously. I suppose if someone from the embassy slipped and your information slid into a sewer grate you might not get placement, but hundreds of people who get stamped as “alternates” still get to go to Japan. I had to read the email over and over to make sure I was “shortlisted,” meaning I was really in.
After reading the email for the sixth or seventh time, I allowed myself to accept that I was really in and jumped up and down and did a dance, terrifying Scamp. Well, that’s not true. Oh, I still did the dance, but I didn’t allow myself to accept the truth until I called Justin, ordering him to come home as quickly as he could because I thought I had gotten in, but I couldn’t be sure.
When he got home and assured me, I called everyone I knew, and Justin and I went out for sushi (even though he had suggested Denny’s).
The next day at work I couldn’t contain my news. Even though I hate braggarts slightly more than I hate the word “braggart,” I had to share my excitement. They were very supportive and threw me a nice sushi party, and my bosses back in Pittsburgh said some really nice things to me before I left. I also got to have a kick ass Dr. Evil moment when I filled out my exit interview with the company and got to put: “New job’s salary: 3.5 MILLION yen!”
Wow, I really suck at not going off on tangents. So much for getting up to date. Okay, stay tuned for my next blog entry: the last 3 months summarized in one short paragraph!

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