Hi! How was your weekend? :)
I spent my weekend wishing I were either:
b. incapable of feeling pain
c. no longer alive
I don't know what I did (or ate) to deserve such horrible punishment, but I most definitely suffered. And suffered. And suffered.
I am telling you this not to elicit pity (though I wouldn't turn it away... ;)), but to remark on some challenges of living here.
People have asked me if I have a hard time with this adventure. Some must think I am crazy for just taking off after college to move to another country where I know no one, don't speak the language, and don't fully grasp the culture. Maybe I am. :)
Overall, though, I would say that it hasn't been that difficult. One of the best things about the JET program is the support system, and because of that, I have never felt completely alone or helpless.
However, I have to say that the worst thing about living alone in a foreign country, thousands of miles away from your family is definitely sickness. Without a doubt.
Normally, my JET family is here and ready to help me through the rough patches. In fact, the past few times I have been sick, other JETs have been superheroes for me, bringing me medicine and food and comfort. But this time... this time was different.
You see, my luck this weekend was just. awful. Not only were most of the JETs gone on a trip to another island (including most of the JETs who I feel closest to), but the JETs who were around were almost all unavailable or unreachable in some way. So, I was stranded.
At a Family Mart convenience store. 3o-plus miles from my home. Unable to walk far without becoming terribly ill, let alone drive... in a rainstorm.
Eventually, I made it home, and the next day I was lucky (?) enough to get sick at church (I thought I was better...) where my pastor and his wife could care for me and take me home, but this weekend was a reminder that there really are challenges to this experience. Somedays I am challenged by being unable to order a decent cheeseburger, somedays by feeling unable to really connect with people, somedays by having to go to the ATM before it closes at night (WHY do ATMs CLOSE??), and somedays by being unable to go to an English speaking hospital because the only one on the island is refusing new patients.
I doubt that I will ever look back and think this experience wasn't mostly positive, but it isn't all sushi and "kawaii" (cute) culture, either.
p.s. I can report that today I feel much better, and though I haven't tested my stomach with more than crackers and a little oatmeal, I've made it through a full day of teaching without any problems. :)