It's a bright, chilly, windy Sunday afternoon in Ami. Yesterday I played Santa Claus for a group of Japanese kids who take private English lessons at the company that hired me and placed me in the Edosaki school system. I don't teach many private classes, usually only to cover for friends who are sick, but I helped out for the Christmas party by being Santa. The kids were really cute. Beth took pictures. When I get them from her, I'll post some, although the suit really was cheap, which annoyed me. I think if you're going to have someone dress up as Santa, you should really have a nice suit for them to wear, not some felt thing bought at a hyaku yen store (dollar store). But the kids didn't care. They seemed to love it once the initial Santa fear wore off when I appeared. When they finally started to come up to me and sit on my lap to take pictures, I'd ask them in Japanese what they wanted for Christmas and they'd tell me (usually a game of some sort or a toy, although one boy said he wanted money) and then I'd tell them I'd bring it. The suit was so awful I thought they'd never believe I was Santa, but actually the little ones must have believed, because when I told a couple of little boys I'd bring them what they wanted, they'd ask, "Itsu?" When? I said on the 25th of December, and they'd say, "okay", nod, climb off my lap and go a few feet away to where their other friends huddled and say, "He said the 25th he'll bring it, and they'd all smile and say, "All right!" Well, in Japanese.
Then my company had it's Christmas karaoke party, and after that I went with Andrea and Erin, two other local foreign teachers, to Shimodatte, where we picked Jody up from her friends' place and took her to karaoke for her birthday, since I missed her surprise birthday party the previous night due to having to work for my company by meeting a new business they'd contracted to teach English for and needed as many employees as possible to go meet the client and their employees. I felt bad, and Katie, who was supposed to go too, suddenly got really sick and couldn't go either, so Jody was without a show of her friends in Ami, who do love her but were crushed with illness and unexpected employer obligations at the last minute. Hopefully she had a good time at karaoke. I love that girl.
Anyway, today I'm going to take a walk and feel the wind on my face and look at everything on this bright sunny day, chilled as it is, and think about going home. I have various fears of returning to America, mostly of not being able to find satisfying work in a town I enjoy living in, near at least a small group of like-minded friends, but I'm not sure I can really do anything about those worries until I actually get back home. But I wanted to state, for the record, that I'll be back in April most likely, towards the middle, and if you come across anything someone like me might like to do, in a place I might like to live, let me know. Maybe at some point I'll post a resume online even. My skills sort of range all over the place, from academic teaching to ESL teaching, some editing and reviewing work for publishers, to office organizing. Which means, hmm, I'm not sure. I feel like there's no particular kind of work for me back home. And while I have rarely made the choice to live on the well-trod path in life, I do wish sometimes that finding satisfying work in America wasn't such a mystery to me.