Sunday, February 3
Today was a bit of a personal rollercoaster – I’m not sure why today was different, as opposed to any other day. I got up early (for a Sunday!) and went to Osaka International Church (OIC). I went to a Bible Study and then the Church service. The Bible Study was lead by a lady named Georgia and there were five other women. Georgia and her friend Beth (50’s ish) have been teaching at girl’s school’s in Japan for over 30 years! They were both American. There was another lady named Rosemary who was also American, and two Japanese women. There was also a girl named Shauna who I think was a bit younger than me. She’s Japanese American. The study was in English, but I think they all knew fluent Japanese except me. The church service was in English with Japanese translation available on a headset. Everyone was very friendly and I sat with Shauna – she introduced me to several people. A guy named Billy introduced himself to me – he was very funny and very chatty! He reminded me of the lady on The Incredibles – the one who makes the costumes for the Incredible Family. As a matter of fact, he was almost exactly like her – I think it’s possible that her character was modeled from him. He was a little short, had glasses just like her, and sounded exactly like her! He talked a lot and fast, and was a little bit difficult to understand, but mostly I was able to catch what he was saying. When I say he sounded exactly like her, though, I’m not exaggerating at all. Watch the movie. I also met a couple guys who have been in Japan for several years but are Filipino. Them, me, and Billy had a long and varied conversation about engineering and related things. People typically ask ‘What are you doing in Japan – teaching?’ because most North Americans come over and teach English. When I tell them that I am an intern, they seem surprised and impressed. When they ask if it’s in teaching or nursing or something, and I tell them I’m a Mechanical Engineering student, they almost always widen their eyes and take a little jump or step back, and make some comment about how I must be a smart woman. Then they proceed to ask about the lack of women in Engineering. It’s kind of funny – I know I’m in a respected field and am a minority in the field at that, but I always have to laugh at people’s reactions. Being in Church, hearing familiar songs, and feeling the warmth and camaraderie around me made me really homesick, though. To be honest, I’m not really a ‘cry-y’ person. I don’t really cry much. But since I’ve got to Japan, there’s definitely been more of that. I was close to tears several times today and was feeling extra homesick and lonely. After Church I hung around for some snacks and conversation, then took off to run some errands. I got to call home again, which was nice, then I went to get a gym pass at Cospa. That, it turns out, was quite the ordeal! Fortunately for me, most Japanese phones have Japanese-English dictionaries in them. The poor guy at Cospa (who was very patient, friendly, and helpful) spent two hours going through the application, rules, etc with me. He used his phone a lot, and pictures helped a lot. He didn’t seem particularly tortured by the task of helping me – we both laughed a lot throughout it – but I still felt sorry for him. Turns out that because I work for Osaka Gas (major company in Japan and the Osaka area), I actually get a better membership for cheaper! I was planning on getting a Monday-Friday evenings membership for 7350 Yen/month, but I actually get an any-day-any-time-any-class membership worth 9450 for 6300! I was pretty happy with that. I can’t wait to start getting regular exercise again. If I can figure out how to translate the class schedule, I may join some kind of class, too, it looks like they have quite the variety. After subjecting that poor guy to two hours of trying to speak English, I went to get some dinner. All in all, my day was successful – I went to Church, met some new people, and got a gym pass. I’m feeling a bit better as I write this, but am still quite homesick and kind of lonely. Lonely is a new thing for me – I am usually quite busy and generally in the company of at least one person, if not with a group of friends. I get internet on Friday and can’t wait! It will be great to be able to connect with everyone at home easier. I know this is a long post, but just quickly! I’d like to thank everyone again for reading my blog and sending the emails and notes of encouragement that you do. I rely on it a lot, and thoroughly enjoy and appreciate each one!