Monday, April 10, 2017

(tip: read the *notes later!)

Well here I am again, only 18 months after the last entry! I thought I might have a go at this blogging thing again.

It's Monday night. I'm drinking wine. This is so unusual for a Monday night!! For years, I've been either working, or taking Erica to karate on Monday nights.* But a night free isn't enough, I need to not have any commitments the next day to truly relax - aaaand I don't have any work tomorrow!**

That's a lot more disconcerting than I'm making it sound. The life of a freelance teacher has its freedoms, and its anxieties. I like not being beholden to any one organization, so that if I lose one contract I don't lose it all, but it leaves me vulnerable to random fluctuations, and this April, my luck ran short. I've lost one major contract and am 3-4 hours down on another.

But I remain focussed on silver linings, and intend to use my time to FINISH that bloody spring cleaning***, and work towards different types of jobs more suited to my natural talents. I found the name and address of that calligraphy teacher I serendipitously sat next to at the Beaujolais Nouveau party a few years ago. It's a sign. I want to write more. And create. Watch this space.****

But in more practical terms, the timing is terrible for losing hours. Lena is in New Zealand at high school. She's boarding, and we have to pay those fees as well as her flights home. I took her to NZ at the end of January, and tore my heart out leaving her there. But she will be home in exactly a week from now! I'm so excited!*****

Amy just started her second year of high school******, and Erica entered the 4th grade*******. Kanji is busy at work and PTA********.

Well that brings me to the bottom of another glass of wine, so I shall go and top up, and read some old blogs, I'll leave you to ponder the details in the notes below.

* Erica finally quit this January, a whole year after she really should have, but she wanted to hang on until she had a victory *just once* and she did, she won her first-round match at a meet last year, her only recorded win apart from two years ago, when her opponent didn't turn up! Then Baachan paid the whole year in advance, so we kind of had to keep going, even though she was losing interest, and my work and K's meetings kept her from going as often as she needed to to improve. The coach also dropped the Thursday practice, so she was only going 1-2 times a month. My Monday evening class, which started as a council-operated night class, switched to a 'club' last year, and this year we moved to a daytime slot. It was so good today! Everyone was so genki! It was much better than evening!

** I lost the Yaskawa contract unfortunately, I'm going to miss that pay-check! They said they just didn't need, or have time for, English lessons any more, nothing personal, but you always worry that it was you anyway. My other class on Tuesday was a kindy in Usa, and I thought I was continuing that this year, but there was a mix up in the schedule, and it's the Friday kindy in Buzen I'm continuing. That's four hours less a month... but the Usa one also had entire months off, while the Buzen one is almost continuous, so maybe that's better in the long run. I ALSO lost two evening classes at the juku and haven't heard anything yet about the company class I do through that juku, but am hoping that turns up.

*** I am actually closer to this than I have ever been! At this point, I actually know where everything is, and almost have everything where I want it. I've done phase one, which was throwing out a lot of stuff and moving things to their new location. I'm in phase two now, which is going back over each room, cleaning and tidying. Phase three will be going back over each room again, and deep declutter/organizing - finally getting things like the photos, memorabilia, and computers sorted and organized and trimmed and tossed!

**** AFWJ! I've taken on the Kyushu Rep role this year, so I'm back on the Board. I hope it's fun! We're organizing a convention in Fukuoka next year, I'm on that committee too. I hope I enjoy getting back to the computer screen as much as I enjoyed the escape from it for the last few years!!

***** She was scared of traveling alone, so I also bought Mum a ticket, so she's coming too. She's going to help me pay for some of it though. She's doing okay in school, it's been a huge change and a huge challenge for her, but I admire her grit, and her determination to not quit, and to see this through. For someone with such a high EQ she is finding it hard without devoted friends such as she had here. It's her biggest worry and focus right now, which makes me pleased that we chose to put her in year 10, so she has that year to settle in and find herself before she has to worry about exams.

****** Amy is very happy with her new teacher, as she hated her last one. We all thought she would have that teacher for all three years, but he's been transferred to the dumb classes because her class, the academic class, fell from top to bottom scorers under his 'tutelage'. I put that in inverted commas because she said he often didn't explain things, just saying 'you already know this'. Apparently he was more interested in his sports car than anything else. She's still doing art, piano and dance.

******* Erica is happy with her teacher, but not the class. I don't think she'd be happy with any class though, as she says it's 'the boys' who are the problem. As per typical patriarchal-society young males, they cannot accept her gender ambiguity. I had better not get started on that or on how much I worry about her... She is still doing two English classes a week - and still cannot read. Again I am committed to trying harder this year to teach her. She continues dance, piano and swimming.

******** Kanji is busy busy busy with PTA, he is the city head now, and has to go to Oita several times a month for meetings. He's out nearly every night with primary, junior high, city or prefectural meetings! At least now he can drop junior high - but he hinted that he might be pressured into taking on the prefectural head role... time consuming as well as expensive, just when we cannot afford it...