the nikku

reflecting on ESL/EFL and its relation to faith

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Being a Foreigner

The other thing that bites about being a foreigner is that you are perpetually at a loss for critical details. This week is "Chrisitian education week", and since I`ve been to all the meetings, I know exactly where I`m supposed to be. I just don`t know when or what I should be doing. And really this isn`t so bad, I just ask someone who can read the schedule. But it gets really old. I feel like a four year old asking, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?". Except it`s like this: "Where am I supposed to be now? What do I do here?"

Speaking being a foreigner is like being half a baby. No one exactly understands you, and you don`t really understand them, but you repeat a lot of what they say.

This Monday I did a lesson on feelings for the freshman. "How are you? I`m happy because..." I thought I`d give them a break because the last few lessons have been a kind of difficult. But it was boring because it was to easy for them.

Also, this Monday at the English meeting was the editing of my listening test I wrote for U-sensei last week. Except I didn`t know it was a listening test. Umehara-sensei just said, "here is last year`s test, can you write one that is similar?" So I did.

And it didn`t get ripped to shreds or anything. I`ve been at the meetings for editing the entrance exam, and I know they do the same thing if not worse to their own work then. But it just sucks knowing that someone is saying something about something you wrote but you don`t know what. Besides that, you`re smart enough that you could have fixed whatever they are talking about on your own - if you had known the details. Yeah, being a foreigner is kind of like being a baby. You understand a lot - or at least think you do - but you can`t really do much.

Afterwards in the office a student who was visiting another teacher tried talking to me. The conversation wasn`t much "Hi, how are you? Are you busy with homework from M-sensei?" But afterwards she said to her friend, "kakoi ne!" -> "Isn`t he cool?!?". And teenage girls say impulsive stuff like that all the time, you just learn to ignore it. That`s part of being a high school teacher. But I was really feeling like crap, and she made my day. She`ll never know. :)

I had supper with K-sensei again tonight. But I find her conversations draining. She talks really fast, in Japanese and English. And that`s okay in English because I can keep up. But the Japanese is another story. And I kind of understand, it`s hard to be slow and simple at something you know so well. But after the Japanese class and hanging out with H-chan and E-chan, I know there are people out there who are easier to understand - so the time isn`t so draining.

Tomorrow night is another Japanese class. I put all the words I learned from last time on notecards, and I think I`ll take them to class and try and make sentences or something. H-chan found the notecards amusing, and she helped me study while we were waiting in line at the art exhibit.

By the way the exhibit was amazing! I found out I like the artist too. They just sell his worst work at gift shops in town - I don`t get it.

I also went to the fish market this weekend. I`m gonna go back and take pictures this weekend. I don`t have time to put in any new pictures right now, but you can check my flickr account for the few new ones that are up now. Later!


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