Whooooh, it's strange to be back!
Going from Japan to America to Japan in one week is something that I have never done before, and it is quite a strain. In America, I felt rather well adjusted, but coming back to work I was very confused, and felt like I was in a dream all day. It shouldn't be the jetlag, I think it was just rough transitions.
But I am so happy I got to go home to see everyone for a week. I couldn't imagine what it would be like if I hadn't. All my teachers seemed very concerned about what was going on, and I managed to give them polite, cryptic answers, because I myself don't even know quite how to process everything.
Aside from the emotional part, it was interesting to contrast my Japanese life with my American one (what's left of that, anyways). When people asked me how Japan was, I couldn't really answer, because I had no idea where to start if I wasn't in it at the time, looking at a specific thing. (Sorry Aunt Charlotte! That's why I mentioned this blog, instead of a real answer, because I get overwhelmed trying to condense this new life into a sentence or two.)
So yes, in conclusion, when either side asks me about the other, I am at a loss.
In normal, daily life, today was a disaster.
I woke up at 4 am, then 5 am, then 6. I was really apprehensive about going back to work, because I knew that after the past week it would be very hard to just jump right back in. I realized in the morning that I had forgotten to buy American stickers for my head teacher like I had promised, and that put a cloud over some of the day. Then I could hardly pay attention, and I felt like I had been drugged, and like everything was in a dream. But the upshot of that is that I worked extra hard to at least appear present so I would be surprised if anyone noticed.
I totally forgot Japanese conversational patterns, so that when someone thanked me for the cheese Goldfish, I had absolutely no idea what I was supposed to say back. Not even wondering what the word was, but wondering what message I was supposed to convey at all. Really weird.
Today I discovered what happens when you don't pay extra attention to the water pipes. At first I was trying to coordinate the two knobs to let the water into the washing machine after I had turned them off for my trip, and I got really worried when I couldn't get them to work. I had to do laundry! Where's the water! At last I figured it out, but then discovered that the hot water pipe had frozen during the day. I would have bet money that I had turned it off this morning, but after about ten minutes fiddling with the knobs, I gave up. In my handbook it said something about pouring boiling water on the pipes outside, but I had no idea which ones those would be, especially since I live in an apartment, and didn't feel like bumbling around the alleyways in the dark and cold. So I did the old fashioned method of boiling a pot of water on the stove, dipping a corner of tupperware into it, mixing that with cold water, and pouring that on my head to reach an agreeable temperature for my "shower." Agreeable as in switching back and forth between freezing and burning, because I couldn't match up the ratio. I am so thankful for the normal plumbing I have every other day when I don't mess it up. Anyways, I emailed my boss, and hopefully I can get it fixed tomorrow.
After my shower there was a terrible noise. It sounded like a fire alarm with someone yelling at me. I guess I left my kerosene heater on too long, because after I unplugged the wall doohickey (which took a while to find, poor neighbors) I saw the word 'gas' on it, so I am assuming it is a gas-to-breathable-air monitor. Good thing I have one of those!! But it was loud, and I hope my neighbors don't hate me.
I'm exhausted. But after last week I am so thankful for what I have, because any complaint I can make here sounds so trivial compared to what's going on with those around me.