Sunday, May 15, 2011

Biting off More to Chew

One thing I have always been able to accuse myself of is biting off more than I could chew.  This seemed to happen during every semester I was in college.  As a music major, with minors in German and English, this was unbelievably easy to do. I have always had a deep desire to acquire knowledge.  And sometimes, my sleep schedule suffered for it.

Despite my crazy class, rehearsal, practice, work, and teaching (piano lessons) schedules, I somehow (miraculously) managed to graduate Magna Cum Laude.  Whew.

Life is far less erratic now.  I have a regular 8-4 schedule, and I love it.  Karl and I have all of our weekends and evenings free to spend together.  It’s wonderful.

That is, we did…until this week.  I was contacted several weeks ago by a koto sensei looking for an English teacher for small adult classes at a community center near our apartment.  She was looking for someone to teach classes on Sunday afternoons and Monday evenings. 

I was not thrilled about the idea of giving up free time that I was now accustomed to having.  Especially on Sunday afternoon.  I eventually agreed to the Monday evening session.  This past Monday was the first lesson. 

I loved it.  It was a class of seven adult students.  They each had their own personal reasons for wanting to learn English ranging from wanting to watch movies from America without sub titles to traveling to simply having it as a hobby.  They are so much fun!

Because of how well the Monday class went, I agreed to also teach the Sunday afternoon class.  The koto sensei who organizes the classes told me that someone else had applied for the position, but she wanted me.  Plus she told me there would be cookies and coffee.

How could I say no?!

Even though this is technically a job, it doesn’t feel like a job.  I was pleasantly surprised by how well the students already spoke English.  There is no preparation required because it is a conversation class.  That basically means we sit around a table and talk. When they have questions or need help, they ask me.  It almost feels silly that I am getting paid for this.  Besides my time, skills as a native speaker of English and a good attitude, this job requires nothing of me. 

But even if the pay was far less-or there was no pay at all-I would still do it.  I know that I will be learning just as much from them as they will be learning from me. 

Even though I am biting off more to chew and giving up some of my free time-I am looking at this as a great opportunity to further immerse myself in the Japanese culture.  This is not something that comes along everyday. 

If by the end of our time here in Japan I had never taken such an opportunity as this, I am sure I would have felt regret.  We are living here to learn about and experience the culture.

I know it’s clichéd, but the saying really is true: “Carpe diem. Seize the day!”
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