This is my first time writing an entry from my iPhone. I’ve had the WordPress app for a while, which I use to check on comments and stats and things, but usually type things in on my computer to make things easier. I can’t insert pictures from my computer, so for now, it’s just phone pictures instead.
These stickers were all gifts from students and friends, except for the green Nameko, which I had left over from a Nameko sticker set I bought for my elementary classes. A “nameko” is normally just a type of mushroom, but it was made into this character and I absolutely love it! It seems to be really popular with upper-elementary and sometimes lower-middle school-shed students, and you can buy Nameko pencil boards, pencil cases, and stickers, just like with Hello Kitty, Pokemon, and other popular characters. (A lot of the elementary teachers think it’s gross, though, haha.) There are lots of versions, like Christmas tree Nameko, hay fever Nameko, and ghost Nameko! Here is a Nameko song and video that can give you an idea of what it is–I saw this playing at a store I went to here!^^ It’s catchy, in a weird way.
Anyway, early this week, the books and folders I keep on my desk that are always falling down fell down again, and knocked over my tea, which fell on my keyboard. I managed to get all my lesson plans and music backed up on my extra hard drive before it became unusable, but I’ll admit, I had a really bad Monday. I looked online using my phone, learned that spills can mean pretty much the end of your machine’s usability, and went to the nearest computer store right away to see what they had, but all the laptops there were more expensive than my plane ticket home, and I really didn’t want to spend that much when my last computer had already been wonderful, and had cost much less (and that was nearly 2 years ago).
Fortunately, there’s someone at my church who is really good with computers, who says he can get my lost data back, possibly fix my present computer, and can lend me another laptop in the meantime. The turnaround time between the panic of losing my computer and the relief of knowing I’d have something I could use within the week was actually pretty quick. I was really thankful to have that help so close by. I’ll be using a computer again by Sunday.
What’s been interesting this week hasn’t been “separation from media and Youtube,” exactly. I can still watch videos, listen to music, and check my email on my iPhone via 3G or wireless. What I realized was that I was most bothered by not being able to lesson plan easily–lesson planning involves me opening many Word files and scanning through the content to see of it’s cute/fun/interesting, making or editing class materials (to print out), keeping a calendar of what I did in which class on what day, and if I’m at home, listening to music and checking Facebook for no reason…
I have to say, though, I’ve had a lot more peaceful of a week this week. For one thing, my lesson planning was almost done for the entire week anyway, so it wasn’t like I needed to scour the internet for more ideas. On that note, I’m sure it’s run through every ALT’s mind before, the thought that “man, what would I do with my classes if I didn’t have access to all these online resources?” I think online resources for teaching have been great, especially at the beginning when I didn’t know where to start. But this week, I hand-made more of my materials, and thought to myself first about what I could do to make class fun instead of automatically going to a website to see what’s there. (My schools all have a computer in the teachers’ room/office for general use, but they’re older than mine, a hit slower, and the programs are all in Japanese, which doesn’t stop me, but does slow me down.) The ideas online do help generate other ideas, but I realized just how little I try to think of my own ideas first.
Another thing was, when I went home for the day, the pace I go at changed. I don’t like eating in silence, so I usually watch YouTube videos while I eat. Watching videos on a tiny screen is a little inconvenient for dinner, though, so I started listening to classical music from my phone while I ate instead, like we hear over the loudspeaker at school during lunch. It gave me time to think about the day, instead of just absorbing more information to process. I also tend to actually pay attention to how my food tastes, because my kind isn’t distracted. I was also out two nights this week, but didn’t feel stressed out by “having less time.” I think it’s because I didn’t have meaningless fillers in between. During the first night out, the dinner, I think I was more “present” than usual, because even if I went home, it’s not like I could plan lessons or write a blog or really do anything. I might as well be right where I’m at, and not somewhere else.
Lastly, and most importantly, I’ve been talking more to God. I realized that there were many things that had been bothering me that I’d needed to talk to Him about, and sometimes when I’d felt stressed out it was because I was holding different worries inside and constantly mulling them over in my mind instead of telling Him what they were, asking forgiveness for worrying, and remembering that He hasn’t left
me unequipped or alone at any time here. I could have given up the things that were bothering me at any time, but as soon as I got home, is turn on something to watch and let other thoughts fill my head, while the things I needed to ask God about would get buried and stay buried, till it was late and I just wanted to go to sleep. That’s no way to live life. I’ve been reading my Bible more, too. This also has to do with what a change I felt in my heart after hanging out with my pastor’s family all day this past Sunday, but that’s a different story. (The pink “clam Nameko” sticker on the right was a gift from his daughter!^^)