Friday, September 01, 2006

A New Friend

It's been an eventful couple of weeks. Our school has expanded so much that they brought in a second teacher around mid-August. It has been great to have a little relief and tomorrow is my first Saturday off since I got here. I will have two days off from now on. Yippee! Never thought I would be so happy about something most Americans take for granted. The Japanese basically have a six-day work week. Most kids go to school for a half day on Saturdays and most people go to work for at least half a day. I've been more or less on call from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week, although I never worked that many hours. During that time I would teach about 30-35 lessons (from 40-50 minutes each lesson) but they weren't always scheduled together so I'd teach for a couple of hours, have a break for 2 hours, teach a class, another break and then teach 3 classes. Not an easy schedule because it didn't give me enough time to really do anything, include nap. And it was pretty hard to find babysitters. So now that Wayne has come, my life is getting more manageable. He is teaching all the Saturday classes and a couple of my other classes. But his main focus will be opening a new school at another location.

It's also been good to have someone to talk to in English. One of the things I've always liked about Japan is forming relationships with people you normally wouldn't hang out with at home. Wayne is 24 and just finished college. I can't in my wildest dreams imagine us being friends in the U.S. But in Japan, since we are thrown together and there aren't other people readily available, we turn to each other.

Bonnie also loves him, of course. And she is constantly telling people that I have a crush on him, which is wishful thinking on her part. He has a half-sister who is Asian and he misses her, so Bonnie is good for him. They both love to play arcade games and he sometimes takes her to one near our house and plays girlie games with her! He has also taught her how to win her Barbie game on her gameboy! She has no clue that 24-year-old guys really don't like Barbie. In her mind, Barbie is awesome-- period -- and anyone should know that! He was over here last Saturday just hanging out and it was cute to see Bonnie perfectng her flirting technique. She really knows how to wrap men around her little finger. Wayne told me she was going to break some hearts when she was older.

It's good to have a work colleague, too. The other day we were talking about reactions to the guy we work for. During this conversation, Wayne happened to say, "He doesn't want to hear any excuses; he just wants you to get it done." Quite a good insight from someone who is just starting his first "real" job. So, even though I've been working for more than 25 years and Wayne is just starting out, I can learn something from him.