Saturday, February 11, 2012

Officially Any Good

Well, it’s officially official. I turned in my paper yesterday.

It’s kind of silly how, when a decision is actually uncertain, I will submit the paperwork as soon as I know. And yet when I know ahead of time, dither to and fro, take out the form, look at it, put it away again, unwilling to submit to the inevitable, pushing back til the last minute the official sealing of my own fate. It is my way to go dragging my heels (not kicking and screaming, that is far too dramatic and noisy) through a change of any appreciable size, and this upcoming repatriation is appreciable.

When I finally did turn in the form at the last possible moment, nothing changed, no new sense either of despair nor relief washed over me. This is the next step in the way of things, it does not push its weight upon you, because its weight was meant to settle gradually, day by day, and you’ve already begun to feel it some time ago, and it will get more and more obvious, in some ways more and more strenuous, as the days go on.

But you’re doing it right, taking it slow, even being willing to enjoy, to some extent, the way that it hurts to leave. Let yourself wax poetic as you watch the snow falling between you and the dark of the evergreens.

Yesterday was a day that could have been any day. After school, I walked up the hill to Sponic, had a swim, showered, came back to school where some of the girls on their way home stopped to talk to me, then rode with the music teacher back to town. It was the first round of test for third years to get into high school, and there was a dinner party that night. We talked and ate, and I forgot, and the food was so good, and the guests between heartbreaking and a little annoying once the beer wore off in the karaoke box and the principal wouldn’t stop shaking my hand, asking if I thought he was cool.

At some point during dinner, the judo coach was talking about his time in America, mishaps and fast food restaurants, and I saw reflections of my home in his words. Then he talked about the kyoudai, the students I refer to as twins even though I am fully aware that one is older, who may work their way (is this small town gullibility?) to the Olympics in judo in a couple years. I wondered, will I hear about it? Will I see them on TV, grappling with French kids, and remember how they were when I called on them in class?

I have a connection to this place, and while it will thin and grow taut, I like to think it will not break entirely. I don’t skim easily over change because I sink into things, or they sink into me. I burrow, I feed my need to explore, to find out shit. Some of it also comes by accident.

The band teacher said something in the car on the way back to town, about how good the school has been this year, all three classes stacking up well. Last year the third years weren’t very responsible, they were full of troublemakers, but this year, there’s a harmony in place that is rare in middle schools. She called it a “miracle” and I agreed, because middle school is a tough crowd, a tough age to be, and somehow this student body makes it looks easy. I sighed to myself. All that will change in a month, as graduation hits us and a new school year begins, so it’s not that I’m losing that. It’s just that I’m glad I got to be part of the miracle year, I guess, to watch them grow and become.

One thing I remember from my kepmo homework that sticks out still is something about how, not only is it important to believe in your ability to change yourself, but it is impossible to remain the same. I’ve had a tendency all my short life long to try to keep everything, to hold on to things, even when I knew I knew better. There are pieces of that I’ve been seeing recently in my iTunes, of all places.. I don’t use iTunes, or didn’t, but have been more lately, and a lot of the music I have isn’t stuff I sought out on my own. I’m not very good or motivated at chasing down music I like. I much prefer asking for my friends’ music and then letting it sink into my consciousness by just having it in the car until I get tired of it. There aren’t a lot of people in the world I have actively cut out of my life.. I can think of two, actually. And I still have the music they gave me.

Why? Ah, why not? Because it was theirs? It’s not theirs anymore. Because it reminds me of them? So it does. Is it so bad to be reminded? That’s not what I cut out; I didn’t want to deal with them anymore. Is keeping the stuff they gave me dealing with them? Remembering them is bittersweet, and I kind of like that.

So anyway, it’s impossible to remain the same. Like, even if you stay in the same place and do the same thing and get the same result, even if you never move forward, you still can’t stay the same. If you never take a step, or a leap, if you never try, you still won’t be the same old thing (theoretically, good thing, since you wanted to avoid that change, right?) you wanted to stay being.

It echoes into the contractual paperwork. It is impossible to stay in your apartment and job forever, even if you wanted to, which you must admit (while there are some thing of which you may never grow tired), you don’t even want to.

But if it’s impossible to remain the same, then why not try to become better? In whatever way. Stronger. Happier. Better at math. More patient. More kanji in your head. Whatever. My JET life is in its final one-sixth, but my ties to Japan could just be beginning. They will be different, in six months, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be any good.

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