I Have Overcome

From my time in Japan, all 17 months of it, I can easily and clearly pick one day that was my ABSOLUTE worst day here. That day is still so vivid in my mind, as though it just happened yesterday. Picturing and thinking about that day is still enough to trigger an emotional reaction, practically bringing tears to my eyes.

Needless to say, it was hard this week, knowing that I had to return to the school where my worst day in Japan happened. I was scheduled to be at the school three days this week (Tuesday-Thursday) and as I watched those days creep closer and closer on my calendar my stress and tension increased. On Tuesday morning I woke up, knowing that I had to go, dreading the day, and I couldn’t make it through the morning without breaking down in tears.

I knew it was nearly impossible for the day to be any worse than last year, much less as bad, but I still didn’t want to face it. Aaron reminded me that I had to decide. I could decide to have a miserable day or I could decide to make the best of it. Sometimes he knows what he is talking about. I decided that I was going to practice some of the “letting go” and “relaxing” that my pregnancy books have been telling me about, knowing that letting go was as important to getting through the next three days as it will be when I give birth in a few months.

During my commute to the school I put on some of my most soothing music and just let myself relax and breathe during the ride. Focusing on things that made me happy and things that I enjoy, not dwelling on the task at hand. I completely tuned-out the negative in my mind, and tuned-in to the positive. While I still couldn’t find it in me to think any positive thoughts about the upcoming work day, I was able to banish the negative ones which were surely going to stand in my way.

And now, three days later, I am happy to report that I feel successful. I feel as though I have overcome. I spent three days at the school and I was able to mostly have a good time. I had a much better rapport with the teachers (I think a year of practicing Japanese helped with that). I did a much better job connecting with the students (I knew more of what to expect and I also was better prepared to set and keep boundaries). It still isn’t my favorite place on Earth, and I wouldn’t volunteer to go (I totally feel like the foreigner freak-show there, whereas I feel more at home and accepted here at Gifu Kita), but I do feel as though I proved to myself that I could do it. I did have control over the outcome.

One thing I have really learned about myself is that I don’t really like to be surprised. I like to collect information and be prepared for what is going to happen. I like to think about all the different possibilities and how I might react to them. However, living here in Japan and dealing with situations like this one has shown me that while those are good skills to have, they are not always applicable. At times, there are simply going to be situations that I cannot control or prepare for and yet I must navigate them.

I’m not quite sure how to become more adept at responding to such situations, but I do hope that I can figure it out soon, because I am smart enough to know that the little person growing in my belly is surely going to throw me for a few loops, even if I have read all the books!

Posted on Friday, December 19th, 2008 at 2:21 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “I Have Overcome”

  1. Ella says:

    I’m so glad that things worked out better for you this year! And hey, you NEVER have to go back!! YAY!

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