Hello! You may have been wondering if we were ever going to post on this blog again, and I am here to tell you, "Yes! We will!"
It is July 23rd and we have been up to quite a lot these past 7 months. We are coming up on the 1 year mark this Sunday and it has been quite a year indeed. Where do I begin...
In the late winter, Jonathan and I began taking Japanese lessons every Thursday evening at the volunteer center in Obama town. Jonathan and I love our teachers, and our Japanese is improving quite a bit. We became fast friends with some of the foreigners living in Obama: Asa, Christine, and Felipe. They left this week and we are very sad to see them go. But Felipe lives in Toronto which is not so far away, and Asa and Christine live in one of those other northern flyover states (Wisconsin), so we will be seeing them again soon. They gave/ sold us a bunch of their stuff before they left, so we are surrounded by reminders of the many happy memories we made together.
On the bright side, we still have Melissa and Grainne living nearby! Grainne and I are the new FJET Southern Representatives in charge of all things fun in the Reinan Block (the southwestern section of Fukui Prefecture). Melissa and are are the Reinan Block Leaders, and we are in charge of taking care of the newbies flying in next week and the week after. We will do troubleshooting, soothing, counseling, and hand-holding until the fresh faces get adjusted to life in Japan (hahaha that never happens). As you can see, in my usual fashion I have taken on not one but two leadership positions. :)
We have also made friends with many Japanese people, mostly teachers. It is fun to befriend people who have little to no experience with English, and we can teach each other our native tongues.
Jonathan is loving his job, and so am I. We are getting some fresh talent in Oi town, two new ALTs who will visit our middle schools once a week or so. One from Takahama town to the south and one from Kaminaka town to the north. We are all still waiting to see how this will work out.
Next week, Jonathan and I are doing a week-long workshop on how to make woodblock prints in Echizen Town. The workshop will be a lot of fun and hard work, but we have been itching to do something artsy. Also, we get to keep the tools after the class so if we enjoyed it we can do it at home! Yay! I have posted a link below explaining the workshop. It is even in English! You are welcome!
Last but not least, I am thinking of making a career change. I love teaching, and I have definitely enjoyed my time here in Japan, but I am thinking of Med School when I get back to the States. I will have to do some post-bacc science classes, and I will probably do those at IUPUI in order to keep tuition costs down. For this reason, we are probably going to be returning to the US either next year or in 2012. We originally wanted to stay for at least 3 years in Japan, and we love our town, but I want to get cracking on those science classes if I want to finish med school before I am 40, lol.
Well that is all for now. I will try to post some pictures soon, but Jonathan has a lot of our Japan pictures posted on his facebook, so if you can access facebook please check them out.
Laura (and Jonathan)
I had made a small mistake when typing my address last year, so here is the correct one. I had spelled the name of my apartment building incorrectly, but it never caused any problems. I am posting the correct address below. Enjoy!
Laura Allen and Jonathan McKenzie
46-21-1 Okata Oi Town,
Fukui Prefecture 919-2116
or in Japanese:
アレン ローラ様, マッケンジー ジョナサン様