Friday, July 15, 2011

The Summer of Unidentified Flying Objects

Life has been good lately. It has finally stopped raining. Apparently it was just a June thing. But now every day is sunny! The bad part is that my bicycle is still broken. There is a puncture in my tire and I`m going with a friend to the bicycle and motorbike shop today after school to ask them if they are able to repair it. I have been told that they are only capable of fixing cheap bicycles and since mine is a mountain bike, it may be more difficult. I hope that it`s just the tire that`s the problem because that seems like a very reparable problem. Another ALT (assistant language teacher) came to visit Ojika and his tire exploded on the road and when he went to the shop, they couldn`t fix it because they said his bicycle was too nice. So my fingers are crossed. Plus, I woke up at 5:00 this morning to wheel it to school and then go for a run on the high school field/dirt track. I just found it too embarassing to wheel a bike with such an obviously flat tire to school, like normal. I didn`t want to deal with any captain obvious comments of "you have a flat tire."

Exercise has been far more enjoyable with the beautiful weather. With a bicycle, I would be able to get out to the beaches easier. Also, since it isn`t raining anymore, I don@t have to worry about my umbrellas turning inside out in the gusts of wind. Now, I am still using the gym, going on walks/jogs, and doing random things. There is this beautiful park called Bandake that has a dam with a walkway around it. I stole the idea from someone else to walk or jog around the dam and it`s perfect. It`s beautiful and secluded, so I don`t feel self-conscious with all my sweating and gasping.

School is going well. The kids have their summer vacation starting next week and going until the end of August. In Japan, they get about five weeks of summer vacation, in comparison with the U.S.`s three months. I told my fifth grade students in the elementary school that Americans get three months of no school and they all gasped with envy. I really wanted to say "don`t worry, you`re ahead of us in most school subjects." I had read about how some schools in the states are cutting summer school, school hours, and the days of the week down to four to save money on the budget. It seems like they have all their priorities wrong if that is what they are cutting to meet budget restrictions.

The weather is once again unbearably warm. I bought a personal desk fan and I have upped the number of required sweat rags to two while at school. The teacher's room has AC but that's the only room in the high school where they turn it on. The students have to stay in their rooms and roast. I always have to bring a church fan to the classroom so I don' perspire too bad. Along with the heat and the humidity, comes mold. I have been wiping down my tatami but I went to school one day and by the time I returned home, there was mold on my tatami! And no amount of scrubbing with vinegar and water seems to remove it. Very futile and frustrating. And that isn't the only other living organism that has reared it`s ugly head. Hello mosquitos, cockroaches and other large unidentified flying objects. As soon as I see a bug in my apartment, I`m like Xena Warrior Princess with my sandal. Now I just need to learn the battle cry and creep my neighbor out.

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