I’m not so idealistic as I once was. I’ve experienced disappointment and heartbreak and have learned things about myself to which I sometimes wish I’d had been oblivious. There are days I wake up as a joke, laughably regretting not hunkering down somewhere to become the next potential cancer-curing scientist or leading human rights advocate. In social situations, I come up with clever retorts to “Why are you teaching in Japan?” and “Where are you going with this?”
The original plan was to obtain an environmental sciences degree, specified or not, and combine it with my journalism degree, reporting especially on “green” technology, lifestyle, and such. The original original plan was to become a studio audio mixer and composer particularly for movie soundtrack scores, before that a director of a human rights nonprofit organization, then a pilot, a linguist, a biologist, an actor, a chemist, an emcee for a circus, an ambassador to Germany, Carmen Sandiego…
I change every day. Maybe it’s indicative of my generation, maybe I have a volatile form of ADHD, or maybe that’s just how my brain is wired, and I’ve had 26 years to cope with the fact and still have yet to rein it in. One thing I do know is my shortcomings and, therefore, my limits. I’m not a remarkably intelligent person. That was difficult to say some years ago, but at this point, it would be foolish to pretend otherwise.
The one thing I am able to do and with some success, it seems, is teaching English. Aside from actually having to know the mechanics of my native language with the added benefit of having learned other languages and their structures, a teacher has to look good in many hats: entertainer, authoritative figure, therapist, improv actor.
There are times when the dunce hat must also be put on, and other times when you feel the line between flexible teacher and prostitute being crossed.
I don’t know how long I’ll stay on the teaching track. Tomorrow, I’ll want to be a cupcake factory line worker. It’s a frustrating, sometimes debilitating, characteristic of mine, but I’m hoping my experiences abroad and in this line of work will lead to something even better and perhaps something I could see myself doing long term; in the meantime, I’ll enjoy the ride while it lasts and finally cross Japan off my bucket list.