Blarg! Each and every time I see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as getting caught up goes, something happens, and then I’m right back to being nowhere near caught up. I SHOULD have plenty of time to blog in the coming days, so maybe I’ll get all caught up then, but who knows!
Last Monday night was interesting. Mommy, if you’re reading, I’m sorry for what you’re about to read. Ian and I have a plan. We’re going to use our twenties to have fun and see the world, and once we reach thirty, it’s back to the real world and big kid things like settling down in one place, buying a house, and popping out kids. We’ll probably move back to Paducah for about a year after Japan while we wait to be accepted to another program. We’ve been doing a bit of research about where we could go after Japan. There are many places that we’d LOVE to go, but we have to consider programs that allow spouses to come, have benefits and a decent pay, and don’t last over two years. I did a bit of research on Monday night, and here’s what I came up with:
1) Alaska Transition to Teaching Program: If we got into this program, we could basically get our teaching certificates for basically free. It’s a two year program, and we’d get to live in Alaska…..the only downfall I have with that program is that it’s Alaska. I hate the cold.
2) Teach for America: This is a program that takes participants to underprivileged areas to teach. We could be placed as far away as a reservation in Washington or as close as Appalachia in the eastern part of Kentucky. This program also allows you to get your teaching certificate in two years, but it is an out of pocket expense.
3) Peace Corps: Ian said that this was something that he always wanted to do, but I was always a little worried that I’d be placed in some backwoods place digging ditches. It seems a bit more appealing now. Not the whole digging ditches thing, but the whole moving off to another country and helping people thing is really enticing.
Anyway, that’s a VERY brief overview of what’s possibly in our future. Honestly, though…who knows where we’ll be in two years!
Ian made a very interesting dinner on Monday night. He ordered some specialty meat online last week, including crocodile claws. That’s right. You didn’t misread that. It was a leg with the scaly foot and claws still on. Ick. He pan fried it, and I can honestly now say that I’ve had croc claw. It tasted like really chewy chicken. We skyped our parents that night, and it was funny to ask them to guess what we had for dinner. Of course they didn’t guess it, so we dangled the half-eaten leg in front of the web cam only to see their mouths drop in disgust. HAHAHAHA!
Ian and I are starting the process of getting a Japanese driver’s license. It is quite a process, let me tell you. We’re currently using International Driving Permits, which expire one day from the year when we arrived in Japan. For me, that’s August 1st. The date on your license HAS to be at least three months before your arrival in Japan. Unfortunately, I renewed mine about a month before leaving, and Ian got a new license when he got the motorcycle license. Therefore, we have to get a notarized letter to the DMV in Paducah asking for a driving record so that we can move onto the second process of having that translated and taking the written driving test. Ian’s dad has been wonderful to be our go-between in the States. He said that the DMV said that since Japan doesn’t really have the notary system that the States does, if we got our town’s seal on the letter, that would work. So…I typed the letters and we planned to go to the town office on Tuesday afternoon after work. I typed and Google translated a few sentences of instruction to give to the office worker so that we wouldn’t be going in blind. All we needed was the stamp. That was it. I think that whenever we walk into the town office, automatically everyone is probably thinking *please don’t let it be me who has to deal with them*. I handed my translation to the office worker. She looked at me, the paper, me, the paper, and back at me before deciding she needed backup. She recruited another lady who did the same. They went to who I assume was their supervisor. The supervisor came up to the front and tried his best to read our letters and then said “Stamp-u?” We said yes and made the motion of stamping something. He brought the stamp to the desk but for whatever reason didn’t stamp them. He instead consulted with another guy who kind of spoke English. That guy had a brother who spoke good English. He faxed the letters to his brother so that his brother could interpret what we wanted. At this point in time, there was seriously a dozen people trying to help us. We could tell that they wanted to help, but just wasn’t happening. It felt like we were stuck in this endless circle. Even the mayor came over to see what the commotion was about, but he was like, “oh, it’s the silly foreigners….back to work I go….” When the fax went through, the brother of the office worker wanted to speak with me. I explained our situation and told him that all in the world we needed was the town stamp on our letters. The brother explained it to the the office worker, and there was a collective sigh of relief that FINALLY each side understood one another. The office worker faxed it off to someone else and copied it a couple of times (Keep in mind that my SSN, KYDL, and birthday are all on this letter. Am I worried about someone stealing my identity? No! This is Japan. Not only is that info useless to people here, but people just don’t steal.) before stamping the heck out of it and handing it back to us. One hour after walking in there, we walked out with the stamp that we needed!
After we told our friends about the ordeal, Melissa B. explained to us why it was such a big deal to get a town stamp and why the process took so long. To get a town seal is a big deal, and the office workers have to make sure what they stamp is legit. Since our letter was in English, they had absolutely no idea what they were stamping. For all they knew, our letter could have said that the town owed us one majillion dollars. They had to make sure that we weren’t trying to scam them or do something shady. I get it now. I understand why it took so long!
Do you now see why I say that everyday is an adventure? Just whenever you think you have the hang of things, something happens. I even thought that I had a leg up by having some directions translated. Oh well!