When I was thirteen, I wanted to be a teacher but that idea only lasted a day. It was powerfully overthrown by the idealized prospects of life as an air hostess. Ah, even the word itself produced excitement. Plus, I’d heard that you only needed to study three months to become one, THREE MONTHS! That, and the little fashionista inside me was just dying to wear a pretty scarf around her neck. Next was dietitian, then librarian and now, a decade later; writer. So why Japan? Why ESL teacher? Two, too frequently asked questions to which I reply a mixture of ahhhh and errmm whilst quietly praying that either I or the questioner miraculously disappear into thin air.
According to my Japanese friend, Kei’s American friend, Anna, there’s only one reason why men come to Japan to teach English but two reasons for why women do it. Anna reckons men are only here to score themselves a Japanese girl whilst women are either a)genuinely wanting to travel and are simply starting out in Asia or b)and the most common reason: have had their hearts broken. Now, I wouldn’t say Anna is entirely correct but I wouldn’t say she isn’t either.
So I‘d had my heart broken. Badly. And found myself stuck at that ever so familiar waiting stage. Waiting for my unpredicted plot twist, waiting for the exception to the rule. I imagined him unexpectedly showing up and declaring his love at our door-step, at my workplace, heck, I’m surprised ‘boom-box outside window at 4am’ didn’t make the list. However, I couldn’t exist like that! Paddling in a whirlpool of self-pity, I had to get out (5808 miles to be exact), dry off and start over. So, I counselled myself to let go of a dream that was no longer a viable reality. For if we’d made plans to travel together after graduation, and those plans were now no longer an option, then it was up to me to write me a new chapter myself.
And guess what? I did! One of samurais (Miyamoto Musashi’s birthplace is 5 min away) and castles and geishas and one too many hot bowls of ramen. Because as Greg Behrendt so beautifully puts it, “maybe a happy ending doesn’t include a guy, maybe… it’s you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is… just… moving on. Or maybe the happy ending is this, knowing after all the unreturned phone calls, broken-hearts, through the blunders and misread signals, through all the pain and embarrassment you never gave up hope.”
Happy one year anniversary to iaccidentlyatethewholething.