Have you ever just watched the blogger front page after you've updated your blog to see if yours comes up as recently updated? I was really bored on Sat. I updated, I watched, I gave up. I was however a bit sickened by some of the names of blogs that passed by on my screen. I also visited several, none worth revisiting though. Maybe I'll try again.
I am applying to teach English in Japan with the JET Program. The following is my essay to be included with the app. It shoudl talk about my motivation for going, my qualifications and my goals in going. What do you think?
I have a love for Japan. My first trip to Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe in 1994-1995 sparked the beginning of my desire to know more about the country and her people. I returned in 1998 for a brief trip and the desire to return wells up at least every two years. I realize now that that desire will never leave and that it is time to begin quenching that desire. Along with my desire to return to Japan is my passion for other cultures. That flame was fanned through my travels, the fact that my sister is Korean and my recent studies in cross cultural communication. I believe that to better understand and utilize my master’s degree, I need to spend some intense time immersed in another culture and I know that the JET program would provide just such an experience. My desire is to know people and reach out to them and teach them as much as I learn from them. The very nature of the JET program, teaching English and forming relationships with Japanese is why I have chosen to apply to this program and the ALT position. I am excited about returning to Japan. My previous trips were short and packed with activity. I look forward to just being able to live and work there while I take in my surroundings. I have spent the last two years in a graduate program studying communication and finally focusing on cross cultural communication and the role of a cultural broker. I have been able to supplement my education with my role at work where I was selected to be a Regions Fellow, working on training others in my area about cultural issues facing us in our work environment. This and the very multi-ethnic environment in which I work has benefited me in broadening my scope of knowledge and understanding. I am an extrovert who thrives on being with people. I enjoy sharing what I know with those eager to learn. While I have not had a great deal of direct teaching experience, I look forward to the challenges that will bring. I believe that my energy and enthusiasm will be an asset to the ALT position. Living far from family and friends is difficult, but having done that for several years already, combined with my extroverted personality, will allow me to help make the transition to Japan smoother. Moving to Japan to teach English will, I hope, provide me with a greater sense of what it means to serve as cultural broker. I am sure that I will need one as well as be able to be one to my students who are interested in America. This really serves as both a personal and professional goal for me. A greater understanding of myself and a different culture will not only help me develop personally, but give me the practical experience that I need to return to the States and take a position in my field of study. My goal is to grow and learn as I help teach others.
I'm off for some wine and cheese at home tonight and cleaning and reading. yea!
Tomorrow is church and then to the pastor's for the big meal along with some others I know. Leftovers that night will probably be at Chris's mom's place, then back to work on Fri, where I think I'll bring potato soup for the crew. I know, not terribly Thanksgivingish, but I have a ton of spuds from the farmer's market.
Thanksgiving. A pretty darned boring holiday. One of my least favs actually. Nothing on but that damned sport and I don't really like turkey. I try to focus on the whole "thanks" part of the holiday and remember that I at least have turkey to eat and am typically surrounded by family and/or friends at a place that has electricity and a TV.
Time to leave my junky job (that I am actually thankful that I have even though I don't like) and go home.
Thank you, God, for reminding me of the joy that you alone can give, regardless of turkey, football and being far away from those I love most.
*TEN FIRSTS* First Best Friend: Shay something or other, then Kendra Jo Pittman and then Laura Hitt First Screen Name: gosh, no recollection, probably arthompson First Pet: Ebony, big dog that I don't recollect, really mostly remember Coco Rice Krispies First Piercing: Ears (ONLY piercing I might add) First Crush: any number of cuties from kindergarten, Robbie McCormick and Todd somebody First CD: no idea, my first ALBUM was Alabama's Roll On First Car: '76 Ford LTD, a semi could've run me down in that I'd have never known First Real Love: chocolate, heeheehee First Stuffed Animal: Sandy, a big pink (I know, I know, I now hate pink) teddy bear that my Mom finally threw away because it was a wee bit dingy.
*NINE LASTS* Last Car ride: to work this morning, is it me or this an odd question? who made this list? Last Movie Seen: I'm sure it was a chick-flick, something about a prince going to school in America incognito, maybe with Julia Stiles? Last Phone Call: I made -- tech support, received -- personally, a gal from Origins at the mall Last CD Played: Toby Keith's Christmas CD from like '95. Last Bubble bath: allergic to bubbles, bummer, but do enjoy a nice hot tub full of bath salts, light some candles and enjoy a good book Last time you Cried: sure it was recently, perhaps when I watched the Ronald Reagan 18-minute political film (really it's a tear jerker)
*EIGHT HAVE YOU EVERS* Have you ever dated one of your best friends?: Sorta Have you ever been arrested? No, pulled over, yea Have you ever skinny dipped? No Have you ever been on TV? Yes Have you ever kissed someone then regretted it? um, ya, and will deny it to the grave!
*SEVEN THINGS YOU ARE WEARING* 1. black pants 2. grey & red sweater 3. black socks 4. black shoes 5. my treasured Tiffany earrings 6. glasses 7. SC lanyard with work 'flair'
*SIX THINGS YOU'VE DONE TODAY* 1. Went to work 2. had lunch with a friend 3. made tea (more than once) 4. filed papers 5. checked my email a bazillion times 6. posted this facinating revelation of me
*FIVE FAVORITE THINGS IN NO ORDER* 1. Family and friends 2. scrapbooking 3. Jesus 4. jewels 5. meat
*FOUR PEOPLE YOU CAN TELL ALMOST ANYTHING TO* 1. Rubes 2. TX Laura 3. Shari 4. Andrea
*THREE CHOICES* 1.Black or White: Black 2. Hot or Cold: Hot, used to think cold but then moved to the Frozen Tundra and changed my mind 3.Chocolate or Vanilla: Chocolate
*TWO THINGS YOU WANT TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE* 1. Start a family 2. give away a million dollars
*ONE THING YOU REGRET* 1. some of my word choices to loved ones
I'm helping to facilitate a book study on this C.S. Lewis classic on Sunday afternoon. Anyone have any good suggestions or sources online that I might check out? We're only doing the first five chapters. Thanks in advance. And if you haven't read this GO GET IT NOW!
I hesitate to type this, but I have been thinking quite a bit lately about the personal nature of many blogs I have read. Personal, introspective, either way, mine is really a daily log of activities rather than much more. In an attempt to go futher and in response to a request, here it goes. Hopefully other introspections will be much better.
In my undergraduate days I made a few minor errors. ALRIGHT! I made some whopping errors in judgment. I began a long-term intimate relationship with a fellow student that lasted far too long for everyone involved. While I cared about him, I did not ever love him the way a woman should love her husband. I was however, in love with the idea of being in love. Praise the Lord, I listened to his prompting and finally ended the relationship. However, while involved with this man, I made a mistake in not calling my folks to let them know that I had made it safely back to school following interterm one year. I had stopped at the dorm and dropped off all of my belongings and then proceeded to his dorm where we watched movies and fell asleep. (For those not aware, my alma mater does NOT have co-ed dorms nor did it have generous visitation hours at the time of my attendance. Overnight stays were certainly against all rules.) Anyway, we were rudely awakened early in the morning by a pounding on the dorm room door. To which he hesitantly asked who was there. A strong, loud voice alerted us to the presence of the Highway Patrol. The officer asked if he knew where I was and if I was in the room. He answered yes and the officer told him to have me call my mother. This was prior to many dorm room phones and cell phones. I had to go upstairs to the pay phone and humbly call my parents and make up some story (other than being rudely awakened in my boyfriend's room) about my whereabouts all night long. My parents threatened to remove me from school, etc.
Not one of my shining moments, that is certain.
Never fear, my more recent police meetings have been on better terms.
How awful. ick, or as they say in the Frozen Tundra--ish.
I learned a lot. Perhaps mostly in retrospect. Listen to your parents and ALWAYS call home upon safe arrival. Don't get ahead of yourself. Don't be stupid. Follow the rules (which, let's face it, I usually do). God forgives even our stupidity when we bow humbly before him.
And now from Scripture, the Lord call us to welcome and love and share His grace and mercy with ALL.
from Romans 3:21-31
"But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished--he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. "Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law."
Romans has a great deal to say about cultural brokering and racial reconciliation. Godspeed.
This book shows how your beliefs can be tested. Who are you really? It doesn't pose the question of faith, but makes a believer question what does God desire of you in such situations?
I have pages of notes, but will offer only one here from page 19 -- Candido's wife, America, has gone into the city to try and find some sewing work. It was a wild goose chase and she got lost in the process. It was her first real trip to the city, especially alone and she was shocked and amazed. (Candido and America are illegal Mexicans in California.) "A gabacho sat on the sidewalk with his long hair and begged for change and the sight of him struck her with holy terror: if he had to beg in his own country, what chance was there for her?"
These are a few quotes and occasionally my thoughts on quotes from Orlando Crespo's Being Latino in Christ: Finding Wholeness in Your Ethnic Identity, Downers Grove, IL: InterVaristy Press, 2003.
from p 73 -- "Jesus was not acultural or nonethnic. The Son of God was incarnated into a specific culture. He recognized and ahered to many cultural guidelines and boundaries, even though he was always stretching them."
Jesus often kept within the cultural boundaries because He knew that it was the best way to serve and reach out to those within that culture. People respond better to love and understanding than a forcible "I like you and want to help you, you'd be better off like me" attitude.
from p 88 -- "In the end we cannot stop ourselves from functioning as cultural beings. As we interact with one another and with God, all of these external in internal cultural patterns are present whether we want to admit it or not."
from p 90-- "as followers of Christ we must invite God to reveal all of our cultural values, beliefs and customs so that they can be conformed into his image."
My culture isn't the only one, nor is it the right one.