Thursday, August 25, 2005

Slight modification to the program

Announcement at next Saturday's party:
"Ladies and gentleman, before the festivities begin, we'd like to make one small change to the Program. Please go to the title page, and remove "And Welcome" from the original title of "Farewell and Welcome Party." Thank you for your cooperation, and bring out the beer!"

Unfortunately, instead of a new teacher coming in to our school, we will be getting an Emergency Teacher for the next few months. It seems that our recruit was cut from training camp early on in the game, to our great disapointment. I guess all in all, considering there is usually someone who does not survive the Omiya boot camp, there is always a 10-15% chance of not actually getting the teacher you're expecting... I guess it was just our turn. Too bad.

On to other news!

Typhoons number 11 and 12 are rumbling our way... 11 has already started to dump rain on us, though the winds aren't so bad yet. This one is about twice the size of the Typhoon which hit us last month, and this one is moving really slowly... around 15kph, which means it will sit over us for a long time and dump massive ammounts of rain. I only hope the weather clears up before Monday, I would like to go visit Richard in Tokyo while he's there, and maybe say hey to Marissa and see how's she's holding up after the training fiasco.


Earlier this week, I had my first real twinge of longing for home, and it's all Sherry's fault. You see, Sherry is my ex-girlfriend and current-friend, (No the two are not mutually exclusive as some may think) and she has a blog much like mine, but about daily life or whatever pops into her head, just like most blogs out there. Well the other day, she posted an entry about how she can feel Fall coming back home and how certain smells remind her of really vivid memories from the past. Of course, this immediately got my mind thinking.

The first smell which comes to mind is the musty smell you get in the woods in Autumn, as the fallen leaves are starting to decompose. It's difficult to explain if you've never been out there, especially after a little rain... it's such a clean and fresh smell... it's amazing. Then I started remembering... Waking up at 4AM, picking up my friend John and heading out to Calabogie for a day of hiking and hunting... stopping at the Antrim truck stop for an amazing breakfast and a dozen coffees while it's still dark outside... getting to Eagle's Nest in Calabogie just as the sun is about to appear over the horizon... getting the shotguns out and loaded, the boots on, and just before heading out, in the last few moments when you're just double-checking everything and not really making much sound, having that feeling that "This is it", that perfect moment of clarity where things actually make sense... the stillness of the woods, the wind blowing through the trees and then the forest coming to life with the sun... chipmunks, foxes, birds and the odd beaver running through their daily routines... and just being there to experience it. Fantastic!

The next smell that came to mind was the smell of my clothes when I come back from camping. Somehow, every item of clothing becomes permeated with the hickory smoky smell of the campfires from the time spent in the bush... which brought on the following memories.... Waking up in the morning to find dew (or frost) accumulated on the rain fly of my hammock... slipping out of the hammock and making my way down to the lake... the perfect stillness of the lake like a mirror... and then the surface of the water being broken by a pair of loons fishing in the early morning... their gorgeous, sorrowful cries... another moment of absolute clarity.... sitting around a campfire talking all night on a little island on Lake Travers... good friends, good conversation, solving the world's problems one at a time over a couple of beers.... perking up instantly and scrambling to the lakeside as we hear the howling of wolves on some distant shore... howling back and getting a response from a chorus of 8-12 wolves... our howls echoing through the night... the fading of their howls as they move away from us, affraid of our horrible wolfish pronunciation no doubt :-)

Fall has got to be my favourite season of all. Heading out into Algonquin Park for 5 days last September was absolutely fantastic and something I will never forget. Hearing that Pat and Sean are planning another trip out in the next few weeks makes me want to join them. It's just an amazing feeling to be out there at this time of year because there is no one out there but you, the trees, the water and the wildlife. Fall will be fantastic here, being so close to the mountains and such. I think I just really missed being out in the woods over the summer and experiencing those moments of clarity, the thought of the wonderful skiing coming up is the only thing keeping me sane! (At least from a nature-lover's perspective...)

Speaking of moments of clarity where time seems to stand still, thinking back, I've experienced two such moments since coming to Japan.... at least two that I remember. The first was standing at the base of the steps to Saimyo-ji temple in Mashiko and gazing up the stairs which have been used for 1200 years to access the temple at the top. The second was almost 2 weeks ago, standing on the front of the ferry taking us from Shiogama to Matsushima, the wind whipping at my face, the beauty surrounding us, and then as we left the shelter of the islands being able to look out at the open sea... amazing.


I think this may be the start of the famous cyclical homesickness thing they warn us about. I think I've got my head screwed on right and that it will be a pretty tame event... but in the last few days I have seriously been re-thinking some things which I thought were almost a done deal in my head. The major example is my contract renewal, which is coming up in a few months. I was seriously considering extending for another 6 months, but am now reconsidering... maybe 3 months would be better... keep my options open. I would like to start looking into joining the Canadian Foreign Service, which would allow me to travel and yet have me back home on some kind of regular rotation... at government expense of course. I think that would be a totally kick-ass job! I guess after breathing only Japan for the last year and a half (since I started planning this little excursion) It's time for me to start looking at where the rest of my life is heading. I seriously think that alot of it will depend on what happens in the next few months here. Now that I am well settled in and am enjoying life here, who knows who I will meet or what will happen. I am now actively seeking companionship, which will make a huge difference in my life here. I think that is the only major hole left in my life here.

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Anonymous Sherry Bobbins said...

MY fault? How is it MY fault?! I didnt even know if you still read my blog or not. It was not even meant to be that sentimental. It was just a crappy, pathetic and thoughtless entry. Somehow it got me #4 top blog for that day though! Strange how things affect people!

Be prepared for my trying to get you home earlier than November 2006 :) You WILL be home for my wedding boy, you just will :D

I will have to send you leaves in the mail once they start turning and so on. Mouhouahahahah!

Just joking, I miss you and I love you very much and just want you to be happy over there. You will find a girl, never as good as I am mind you, and things will brighten up! Just dont go for married ones, attached ones, or ones with kids. You deserve better, you deserve more, and you definitely deserve to be happy!

You are one of my favourite people and if you are not happy I will have to come and kidnap you and bring you home.


Miss you

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michel, I know what it is like to have a teacher not show up to the school. I've been there and done that. Look at from this perspective: at least she/he isn't going to the school to give you trouble and heartbreak who in the end will probably not work out and ruin all that is good at the school. I know what you mean about training being hard. On the plus side though was that once I got to the school things were easier and that made things a whole lot better. You'll get to work with someone who will be helpful with a lot of experience. Should be good, right?

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Algonquin Bros. said...

The trip will not be the same without you. Who is going to split the log-bitch duties? "LOG! L-A-W-G-G, LOG!!"
We'll set an extra chair by the fire in your honor. We may have found an acceptable replacement for the Wandering Wench, since her contributions did not compensate for her MANY issues. The replacement is (as yet) unnamed. We'll be sure to send along pictures, and "air travel safe" souveniers to tide you over. Pat says not to worry, he'll look after your share of the Beer. I guess that just leaves me with your traditional Smirnof stock. It'll be tough, but I'll manage.


May your boat be sound, your keel straight, and there always be a light from shore to guide you.

12:33 PM  

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