I have exactly 1 week left here in Japan, and it's been absolutely crazed... Giuli left last Wednesday, and then I started writing all my farewell speeches!
Last Friday morning was the closing ceremony (of 1st term) at Miyazu- as usual, it was a long, somber, drawn out event. But fortunately, my speech (more like a 2 minute message) came at the beginning, so I stood up there in front of hundreds of students (sitting on the floor of the gym) and gave my shaky speech... half in English, half in Japanese. As I said my final line "arigato gozaimashita" ("thank you") and bowed, a huge lump formed in my throat!
When I walked off the stage, all the students stood up and parted down the middle to allow me to walk down this aisle while they clapped. I almost cried again but some of my students cheered and called out my name or waved. I walked out of the gym, turned around, and bowed- and that was it. Tanaka-sensei was waiting for me outside and whisked me off to Kaiyo, where I would give a similar speech (all in Japanese) at their closing ceremony.
Ha, I thought I had lucked out at Miyazu for getting to miss most of the ceremony, but at Kaiyo, my speech was all the way at the end!!! I just stood there as endless teachers droned on, waiting for my turn. Finally I gave my speech/ message but I was surprised that the student body president also had a speech to me, memorized in English! Too bad he was never one of my students! Then the students parted again and clapped for me as I walked out of the gym.
The funny thing is, all they probably thought I was getting on a plane that night or the next day to go back to New York- but in fact, I am still sitting at my desk at Miyazu until July 30th, the last day of my contract! So the students see me at school or around town, and they think I just lied to them. It's kind of weird.
Anyway, Friday night, the festivities started.... The farewell party thrown by my teachers was held at the Amanohashidate Beer Garden (again!) but this time it was very civilized and well behaved. It was fun to see my English teachers from all 3 schools come together, along with various other teachers who joined in. Good clean fun and great to talk to some teachers who have been so busy for most of the year that this was the FIRST time I'd ever spoken to them!
The next day was the first time for me to sleep in, without visitors or guests, in over a month! It was fantastic to sleep in until... 9am. I was so stressed out with packing and cleaning my apartment!
Then, later on that evening, Jun and I headed over to Leigh's farewell party where Becky, Tom, Jason, and I were the guests of honor...
Another night of drunkenness which turned into a fun dance party! No fights and a few sad hugs at the end, but overall, a fantastic night of being with some of the good friends I had made here in Japan!
Those of you who know me- if I'm dancing, yes, that means I was drunk, VERY drunk.... Jun slept over and we got in bed about 4:30am. We slept in on Sunday until... 8:30am!!! What is my problem?!? We had some eggs and toast and she rushed off to get her day started and I woozily stood up and realized that I was still drunk! So the day I had planned for MASSIVE cleaning and packing turned into a hazy, dizzy day of naps and snacking and spurts of packing and/or cleaning.
I was dreading my 3rd night of drinking- my volleyball farewell party was that night! I left my house for the first time around 6:45pm and arrived at the restaurant where Keita was already anxiously awaiting his first drinking partner.
I thought I'd be able to make it to dinner and get home by 9pm, but people kept showing up!!! I mean, who shows up for dinner at 10pm, or 10:30pm?!? we ended up being there until 11:30... late for a Sunday night before school/work!
Since I still felt awful from the night before, I insisted on not drinking, which visibly disappointed Keita. However, that didn't stop him from drinking my share of drinks for the night!