~Skammie~

It’s been 3 months since the last time I’ve been on here.ย  I’ve even forgotten my password…

I believe that sometimes, emotional ups and downs are best relieved through writing. And not being the strongest writer myself (when have i ever liked writing for English classes?! NEVER!), perhaps that is what’s bringing out the writer in me today.

Life has not been fantastic these days. In short, I am now:

  • Without a plan to go to Japan (more on this in a later entry)
  • Without a clue what I’m going to do this year
  • Without a solid idea of what I want to study in Sep or Jan

For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m wasting it away. I’m left wondering (seemingly endlessly) What the heck am I gonna do with my life now?! God seems to be saying “no” to a lot of things these days, not that I’m blaming Him. But it really sucks that things I had been so certain of before…now exist as merely past aspirations, something to be accomplished…perhaps never. I really don’t know anything anymore. All I know for sure is God’s promise that never fails:

“For I know the plans I have for you,โ€ says the Lord. โ€œThey are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

All along, I know that God has been gracious enough to me. That while the disappointing reality of not going to Japan was settling in, He has provided for me 2 months of full time shifts working at the bank. That was a true blessing for me to search out my next step. But now those 2 months are coming to an end, and I feel like I am still stuck on the same square on the board game of Life. Sure I’ve sent out numerous resumes and cover letters, but to what effect? I have only heard back from one out of the ~30 that I’ve applied to. I had thought that this one job position was God’s genius plan, a close-by place where I’ve previously worked before. Although only a temporary position, it would be perfect for now! But from today’s interview with them, I’m pretty sure I’ve bombed it. No point at all counting on getting this job. I’ll just end up getting my hopes up again and then be badly disappointed with a speedy crash to rock bottom. From experience, that is the worst feeling, and nope, I won’t have that again if I can prevent it. Hence, my situation now has reverted back to empty waiting. For what? A job? A miracle? I really don’t know…but to wait for God and to continue trusting Him.

Another thing that prompted me to write today was because I had attended my first funeral service. It was for my friend from church, who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. I was not super close with him, but he was still a friend nonetheless. Of course, questions come bubbling up like a pot of boiling hot water. Why does this happen to a young man who has such a passion for searching out God? Why him who has a heart for sharing Christ with others? Why him who has only had a girlfriend for about 6 months? Why Andrew? Why?

Nobody but God knows the answers to those questions and so much more that are left unsaid. But one thing is certain, may God be glorified through all this. And He is. I could see His extraordinary healing power at work today, especially through Andrew’s girlfriend, Leanne. Although I do not know her personally, I could see that unmistakable calmness in her that can only come from Christ. Can I even term it “unnatural” or “unhuman-like”? Because it really is unimaginable that someone could be so full of joy in the midst of all the sadness around her. And it is truly genuine joy that radiated from her today, despite of the the loss of her boyfriend, whom I’m sure she has grown close to in their brief time together. It really is incredible to be able to witness such a strong woman of God who stands so firmly in the promises of the Bible that she was able to be smiling instead of shedding tears at the funeral service. As she said so herself: “Andrew is in Heaven with God now, what more can I ask for?” WOW! If it were me, I knew I would be “nonfunctional” as Cynthia puts it, so her statement of utmost peace, joy, and hope totally blew me away.

With my uncertain future that I have mentioned before, I can really learn from Leanne’s faith. True, I do not know what will happen even within the next couple of weeks. True, I am extremely discouraged by the lack of job offers. But I know Who is in control. I know that He has it worked out for me, and for the best too! God will take care of me as He takes care of the little sparrows. ๐Ÿ™‚ I pray that He will continue to give me peace like Leanne’s (which I’m sure He already has, or else I’d be very burnt out by now), and that I would come to accept whatever door He has opened for me. Who knows, it could be totally out of my imagination, and probably 10 times more exciting too! I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me!

ไปŠใ€ใฐใ‚“ใ”ใฏใ‚“ใฎๆ™‚ใ€ใฏใฏใซๅ‘Šๅˆฅๅผใฎใ“ใจใ‚’่ฉฑใ—ใŸใ€‚ใงใ‚‚ใ€โ€ไบบใŒๅฐ‘ใชใ„โ€ใจ่จ€ใฃใกใ‚ƒใฃใŸๆ™‚ใ€ใฏใฏใŒโ€่‹ฅใ„ใ ใ‹ใ‚‰ๅ‹้”ใŒๅฐ‘ใชใ„โ€ใจๆ€ใฃใฆใ€โ€ใ‚ใชใŸใฎๅฝผใ ใฃใŸใ‚‰ใ€ๅŒใ˜ใฎใ‚ˆใ†ใซไบบใŒๅฐ‘ใชใ„ใงใ—ใ‚‡ใ†๏ผŸโ€ใจ่จ€ใฃใŸใ€‚ใ™ใใ€็งใ€็†ฑใใชใฃใฆใ€ๆณฃใ„ใŸใ€‚ใ”ใฏใ‚“ใ‚‚้ฃŸในใŸใใชใ‹ใฃใŸใ€‚ใชใœใฏใฏใฏใใ‚“ใชใ—ใŒใช่จ€่‘‰ใ‚’่ฉฑใ™๏ผŸใ„ใ‚‰ใชใ„ใ‚“ใ ใ‚ˆ๏ผๆ„ๅœฐๆ‚ชใใชใ‚ŠใŸใ„ใงใฏใชใ„ใจๅˆ†ใ‹ใ‚‹ใ‘ใฉใ€็งใฎๆฐ—ๆŒใกใ‚‚่€ƒใˆใชใ‹ใฃใŸใ€‚ใฏใฏใฎ่จ€่‘‰ใฏใƒŠใ‚คใƒ•ใฎใ‚ˆใ†ใซใ€ๅฟƒใ‚’ๅˆ‡ใฃใฆใ€็—›ใ‹ใฃใŸใ‚ˆ๏ผใงใ‚‚๏ผŒๆ€’ใฃใฆใชใ„ใ€‚ๆ‚ฒใ—ใใฆๆ€–ใ‹ใฃใŸใ ใ‘ใชใ‚“ใ ใ€‚
ใใ‚Œใฏใ€ไปŠๆ—ฅใฎๆณฃใ„ใŸๆ™‚ใฎไธ‰็•ชๅใ ใฃใŸใ€‚ๆ˜Žๆ—ฅ็›ฎใŒๅคงไธˆๅคซใ‹ใช๏ฝž

I had thought that this next post of the ๆ—ฅๆœฌใซ่กŒใใž๏ฝž series would announce my acceptance into JET. But nope, I have given up hope. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Let’s backtrack. A month and a bit ago, I received a letter from the Consulate General of Japan. Mom told me about it on the phone while I was at work, so I was super excited, expecting to be THE letter. I rushed home to open it…the first words that met my eyes: “Invitation to the JET Preparation Seminar”. I scanned through the first page, and the next, and the next, hoping for the good news to pop up any time.

It never came.

The whole letter package was just to inform me of this seminar, a reception , and to promote those courses to help you learn Japanese and how to teach English. The reception was to “celebrate you participation in the JET programme”. OK, that obviously excludes me. And I don’t have much interest in those courses. The Preparation Seminar though, seemed useful. The topics were as follow:

  • Now to Tokyo – What to prepare
  • Your First Month In Japan – What to expect
  • Money and Taxes – self explanatory
  • Culture Shock – How to deal with it
  • Living in Japan Workshop
  • Working in Japan Workshop
  • General Q&A

After checking that Alternate JETs can participate in this, I registered. I figured, even if JET doesn’t accept me, this should still be helpful when I go to Japan. Because i will go, one way or another. ๐Ÿ˜€

So then a month ago, I went to this Preparation Seminar. It was quite a formal work conference with everyone dressed in very proper business attire. The agenda for the day (9:40-5:00) was laid out for us; it was a rigorous schedule with set break times in between.

After hearing a speech, we played a BINGO ice-breaker game. It was there that I found out there were other Alternate JETS there! In fact, there were about 5 of us out of ~35 people there. I was encouraged when some ex- and current JETs told me that I’ll probably get in. “Just keep waiting! Even start packing your bags!” I was hopeful! …but not quite to the point of actually packing my bags already.

The seminars were more well done than I had expected! The speakers were all animated people, very funny and created a relaxing mood while being informative at the same time. For example, I learned that maple cookies and ketchup chips make good omiyage to bring there. I also learned that instead of signatures, the Japanese people use a stamp, called “inkan”, for everything. And also of course, important things like getting a “gaijin” card (foreigner’s card) and how to obtain an International Drivers Permit.

The 2 workshops were a little different. Instead of speakers presenting to us, we were split up into groups of ~10 to discuss possible sticky situations that may arise. These situations were the worse case scenarios, which hopefully doesn’t happen too often, but I did manage to learn from them. The main message was to make sure things are communicated properly to avoid misunderstandings, and one way to do that was to get everything confirmed in writing. Yep, definitely a good lesson for me.

So if you ever get a chance to attend a JET Preparation Seminar, I strongly suggest that you do! It was beneficial, no doubt!~

————————————–

Alternate JETs usually get bumped up to short-listed JETs by mid July via a phone call. It’s now 1 week passed that, and I have already given up hoping to be contacted by JET. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Therefore, I have moved onto my 2nd option from long ago: Missions with OMF.

A week ago, I submitted my preliminary form, and have already been contacted by them. In fact, just yesterday, I met up with the Pacific Region Coordinator, Phoebe, and Pat, a missionary who has served in Japan for many years. It was a causal chat, discussing some of my interests in ministry, some of the needs of Japan, and some things I will need to consider and pray hard about. Although I don’ t know what the next step is, or if they will even take me, God is definitely in control and leading me somewhere. Where He shuts one door, He will open another. I’m excited to see what He has planned for me; it probably will be so much better than I can ever imagine! ๐Ÿ˜€

Tsubasa’s section from this post!

He talks about the joys (eg. seeing old friends) and pains (eg. sleeping for 2 hours) of filming for “Neverland”, his first drama with a main role. He also mentions singing karaoke with his senpai, wanting to get his driver’s license asap, and joining a soccer team but never going to practices!

Edging (Tsubasa Imai)

As of Wednesday, May 21, I have officially become an alumni of the University of British Columbia; more specifically a graduate of the Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Sciences Program!! ๐Ÿ˜€

My convocation ceremony started at 8:30 am, and we had to be at school at 7:00 to get our gowns and everything ready. Adding on the make-up time and the travel time (usually ~1 hr), resulted in me waking up at 5:00 am! I don’t even remember when was the last time I have woken up THAT early! Daven was my personal chauffeur ^^ (Thanks for getting breakfast ready too~) and because of the lack of traffic, we got to school 20 minutes early! But other people gradually came and we made our way to the Graduate Center to get our gowns.

Lots and lots of people there, approximately 400! We got our black gowns and our sash for our degree. We had to pin the sash on our gowns though with bobby pins. I became an expert at pinning them from underneath (so they were not visible), and did it for at least 5 people. LOL~ Then we lined up according to our degrees and then alphabetically. In my convocation session, which was the very first one this year, we were celebrating the graduation of lawyers and doctors…so my degree was SO insignificant in comparison ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Oh well, I guess there was also midwifery which was even smaller ๐Ÿ˜› .

We made our way to the Chan’s Center for the ceremony…with LOTS of waiting time outdoors. It was sorta chilly, but I survived. We finally made it in and sat down. Next, the faculty members and professors came in. They wore the most ridiculous gowns ever!!! HAHA. Seriously, some of them could have come straight out of the Robin Hood fairy tale! Anyway, the ceremony started with speeches from a few people, like the President. I was pretty much border-line asleep during those talks =.= Finally, they started calling the graduating class to walk across the stage. Partway through, I REALLY needed to use the washroom BADLY because I didn’t manage to go beforehand! My program was within the last ~30 students to be called up…and let me tell you, that was not fun when your bladder is about to explode ><! When it was my turn, I felt like I speed-walked across the stage…And there goes my 5 seconds of fame in UBC history.

After the ceremony ended, I darted to the washroom straight away! When I came back out, I found myself in a sea of people…without my cellphone, which I had left in the car!! I searched for any familiar faces and thankfully spotted Gloria. Bad news was that she didn’t have a cell either, so we stuck to each other and finally found our parents. And of course, here is where all the snapping of photos take place.

When we were satisfied, we returned our gowns and headed to the BMLSc reception. Hurray for food!! ๐Ÿ™‚ We had a time of 1. Faculty presenting recognitions to our class (with Krista getting 3 of the 7 plaques…and me getting none >< ) and 2. Our class presenting gifts to the faculty. Afterwards, we just hung around and chatted and took even more pictures!

So while it was not the most interesting and entertaining ceremonies, it was definitely worth remembering!
Pictures here for memories sake ๐Ÿ™‚

My Japanese came in handy for the first time today at the bank where I work as a teller! ๐Ÿ˜€ But I haven’t practiced in ages, so the conversation could have been a lot better. For example, I should have used more honorific forms of words instead of the casual forms (I stopped myself just in time from saying “Gomen” instead of “Sumimasen”), and the sentences could have actually been structured to BE in sentence format. Oh well, it still made me feel great~

Actually, she wasn’t even my customer; she was my co-worker’s customer. My co-worker asked me a general question, and as I answered, I glanced at the customer’s profile on the computer screen and saw that the name was a Japanese one. I gathered up the courage and tried to strike up a conversation IN JAPANESE with the ~60 year-old lady (the following was all Nihongo de):

Me: Ah, so are you Japanese?
Her: Yes…Oh, you are too….?
Me: No…I’m not. I just learned it…
[She was getting a new bank card and said a whole bunch of stuff in Japanese, which I had to half guessed to follow along…but the basic idea was that she thinks she left her old one in the ABM accidentally when she was doing transactions there the other day.]
Me; Ah, is that so…?
Her: Yes, but that one was an old card that I had…
Me: Well, now we’ll give you a new one so it’ll be better too!
Her: Yes, it’ll be better. ๐Ÿ™‚
[And then my co-worker came back and wanted me to explain to her how to change her PIN number of her new bank card, I was (very) hesitant but I told her I’d TRY my best *fingers crossed*)]
Me: This is your PIN number right now. If you go to the machine, you can change it. When you put the card in there, and then you press these numbers, you have an option to change your PIN number.
Note: all the underlined words were actually spoken in English! Haha, wow, that did not go over too well, but she actually got what I was trying to say *wipes sweat off brows*
Me: Sorry, my Japanese is still terrible. ><
Her: No no, It’s alright!
[In the end, I asked her to sign the receipt (“Sign shite kudasai~)” and she seemed quite happy that I have helped her ^^]

After the customer left, I asked my co-worker if her English was really that bad. She told me that yes, she had trouble explaining some stuff to her, and for her to explain that she can change the PIN number at the machine…that was nearly impossible!

So now, I can boast that my limited level of Japanese has FINALLY come in useful at work! ๐Ÿ˜€ Yatta~

Wow, 2 major changes in my life has happened since I last updated:

  • Done the VERY last final exam of my Bachelor’s degree!!! I’m finally free! Well, for now anyway…
  • I have to cross off “boyfriend hunting” from my list of “things to do in Japan”. Hm, I guess you can figure out what THAT means ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s gonna be tough if/when I’m in Japan, but we’ll do our best, right? ^_~

I’ll spare you the details of those 2 points and move onto something that is probably more interesting to you than my life. And that is…Tackey’s translation from Taiwan Wink Up Oct 2001.

He talks about wanting to drive a convertible when he’s old, crying if his wife runs off, and back-dancing for KAT-TUN?!

Six Ideal Images (Hideaki Takizawa)

“Dear Sarah,
This letter is to inform you that you have been selected as an ALTERNATE ALT candidate for the 2008 JET Programme. Alternates may be informed of an available position at any time up to the second week of December, 2008…

Are you SERIOUS?!?! No, I’m not mad that I didn’t quite make the cut (I know it’s subjective anyway), but that I may have to wait until DECEMBER to know if I will finally get bumped up or not?! That’s just ridiculous!! It’s like they think people have no life but to wait around for them or something. Now what am I supposed to do?! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I wonder if I would have felt any better if they had told me right away that they had rejected me. And stupid big fat envelope got my hopes up too when I saw it…

I guess I have no choices left now but to:

  • Confirm that “yes, I accept the alternate candidacy and will wait for any availabilities, although it’s plain stupid that I may have to wait THAT long ><
  • Start applying for my 2nd choice: OMF
  • (And depending on how OMF responds, start seriously looking into possible 3rd choices)

Ah, and it’s finals season again! I’m in no mood to get going on those tasks. But if I can squeeze out a bit of time from my studies, I really should get cracking on planning the next stage of my life. *sigh* I absolutely HATE how things are up in the air like this, but I guess it really forces me to trust God through it all.

Anyway, good luck to all my fellow test-takers! Ganbatte!~

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