The weather is re-cooling off. The humidity here is something else, though. Good thing T-town prepared me for it. :) Last night I came home from work, crashed into a nap, then Peter, a friend of mine from OC and an AET in Mito, called and we got to have a good talk. It was so good to just compare notes and express the stresses I'm feeling with someone who completely understands. Peter is known far and wide as a wonderful guy who everyone loves and respects, so I consider it a tremendous blessing to have him here as a friend. I'll admit to you guys that this is not as easy as I thought it'd be. I thought I was prepared and knew what to expect, and in many senses I was prepared, but that doesn't make it as less difficult. When I worked with international students at OC I understood some of the Japanese mindset, and when I was around it too much it could wear on my nerves... well now I'm around it alllllll the time. Don't get me wrong-- there are also great advantages to being in the Japanese culture. I just feel like I should be honest on my blog, and not gloss over everything with a "wow this place is amazing I'm never going to leave and I can't believe it took me so long to get here" type of portrayal. It is good, and I am so glad to be having this experience, but it is difficult. Peter helped me put it in perspective, though. He said that whenever he spoke to Bailey about coming, Bailey always referenced it as his "Japanese adventure." When you look at this as an adventure it makes things seem much more do-able and tolerable. In an adventure you don't know what to expect, but you can look forward to it. In an adventure things don't always go perfectly or as planned, but that's what makes it adventuresome. So when I think about this as my adventure it sounds much more manageable than as "MY LIFE." :) Thinking of this as MY LIFE is definitely scary. My life makes it sound like I should be in control of everything and know exactly what will happen next and what to expect... and that is definitely not the case at all. :) That Peter kid sure is a smart one... I am eternally grateful for his listening ear and empathetic advice.
After talking to Peter I felt better about life in general and watched Spiderman. Then I talked to Alina and Ian and his sister for a while, then Izumi called me. She had heard through the grapevine that I was feeling a little overwhelmed and wanted to check on me (the gaijin grapevine moves fast!). She told me that she's feeling the same way right now, with reverse culture shock. I can believe it. This is a crazy place. :) Thank God for good friends.