Tuesday, January 08, 2008

January 20th

Do you know why this post is titled January 20th? Do you know why I'm really really looking forward to that date? Because I found out that starting January 20th the light starts to come back and I'm really really excited about that. Mostly because it means spring will be coming along, and spring means good things. Spring has become a kind of symbol for me, like maybe it's going to be the best part of exchange, though right now, it doesn't really feel that way.

I've been feeling really down lately. Just kind of blah. Apparently, I'm not being social enough which is what people keep telling me. My host mom, my host sister. In fact yesterday I had a conversation over dinner that went something like this:

Me:"What do you want me to talk about?"
Raisa: "Oh anything"
Guest: "Life here...are you bored?"
Me:(Forgetting that the words for "boring" and "To miss" are similiar)"Very bored"
Raisa: "You say it's boring here, but you never call your friends and go do anything. you sit at home and do nothing"
Me:"Oh, no! I'm not bored, I meant to say that I miss my family."

And then somehow Raisa made arrangements for me to go ice skating with my host cousin this afternoon which I'm really hoping falls through. Not because I don't want to go ice skating, but I just don't want to go with him. I'd rather go with one of the girls I know and have actually hung out with and had a conversation with. Please don't make me go with my host cousin and his friends. Please! And I couldn't say "no I don't want to go" because that would've just reinforced the fact that I'm anti-social.

I think I'm failing as an exchange student. Recently I really have been trying to make an effort to call people and hang out with them. But apparently, it's not enough. I've really been missing my family lately. Actually it wasn't the holidays that set it off, it was Aita being here.

Having here here was both a good and bad thing. Like there were times I really enjoyed it, and times that I didn't. sometimes, I'd be sitting there with Raisa and Aita and I'd feel like part of a family, which was a good feeling, because I miss that feeling. Yet at other times I'd feel completely isolated, like I was just this random extra person in the house, just kind of there. Like Raisa and Aita would be having a mother-daughter moment and I'd feel awkward, like I was intruding. The other thing that was really hard for me, was the fact that they'd like go do things together, even mundane things and not even ask if I wanted to go. Like the other day the dog did something to her leg, and they were taking her to the vet and it was like, "we're taking the dog to get her leg checked, we'll be back later" and leave, not even thinking that maybe I would've liked to go and seen if and how taking the dog to get her leg checked was different than in America. Or maybe I would've liked to go, just to go.

Maybe that's my problem. Maybe that's why I sit around the house so much. I was trying to think of what I do in america. I mean, yeah, I hang out with my friends, but I do that in America less than you'd think. I realized part of the reason that I spend so much time in the house here is because I don't do any family function type things. Like in America I might go shopping with mom, or go do something with my parents, or grandparents. Here, I don't. It's kind of like Raisa and I are just two people who happen to be living in the same apartment, but we have our separete lives. Which is cool in some ways. It gives me a lot of freedom. Yet, I miss that feeling of family, because back home, my family is huge and obnoxious and they're a big part of my life, and I love them.

But then, maybe I am just anti-social and a bad exchange student. How would I know? It always makes me feel better when I hear that other exchange students are having the same social problems I am. It makes me feel less like a failure.

I talked to Raisa last night and I think I'm going to see about getting a new family. Not because Raisa's a bad host mom, but because I want to see how other families function and what's cultural, besides, I think that the change might do me some good. I'm hoping that the club can find me a family with some kids at home. I think I'd like that.

So once again, I'm playing the waiting game. I'm waiting for school to start back up, for my friend Nina to come back from her trip to Moscow, for my feelings of "blah" and cruddyness to go away, like I know they will eventually, waiting for spring, because I feel like everything will get better in the spring.


Bolot Bochkarev said...

Wow! )) I felt the same in America in the same period, winter time. That's cultural shock. When you miss, when everything around is not what you accustomed to see and understand. Cheer up!

I've got some proposals. From Jan. 14 till Feb. 15, four students (girls) will have internship in YakutiaToday.com . They are to translate stories of Yakutia from Russian into English. It would be hard for me to proofread their texts. English is not my first language, you know. You may help us. And find new friends. What do you think?

Margaret、マグ said...

Well Abigail, you mentioned it makes you feel better when other exchange students are having social problems: feel better, I can relate! I`m not a naturally social person, I`m just not. In America, I didn`t have many friends, but the friends I did have were extremely close. I`m not sure what it is about me, but I just don`t make friends as easily as others. I have become more social since I came to Japan, but still, by nature, I`m not a super social person, I`m independent, and sometimes just enjoy doing things on my own. I am continually suggesting to my friends that we should hang out, but it rarely works. Sometimes I hear about the other exchange students always going out with friends and having a grand old time, and it gets me down. But I just have to realize, that`s not my exchange, and that`s probably never going to be my exchange. I will do my best, I will be open with people, but I can`t force friendship. I guess I`m meant to get different things out of exchange than I expected. And much of what I have learned would not have been learned if I had no problems in this area. You can`t expect your exchange to be like anyone elses, it`s an extremely personal experience, and you may not get what you expected to get, but when times are tough, there`s a good chance to grow from it. Exchange is about growth, and you have spent, what, 5 months in a foreign and unknown land, away from everything you know and everyone you love, keep your chin up, because that`s quite a thing to claim to. This message was partly to myself, (I also have seven brothers, so I too miss my "huge, obnoxious" family.)And this wasn`t meant to be a "buck up" message, just an "it`s okay to have a different exchange, I can relate" message.

Margaret (rotexjapan07to08 on CS)