Thankful for My World

Some of the merry crew on a trip post-Christmas a few years back. More blessed time spent all together :)

Today in the United States it is Thanksgiving Day. Most people around the world see it as a holiday where we Americans stuff our faces and scream at the TV when our football team fumbles, and it’s true, that’s always been a part of my family’s celebrations.

But we also know that we are lucky to be here, in a country where so many different kinds of people are accepted and free to believe and live in the ways they see fit, and above all we know just how lucky we are to have a large and loving family to support each of us any time we may need it. My family is loud and opinionated and politics are strictly forbidden at any holiday table (for good reason!),but we always know that no matter what, we have each other and we absolutely love any excuse to all get together and be crazy where no one is around to judge (because believe me, they would!). Thanksgiving and Christmas are really the only holidays that happens anymore as all the kids (including myself) grow older and so we cherish this time more than any other. In short, we are thankful.

This is the part that a lot of people don’t realize about THANKS-GIVING. And though there is the monthly countdown list people keep of what they are thankful for, a lot of times as the days wear on, they forget why they even bother in the first place and have to play “catch up”. But I believe that being thankful for the people and the gifts you are given in life should be more than one item on your list per November day, but should be a mindset almost. I realize this won’t always happen, as human beings we will never be able to always be grateful for that dang blister or that burnt toast (flippin’ toaster!). I know I’m not. But I was very moved by the challenge The Ripples Guy (aka Paul Wesselman, find him on facebook or youtube or twitter he’s seriously AMAZING!

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s true what all of those motivational pins say on Pintrest and Tumblr. Happiness is a mindset, and you have the power right now to choose happiness. Thanksgiving is a reminder of all that we have to be thankful for, and hopefully it is a little easier today to choose to be happy as we stuff ourselves with turkey and gravy, despite the Packers losing horribly this morning (darn…) So by all means make your list, but look at it every day and remind yourself that no matter how dark it seems in your personal tunnel, there is something in your life that will get you through. Sunshine is always brighter once you step out of the darkness and all that. :)

When in doubt, just say: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and at least you have a lot to say! (But better use it carefully or it could change your life!) Then say: “I choose to be happy! YAY!” And laugh because you are talking to yourself, just like me. Lucky you! :) Have a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving and a whole rest of your wonderful life!

What are you thankful for in your life? Is there anything bad or scary that has had something good come of it? (For example: I am thankful I got shots despite being seriously terribly terrified of needles, because it means I am one step closer to my biggest dreams!)

Ja ne!

About Me, American Culture, Holidayschoices, family, friends, , holidays, life, Thanksgiving

Interac Phone Interview VIDEO Up!

Interac Application and Phone Interview

Hey all!

So today I thought I would go and let you all know what to expect from applying to one of the main providers of ALT’s in Japan. (That’s Assistant Language Teacher for those of you who missed the last post!) Interac! Yaaaay! As I am now about 2/3rds of the way through their interview process I felt it was okay to start this now. :)

So you first have to go to their website and fill out their online application.This isn’t hard at all, it’s all just usual application/resume stuff, but make sure you do it carefully! You are now officially applying to teach English in a foreign country so getting your spelling and grammar correct would probably be a good idea! There is also an essay at the end of the application so make sure you take your time and plan it all out well. Remember those bubble maps you used to make in school? Yeah, those are useful anyway you look at it.

Next Interac will give you a phone call! They just want to go over your application with you and ask any questions about what you have written down or get you to complete something you may have forgotten or overlooked. They are always seriously helpful that way. So don’t freak out too much if you missed the call, myself included I don’t know of ANYONE who has actually not had to call them back later after work or something. It’s not your interview and they are asking about information that should be true, seeing as you put it on your application, so it’s really no sweat at all.

ImageIf they like your app the next thing they do on that phone call is to schedule your phone interview! Congratulations! I found it really helpful to compile a list of questions I had found around the internet and to really think about them and answer them the day before the call. That way you sound super prepared (because you are!) and you can focus on being your cheery teacher self! The whole phone interview process is really chill and the questions are basic and pretty much to be expected. Know why you want to be an English teacher and why you want to go to Japan to do it. Be familiar with the company you are potentially going to be committing yourself to for a year and you are pure gold! Now, if all goes well here the recruiter you are talking to will invite you to the last stage in their blessedly quick interview process: the seminar/demo lesson/in-person interview.

Here my details get hazy seeing as I have yet to enter this much-dreaded-yet-still-everyone-says-it’s-fun stage but they spend pretty much the last half of your phone interview telling you alllll about it and how to prepare for it. You get a very long email inviting you to it and giving you all the information you need to prepare for it. Basically, my first impression is that they sincerely want to give you every opportunity for them to hire you. I love that this company seems to want you to succeed while I have heard (again, I don’t know for sure!) but I have heard that interviewing for other companies/programs is seriously intimidating! As I just sent in my freakishly huge paper packet that was my JET application, I guess I’ll maybe find out all about that too!

Needless to say I well and truly freaked myself out about the phone interview and breathe a little faster any time I see an email from a Japan related company in my inbox but nothing that’s not quickly squashed when I actually get the job done. I haven’t started panicking about the seminar yet (December 7th!!!) but am actually very excited about my 3rd grade warm-up activity. It’s gonna be AWESOME! (I am also very easily amused but feel as if I will be surrounded by people of my own kind at this place.) Here’s hoping all goes well!

Ja ne!

One World, One Girl

Hey all!

This is just a small little introduction to me. I don’t expect many people to be all that interested, the only people reading this

Welcome on my journey :)
Welcome on my journey :)

probably already know me just as well as I do. But I am going to be doing something extraordinary in my life pretty soon, at least in my opinion. I will be leaving my safe, wonderful community here in southern California and moving around the world with two suitcases and a carry-on. In short, I’m going to become an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) in a public school in Japan!

And this, I honestly want to share with everybody because I 1.) want to preserve the memories, 2.) want everybody I know and love in the grand ol’ U.S. of A. to know what I am up to and not worry (once I actually leave), and 3.) I think it’s worth talking about! Right now, everything is still far enough away as to be unreal. The application/interview processes to actually have a job when I get there are ongoing. And pretty much excitement trumps fear for the next 4 months or so (April 2014, oh that’s sooo far away!) but I think I will need to write about it when that sets in, and right now I need to write about it so I don’t just explode all over the room from not screaming this opportunity from the rooftops!

There are two main programs I am applying to. JET and Interac. The main difference is that JET is sponsored by the Japanese government and pays better. But Interac is more likely to put me into an elementary school and actually hire me! Pros and cons all around. :)

I first got the idea to teach abroad from an SCTA meeting at my college (thanks Dr. Hawkins!) and she had told a story about her former students in JET. I originally thought about international American schools because I would be an actual elementary teacher, not just an English teacher. But you need a credential for that and that wasn’t in the cards this spring so I fell upon the idea of teaching English. It was always my strongest subject anyway and there are far more job options in the field. Next I just had to decide where!

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? It seems most everyone has an answer to this and for all of my life I would always scream: CHINA! However, everyone but my grandma had an issue with this it seems. (Communism and all that. Whatever.) So I went with my second most favorite place: JAPAN! So now everyone is happy that I’m going to the safest country in the world (though you can bet your socks I am making that side visit to China!) and I am endeavoring to learn some of the language! Yikes! New alphabet and grammar structure, no sweat right? But since learning about the ALT position and with the knowledge that I can actually be a part of the public school system Japan has quickly become my very first choice! (And if I come back loaded down with Pokemon stuff, who can complain about that too?)

Anywho, I started this blog because I think my life is soon going to get way more exciting and scary than I can handle alone and so poof! Here it all goes into the void that is the WWW. Going to Japan has been a dream of mine for a long time now, and I can’t wait to actually make something this big a reality. After all, if your dreams don’t scare you, you’re not dreaming big enough!

Ja ne!