A taxi driver a few weeks ago asked if I was from Italy. A shopkeeper in town thought I was from Israel. You get a lot of stares here, and though you also get used to it after a while, I think often about how being both an American and a New Yorker has spoiled me. When I step out of my front door back home, it almost never occurs to me that the infinite variety of people I see aren't also those same things.
Homogeneous societies have always kind of given me the heebie-jeebies.
In any case, things are... not great. Without exploding into a ridiculous, foaming at the mouth rant, I'll just say that this school is a joke. It would barely receive accreditation in the US as a vocational school, certainly not as a college or a university in a million years, and I am not learning anything. And given that I've essentially put my education on hold to come here, when I could be graduating this year, given the amount of money I paid to get here, given the amount of time I am stuck here... I am not happy.
I've been trying to study as best as I can, on my own, trying to prepare for the JLPT exam next year, but it's difficult. Made more trying when this town has become small, resources few and my options for exploration exhausted, and my host family beginning to grate on my nerves. They're very nice people, and have done a lot for me, but three months of living in a stranger's house, after two years of having my own place, I'm desperate for some breathing room.
I have trouble functioning when I don't have a place of comfort and safety, a place that's mine to retreat to.
I could have chosen to go home early, pull the plug on this miserable situation and go back to my country, where things make sense. But my school isn't expecting me back until next fall, which would mean eight months of sitting around my parents' house. And I know, ultimately, I'd regret it.
So I sold a handful of my Apple stocks, that I'd been holding onto since I worked there. I decided that, if I was going to make as much as I could of this year, I was going to travel as much as that money, and any time outside of school, would allow me.
So I've booked a trip for winter break, starting this week. I've got plans floating around for spring break.
My family is visiting, in March.
I found an apartment of my own, for next semester.
I'm making plans. I doubt the animosity toward this school will fade anytime soon, but I'm trying to keep my frustration from overflowing into hate for this entire country.
If nothing else, this year will be informing. And one way or another, I'll get through it.