Editor’s note: Bailey Jo Josie interned at the Courier-Herald for several months as part of her graduation requirement at Western Washington University. At the beginning of the internship, she learned she was accepted into the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program, which means she will be teaching English overseas for the foreseeable future. This is her final internship article for the Courier-Herald.
In one month I’ll be moving to Japan and it honestly can’t get here fast enough. Not because I want a change of scene or because I get a cool job right out of college or because I want to hurry up and get my student loans paid off (these are all true) but because I’m just sick of the waiting. Tom Petty was right. It’s the hardest part. This is torture.
Here’s some context to help you understand my impatience: In September 2016, I started the application process for a job in Japan as an assistant language teacher or ALT. The amount of documents I had to gather and the painstakingly meticulous details I had to put into every application was enough to make me pop a blood vessel from the stress.
The deadline for the documents was in November and from there I had to sit and wait. Wait, and agonize over every syllable in my personal statement and every error I made – be they real or imagined. The first steps in my post-college life were riding on whether or not I was deemed good enough for the job. Countless people all over the world apply for the job every year and only a tiny fraction are accepted.
It took three months for me to hear anything and the minute I saw the message that I was picked for an interview, I screamed at the top of my lungs, scaring the bejesus out of my husband, our cat and probably the horrible neighbors next door who I hate.
I spent the next few weeks scouring the Internet for any and all tips on how to nail my interview and when the big day came, I ended up just telling the panel of interviewers my life growing up in rodeo. It was surreal and made me relax a bit like, really? You guys really want to know about team roping and barrel racing? OK, easy. I felt surprisingly at peace on my drive back home, after hearing horror stories from friends of how emotionally drained they were once their interview was over; I felt the complete opposite. I was completely energized and was left with a tiny bit of hope that I might get the job.
It took another month and half or so before I was notified that I was on the shortlist. OK, so I got the job (yay!) but I wasn’t out of the woods yet – there was and still is so much paperwork that I have to tackle before I even get to the airport as well as some added stresses. I ask you, what does someone who has an obscene number of movies, comic books and collectibles do when they’re told they have to basically get rid of everything they own? I guess that’s what your parents’ home is for: free storage.
All this stress has taken a bit of a backseat recently, though. I finally found out where I’ll be living, which will be in the Miyazaki prefecture (Japan’s version of a state), which is off the large, southern island of Kyushu. It’s going to be hot and sunny almost every day and I’ll figuratively be surrounded by surfers, wild horses and mangoes. Every photo I’ve seen has been nothing but beautiful and interesting and, from what I understand, there is a lot of ancient history there. I’m definitely gonna be getting a Vespa.
The wheels are turning and now I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere with this next step of my life. I started this journey a long time and I’m now in the home stretch. In two months I’ll be on a plane heading toward a new adventure and the waiting is almost over. In the meantime, I guess I’ll just relax and make sure I get as much quality time with friends and family as I can because pretty soon I’ll be waiting to see all of them again.
Awesome; future waiting. The ride never ends.