That first night in the city, we all went out for a nice dinner together, in which I bonded with
Case in point: After dinner Kelly and I ate our way across the city. Pretty much every eating establishment from the restaurant to our hotel was hit up. I was so full I couldn’t walk in a straight line. But when you have made that sort of commitment you’ve got to roll (literally, if you have to) with it. Largely due to Kelly, who enables me to new heights.
After our horrifically satisfying eating escapade we all stayed at a nice cheapy motel together. I took the bunk bed, happy only to not be on the floor. I had to make it, which is fair enough, but I did not count on the cleaners (probably in the most well meaning way possible) unmaking it each day and folding everything back up neatly. I wonder sometimes if they laugh about us at smoko, if they know we are here to drink and stumble around with sheets over our heads trying to make hospital corners. I’m not going to lie, I probably would. After awakening, heavy with undigested food, we went down for breakfast. Breakfasts in
Today was more orientation. I remember something about filling your bath with water to drink for when there is a typhoon. We also received our notice of employment in an intimidating little ceremony. There is something to these. It’s like a normal action is suddenly made careful and slightly horrifying, but because of it it means all the more.
Tonight was the welcome party and possibly our first chance to meet each other under more relaxed conditions. By relaxed I mean my dress was of
Okay the welcome party was my first Nomihodai. This means you can drink as much as you like for two hours. The reason these work in
After dinner we went to (yet another) nomihodai. Anyone would have been like, okay, these are quite common, they obviously require a little pacing. Not so this Kiwi. The very first song of the night (this was a massive room with about 40 people in it) was selected by my good friend Sam, who convinced me to get up and help him. To our growing dismay we realized we knew none of the words and could only croon the chorus, “let’s get it on” at any given opportunity across the stage at each other. Was I put off for the rest of the night? Oh hell no. We also completed a rousing rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, which I (unfortunately for all involved) know ALL the words to.
After this I recall the entire night focusing on me in another bar, staring at my new, full, drink. I look up from this drink and see Sam staring at his new, full, drink. I do believe our cognitive slaps of awareness connected as he looked up and over at me, and both of us realized it was time to go.
Hanging with other JETs is a whole new culture shock. It’s easy to think we’re all the same, because we speak English. Not so my friends. If anything, the culture shock is more disquieting, because it is so sneaky. Still, I am continually struck by how alike we all are. How human our impulses. It surely is a life assuring thing to realize people half a world away have the same worries, the same gratitudes. I can see how travel can become addictive, not to see differences, but to assure yourself of the world. Assure yourself that those people over there are indeed people as you have always known them.
In this vein we fare welled our new friends the experienced second years, and the friendly Irish voices of John and Matthew that give me nostalgia for a place I’ve never been. This could be echoes of the motherland or my unhealthy love of Micheal Flatley. Vacating the bar after securing contact details in my handy memory (A4 book of notes) next to a scribbled, scrawled, and progressively growing door code required for getting into my hotel, we got in a taxi and went there. I jumped into bed with Kelly (noisily) and let Sam deal with the quaintly folded sheets.
From the happenings of this party I think you can assume I was not on the best form for the last day of orientation. Being outdoors hurt. Being indoors hurt. I conjugated some verbs.
For the last entry of this orientation we will have to refer to my notebook. Being only just able to write what I had to and far less likely to write things I didn’t, it reads simply:
ill. Sunnies for all time. nice wee lunch – WASABI IN MY MOUTH
And that, my friends, was orientation.