I don’t have much time tonight, but want to get something out there. Middle of the rainy season. and already two typhoons have come and gone. It’s been a long spring and although there is a lot going on, the mood has been pretty somber around here and writing about it never seems to help.
The biggest change has been work. I am now teaching English 4 mornings a week at a small university. Each class only meets 90 minutes a week, so progress is slow for the students. Like undergraduates anywhere, most just want to do what is required and have no motivation to spend extra time or effort. I am adjusting my expectations and trying to have fun. It’s a 45 minute drive so I’m enjoying podcasts on my commute and trying to figure out ways to engage the students more. One frustration is that many students are not used to working on computers, so some students can’t access the online practice and resources I set up. Of course, this job is taking a lot more time than I anticipated, but it’s working out. It’s good to have a focused diversion from the day-to-day.
Because I am working I have less time for exercise and kanji study. I am still running three days a week, but I am less active than I would like to be. I need to figure out a way to fit kanji study into my daily routine. I guess that’s the problem.. life is less routine than before. Jiro’s mom has been on a steady decline since the end of April. She hasn’t had anything to eat or drink in over a month. She is alert and desperately wants to come home. She is on an IV and we have brought her home a few times for a couple hours. Her throat muscles are weak and she cannot swallow well, she has also lost her voice. We visit her every day for an hour or so and try to keep her spirits up. Kai came back earlier this month to see her- she was really happy to see him. She hasn’t smiled in so long, but she was beaming when he visited her. She made us all laugh when she whispered loudly with a lot of effort: “Kai, when are you going to get married?” We are not sure how things will progress or whether she will gain enough strength to start eating again. The last time she ate, she developed pneumonia. Right now. all we can do is visit and spend time with her.
I guess the uncertainty of Ba-chan’s condition is what keeps me a bit down, but also we have been to two funerals this month and it’s raining and…so the reason I haven’t written is that I don’t want this space to be negative. Maybe writing a bit about it will move us past this rough patch.
Here’s the good news: Kai came to visit for 4 days! I am getting ready for a 6-week visit to the US at the end of July! We caught the snake that was living in the kitchen (it never appeared when Jiro was around and I was too afraid to catch it on my own)! Nina moved to SF! Jiro will be in a show at the Portland Japanese Garden in November!