For the most part since my arrival in Koga, things have been pretty nonstop. On the first day, I went to my base school Sowa and met the staff and took a tour of the campus. It is a pretty big school and the staff is super friendly. Whenever I need help, they help me out and invite me to things (more on that later). After the first day, I was taken to my new apartment…which was still in boxes. It was such a long and hot day that I really did not want to deal with it but I just did it anyway. Luckily I had the help of my supervisor and a fellow English teacher to clean up and organize things. By the end of the first night, it was livable and sleepable. It was a tiring but fun first day in Koga.
The days after that consisted of getting a bank account, registering with the city office to let them know that I exist in Koga, getting a cell phone, getting car insurance, and a loads of other stuff including trying to find where things are and shopping for things I needed. Some things about my area: there are two stores that are very close to me that I can go to: Beisia and AEON. Beisia is your typical grocery store, whereas AEON is like an all in one store where they have some clothes but also a grocery section, bakery, some appliances, and a 100 yen store. All within a reasonable driving distance of about 5-10 minutes. There is also a McDonalds and Pizza Hut on that same street and there is a KFC in AEON so there are little bits of home in my new home. I already went to the McDonalds and KFC and the tastes are the same, just food items are a little different. For example, McDonalds had the chicken but it was Big Mac style only without the extra bread in the middle. Just the sesame seed bun and the Big Mac sauce. OMG SO GOOD! Waaaaay better than home. Haha I recommend you all try it and see how you like it. Just get a McChicken but ask for a sesame seed bun instead and the Big Mac sauce instead of the mayo and try it. They also have a shrimp burger that I am told I need to try, even if I am not overly fond of shrimp. And at the KFC, there is no mashed potatoes or mac and cheese but there is onigiri and fish. I will try that one day too.
Speaking of food, yes being on my own I am going to attempt to cook things and see how I fare. I realize how expensive eating out can be, even though I still do it haha. But I can also try to cook things and improve that skill of mine so when I go back home home, I can be self-sufficient. But living on my own has also taught me other things about myself aside from being as frugal as possible. I did splurge on the things that mattered like connectivity with my cell phone and new indoor shoes (my feet apparently swell in heat so I can’t fit into the shoes I brought L). But where I can save, I try to. Sometimes I want new things like a new washing machine or a new cabinet (which I totally bought and built myself, go me). But for things like that, I will save. I knew I was a saver before, but living on my own for the first time has shown me that I really do that with everything. For example, I have created spreadsheets for every month so I can keep track on my expenses and if I need to cut back on something, I can see what I am spending the most money on. I have another spreadsheet of the bills I will need to pay, when I need to pay them, and how much they will roughly be. There are a couple taxes at the end of the year that I will need to pay for, so I budgeted that. On top of that, I do want a new washing machine but I know I can’t afford it now so I am going to save for it. Living on my own has also shown me how energy saving I can be. Even though I am running the aircon when I get home, I do not run it during the night or when I am away. I turn off the lights I am not using and I open windows to let in some air. Haha all things I should have been doing back home but now that I am the only one who can pay for it, I need to be conscious of that.
Something else I have learned about myself in the week I have been here…I like to stay neat and clean and organized. You wouldn’t know it seeing my room back home but I realized that I like things to be clean. I guess because it is my own space, I need to keep it clean. I don’t want bugs so I have to clean my dishes when I am done using them. I don’t want mold, so I need to open the windows and clean my bathroom every week. I have to separate my trash for recycling, so I am planning on getting large trashcans to put outside so I can organize better than just having separate bags for everything that I forget what is in them. I don’t want to lose important documents, so I have a system in place to organize all that. My bedroom really needs organization so I will hop on that the first chance I get. I like to be prepared so I have a little teacher’s kit (courtesy of the idea from Page One Adventures) to take with me to the schools where I have to share a desk with other teachers. Although there is order in chaos, I like to at least attempt to be organized.
I have learned so much in just my first week here in Koga. I can drive now. I know where groceries are so I can feed myself. I know where the train station is and how to use it so I can get around. And I have created a budget for myself so I know I am not spending too much. And if all else fails, I have a support system at my four schools I can call upon if I need help with anything. And believe me, they have helped a lot. From fixing my washing machine to taking me to Costco which is an hour away from me to setting me up with food and bank accounts and everything else. I could not be more grateful for them and it makes me wish I brought better omiyage for them. Haha I wish I knew what their interests were before I came so I could adhere to them (like bring baseball stuff because some of the staff likes baseball). But there is always my mom sending me stuff haha.
Speaking of mother, I miss my family and boyfriend very much. Now that I am connected, I can talk to them as much as I can and they can. Sometimes my mom drives me nuts when she asks me a million and a half questions, but she is just worried about me because, well, this is my first time living away from home and I am all the way in another country and an ocean between us. It’s not like she can fly out and help me if I need it. I have to rely on myself and what I can do on my own. But in a way, it comforts me knowing that she is still always there and willing to help me out at whatever the cost, regardless how far away I am. This will be the only time I live so far away so I am trying to make the most of it. But I know when I come back home, I will spend more time with my family. Being away for two years will hurt and I do worry about them constantly, but we all will get through it.
Same with the boyfriend. Although we did have a fight that caused me to question him and our relationship, we got through it and are stronger than ever. A conversation with a good friend of mine also taught me that I need to let things go. I can’t hold onto things in the past if it will affect my future, especially with things that I want to do. But it is easier said than done because I do have trust issues and being apart with an ocean in between does not help. But I know we will get through these two years and come out stronger than ever. Haha I just hope he will like the woman I have become after this trip and my hopes is that I come out a better woman for it.
That’s about it for now. Next I will rant about how far I am from people and how much it sucks haha.