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There was a change of plans

There was a change of plans published on

and my last day of work was today. I don’t think I can talk about this reasonably right now, but it involved an argument with the owner. I keep tearing up at odd moments, or noticing that my heart is racing for no reason. (I request that no one respond to this entry asking me what my plans are.)

Some things that made me feel better today – Mee and Conan and their parents. They were one of the three families I managed to warn before my last class with them that it was my last class with them, and only because Conan came in for an extra lesson a few days early. They both made me good-bye cards. Conan actually wrote her own message, which is a big deal for a five-year-old, though I think her Mom helped her with the content. (This was in Japanese, not English.)

Though it was quite sedate by Japanese-girl standards, Mee was embarrassed by her card’s contents, and ordered me not to read it until she’d left the building. I didn’t have time until just now, so I didn’t. She assures me that she will be studying English very hard so that she can shock me one day. I will not be shocked by any measure of progress Mee makes – she’s pretty hardcore.

Their parents waited around outside with Conan during Mee’s class so they could all say goodbye together – usually either mom or dad picks up Conan and leaves, and then grandma shows up for Mee. Both their mom and I got pictures of all three of us together, and I took a few of Mee and Conan fooling around. Their grandma, who I think actually dislikes me, gave me a GeGeGe Kitaro phone charm, acknowledging it as a re-gift when she handed it to me. I also exchanged email addresses with Mee. (She emailed me just now reminding me she’s going to be in a swimming tournament tomorrow. I’m sorry, Mee, I can’t go!) Their mom gave me their mailing address and some photos of the girls and asked me to write from the US, which I shall do. I suspect I need to send some photos.

Zuzu, Cookie, and Princess ordered me out of the classroom to draw a goodbye picture of me on the board. (They also ordered Mr. Wow out, for more clique-ish reasons. I sent him in anyway, but he came back and sulkily sat on the couch with me.) The picture involved a lot of hearts.

One of the other kids I managed to warn ahead of time was Ken’ichi. He brought me gumdrops, and forgot his homework. I spoke Japanese a lot during his, Bonze, and Jerkface’s class, since they were acting up anyway. Jerkface had just seen Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and spoiled the ending for us all. They took advantage of being my very last class and prodded me into giving them most of my remaining stickers. I now possess a picture of me with three middle-school boys with stars and stag-beetles all over their faces. (Though Jerkface took some of the pink and blue stickers that the boys usually turn down and decorated a little business card case he has with them.)

Goody Proctor and the Devil were a little upset, which the Devil expressed by being extra-rude and drawing an inappropriate picture of me. Miss Hee-Hee and Goody Proctor were unusually quiet, and Mr. Rat was quieter in English and noisier in Japanese than usual. I didn’t get to say goodbye to Kitty, Yuzu, Mr. Clown, or Mr. Yodeler. I didn’t get to say goodbye to Mr. Sleepyhead because the owner didn’t let him come to class this week. I made them all cards, and I’m leaving behind the ones I couldn’t give out – hopefully the guy replacing me will give them out. (I kind of hid them somewhere I think the owner won’t think to look. He tried to get me not to tell anyone.) Kids who were not visibly emotionally affected by news of my departure: Zip and Zoh, Miss Ko-omote and Miss Foo, Mr. Weepy, Maria and Luigi, Miss Red and Jiro, and the new girl in Mr. Sleepyhead’s class.

Mr. K’s class yesterday was kind of rough. I think I hurt his feelings. He had his cell phone (he has a cell phone!) and kept taking pictures of me with it. When we were doing a worksheet at the end of class, he flipped it over and started recreating a drawing from a worksheet I made him a few weeks ago on the back. I wish I’d been able to let his mom know ahead of time.

Leo was having a really difficult day, and was hiding from his juku teacher in the bathroom when I went to look for him. After about ten minutes of this, I knocked on the door and demanded he come out so I could say goodbye. He sullenly emerged, and very reluctantly let me give him a hug. I told him not to be emo, which probably isn’t a helpful sentiment to a depressed Russian adolescent living in Japan. I really wish I’d made cards for him and Lucca. (And for Peter Pan, Madonna, and Jack-o-Lantern, though I don’t know how I’d address the latter two’s, given that I still don’t know their real names.)

Tomorrow’s all packing and cleaning, and the next day I turn in my key and stay in a hotel for one more night.

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