Most mornings I wake up and put on colors that do not match because I cannot understand the concept of anything working in an uniform fashion. And somehow I have lived in JAPAN for almost two years.
In my sixth grade language arts classroom there was a sign that read something like "Never start a sentence with and, but, or because." I knew that was wrong. And I make it a point to always include one of those three words in the beginning of a sentence in something I write. I even ended up majoring in English in college; where those three words were encouraged (in the beginning of sentences) by brilliant professors of English. Though I know I have only begun my journey in mastering the English Language.
One of the few times I attended a full day of school my senior year of high school was Senior Skip Day. Just because I thought it was really dumb that everyone needed a scheduled day to play hooky to enjoy the sunshine.
I felt like the bumblebee girl in Blind Melon's No Rain video when I found Guilford Quaker College where boys demanded the right to wear skirts while they were giving campus tours.
After I graduated I spent a year working at an elementary school in North Carolina where I was the only 20- something neither married nor engaged.
That was hard.
Summer in Japan makes me feel crazy because everyone wears socks despite the warm weather. Even women in their twenties wear pantyhoes with their skirts at work.
I had to drive forty minutes out of town today because I needed a moment of anonymity. And when I got home I danced around my apartment because I am from America. Because America is a place where people eat outside, walk around barefoot, and dislike uniforms. But, I do love Japan. I love Japan because I have built relationships with second graders that have resulted in them sticking up for me when first graders question the presence of a foreigner on their playground. And I have gained the trust of co-teachers that call me to give me a lesson plan at 7:30 in the morning before they even call the school to say that they will not be in. And those two things are only the beginning in a list of reasons why this country will keep a piece of my heart.
Last year at this time I was going crazy and relating to a specific scene of the television show Weeds. This year I can taste freedom and I still relate to that same television series:
God only knows what I would have done had I not met people that refused to eat the weird meat at school lunch, mastered Japanese despite never having slept with a Japanese person, or been honest (in a mature fashion) about their sexual orientation while managing to be the town's favorite ALT.
And I will be able to tell everyone in this delicious and beautifully clean country that my only plan is to give up on making plans as I leave. And that certainly confuses and blows the minds of this organized culture.