No curve was too sharp for them and their bicycle. No puddle was deep enough to stop them. -- Friends by Helme Hein

07 February, 2010

The Part of Living Overseas You Don't Often See

We may show you glossy pictures of festivals, beautiful vistas and exotic foods and locales on our blog, but, honestly, we aren't always living it up. Those are just the highpoints of being overseas. The day-to-day is far less pretty and less worthy of the time it would take to read about it.
The truth is, when we are home, we spend way too much time on our computers trying to connect with the outside English speaking world. I spent an hour talking to my 5 year old niece on Skype today. Or rather, Walter the Monkey talked to her. Those are the moments that are so much more special in person, but we have to settle for cyber hugs.

And this is what is normally going on--both of us studying away way too much. James is juggling talking to a friend in Korea on Skype, watching the only free English show we get online (Colbert Report) and reading articles for his doctoral classes. I'm usually somewhere in the background fiddling around in the kitchen. That's the real life in a foreign country.

It's been desperately cold here this week (below freezing) and we got our first snow in Tokyo! Snow doesn't stop the school girls from wearing their pleated mini-skirts and knee high socks without any tights. Every time I ride passed them on my bike, with my scarf wrapped around me up to my eyes and my heavy snow mittens, I wonder if it's a patriarchal society that keeps them in these ill-suited uniforms, or a sort of right of passage--toughen up or be different. I'm not sure. But they don't even act cold. There is no insulation or central heating in Japanese buildings and homes and our house hovers around 55 degrees without the heater on. Each morning my classroom is 32 degrees and takes at least an hour to warm up to room temperature.


Scott and Heather said...

Do you have a space heater in your apartment? I cannot believe they don't have heat!

We had a pretty mellow weekend over here too. Watched a few movies, went for a walk, cooked, emailed, FB, the usual.

Kristin Pedroja said...

I'm glad it's not just me & Matt who use three Macs at once...
(and if it makes you feel better, I live in the English-speaking world and still we spend much of our time connecting with those not stuck in the Highlands!)