Living in another country can be and usually is one of the greatest experiences a person can have. But from time to time it is absolutely necessary to take a break when you find yourself being negative and complaining about too many things in the host country. I have reached that point since I haven’t escaped since last Christmas.
After a very frustrating day at work today I couldn’t bring myself to go to Japanese class since I have already skipped a week and know that all the students and teachers will inquire about my absence. The Japanese teachers will always comment on the absence and say in sort of a pouty way (which is normal for female Japanese teachers) “Matto san wa issogashi ne,” “daijoubu?” Which means “You are very busy aren’t you” “Is everything ok?” And I know I just won’t be able to take it today since my batteries are completely drained and I won’t be able to smile back and will probably be bitter.
Concerning the culture, one gets tired of always being the foreigner and having everyone look at you like some strange creature. I cringe on the ride home when I keep hearing constant “hello,” when they just want to see if you will respond. I always muster out a “hello” back to the children though since it will make them smile and I might be their only experience with a foreigner.
With the adults however, it can sometimes be trying since their “hello’s” are more of a “hey, you are a foreigner and if I say hello it’s kind of like you are a monkey who should respond to a banana.” I know it’s terrible to say that but it’s how you can feel sometimes when you haven’t had a break for a while.
So this is the state I am in and prefer to skip class yet again and just order a pizza and watch a DVD at home to forget my frustrations in Saigon for a while.