Things I Never Thought I’d Say: Spring Break Stinks

Today is bad. Today I want to go home. Today home is America and not my perfect apartment in my perfect little rural town.

I can’t handle the idleness that’s a central tenet of this job. I can’t handle the lack of a challenge. I can’t handle the hours multiplied by hours without a single task to do. I can’t handle the all-consuming boredom.

My mom hates the word “bored.” Saying “I’m bored” in that whiny, I’m-so-bored voice kids master early on was the easiest way to unintentionally spark her temper. We, my brother and I, should be able to entertain ourselves, she said. There’s always something to do.

He could, and still can – find entertainment in any simple object or his own thoughts, but I struggle. This job has tested that struggle – forced me to live in my head and not in my actions – find ways to keep myself occupied. I’ve done relatively well – a positive attitude is 3/4 the battle, right? – but I’ve reached my limit today.

It’s not the absence of entertainment that drives me insane, as it was when I was young. It’s the absence of a challenge. I could make 100 bulletin boards or come up with new card games for 13-year-olds to learn comparatives, but it’s all… busy work. And if there was anything I ever hated in school (let’s be honest, there wasn’t a lot), it was busy work. Tedious, dull, purposeless busy work. This job requires so little thinking I could do it in my sleep, if I could sleep standing. Sometimes I do feel asleep while standing, and that’s even worse than staring at walls while I’m sitting.

I wonder if I knew everything I know now back when I applied for JET, if I still would have taken the job. Most days, I’d say without a doubt. It wouldn’t be a question, it’d be a joke. Today, I’m not so sure. Today, I have no computer at my school – the 9th day without a computer, 10th day without anything to do in a row – and I’m fighting an urge to scream or run around the office stripping off my clothes – something that will be more than the nothing I have a monopoly on. I’ve made great friends and had unique, possibly once-in-this-lifetime adventures, but today I wonder if those are worth dreading going into the office every day and spending at least 5 hours every day wishing I was anywhere but where I am.

“How much did they pay you to give up your dreams?” George Clooney cheekily poignantly asks in Up in the Air.

For me – $36,000 and 15 days of nenkyu. I was an easy buy.

This is spring break in Japan, and I’m begging it to end already.

~ by C on April 12, 2010.

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