One of the biggest drawbacks of my otherwise fantastic job is time. There are only 20 days off per year. Theoretically, that's not so bad. Most jobs give 21 days at home. But let's consider the extentuating circimstances.I'm on the other side of the world from friends and family. It takes 4 days (both ways) and a couple thousand US dollars to go home. And I'm in Asia - a continent so far away from home that I feel like you'll never again get a chance to explore it. Plus, the fact that there are those days when the kids are "on vacation" from teaching, but still coming to school for clubs, and you spend weeks on end doing not much more than sitting at a desk.
Add these up to arrive at what happens to most JETs. You feel like you can't take days off unless you're doing something, or more likely, going somewhere. Eventually, you get to the point where your "vacations" are more exhausting than work. I saw all of Hong Kong in 3 days. 1 day at the Great Buddha and Disney. 1 day in the North seeing the heritage. 1 day going up to Madame Tussauds at the Peak and then seeing the biggest standing music and lights show in the world at Victoria Bay. Phew. The plane ride home was the most relaxing part of the trip!
End result, for me anyways, is constant exhaustion. (Not ignoring the fact that the longer I do anything, the tougher it gets, and 4 years is a year past my limit.) To the point where I haven't taken a real vacation in forever. I haven't hit up any of the exotic destinations in this side of the world since Australia in 2009. The last time I left the archipelago was to go home for Christmas 2010. And last Christmas, my "vacation" was just the days they give all public servants and I spent them in Sendai, an hour on the bullet train from here. Honestly, I'm not sure that somewhere you can day-trip really counts.
And so I've taken the week off. Not a plan in the world. I've pencilled in "clean the house." (My neigbour last year said that my living room looked like another living room had thrown up in it.) And I'll probably nip out tomorrow to hand in a form and go watch a class (I know, semi-defeating the point of a vacation, but my colleague's Dad is in, so I want to). And on Friday, I've got to head to Sendai for my appointment and meds refills. But other than that, I've been staying up as long as I feel like, going to bed when I feel like, doing what I feel like. 24 hours awake followed by 13 asleep.
And it feels great. It feels great not to have a list of things to do. Or places where I need to be. I mean, I love living. But sometimes it's great to just exist.
When's the last time you had a good veg?