Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What is to is, must is

Back in January, I posted 'How Happens' about the fact that everything would be up in the air after August, when my contract at the time expired.

I don't remember if I said it here, but the Japanese school year runs April to March, and the JET year (the programme I was on) runs August to July. This meant that I would need to break contract to be eligible for most of the teaching jobs.

But breaking contract isn't in my vocabulary. The way I see it, keeping promises is one of my few virtues. I try very, very hard never to give it up. So I let April pass. With it, a chance at a similar job on the other end of the prefecture for comparable pay. But worse,  I gave up the job at the high school in town. The ONLY other job that I can legally work in my town. By keeping my word, I basically gave up all hope of being where I finally feel I belong.

I started looking feverishly for work. I got through with one job in April only to find that they needed me to start immediately. So I waited until June for my next batch of applications. Finally, I bit the bullet and made the exactly 600-km trip down to Tokyo for interviews. There are no words to describe how much I despise Tokyo. But a 3-hour shinkansen ride is a lot closer to my town than the opposing hemisphere of the Earth.

I was just waiting to hear back from the jobs in Tokyo, when suddenly the job in my town opened up!

It feels like a personal miracle. It is very literally the ONLY way I could stay here, and it was not supposed to be available. I gave it up in April with the finality of signing my own death warrant, and yet here it was knocking on my door again.

So, I'm still here. In the town I love. It's nowhere near as cushy as before - but then nothing is as cushy as government -  but I'm here. It was not supposed to be possible but it is.

And I got here without having to compromise my character.

What is to is, must is.

PS, "What is to is, must is," is from the Samuel Selvon novel, A Brighter Sun. It may just be my favourite quote of all time.