Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Sixth Tale: Feeling Helpless in the Face of Disaster; Random Life Update

It is so incredibly hard to make heads or tails of the situation Japan. First, a series of severely hazardous earthquakes rip through the island, followed by a monstrous 30-foot tsunami. Matters were only made worse by a blizzard today. Oh yea, then there's that little situation about the nuclear reactors melting down/emitting ungodly amounts of radiation and doing irreversible damage to a massive area in Fukushima (and possibly surrounding areas) which may render that part of Japan uninhabitable. Whew.

When I think that I could have been there during this situation (I applied to Interac to teach English, who would have almost definitely placed me in a rural area there), I have to give thanks to whatever part of me inside that intuitively said "no" to Japan. Unfortunately, when I think of the beauty and magnificence of Tokyo, a city I instantly fell in love with, I can't help imagining the horrors of the people as parts of buildings were falling around (or on) them. The footage of the earthquake alone (not to mention the tsunami footage from Honshu) makes me want to sob.

In the face of these kinds of massive disasters, how can one not feel helpless? Either we choose to ignore it completely or sit glued to the TV or computer, waiting actively for new news, which, upon hearing, just makes you feel more upset and more helpless.

I gave a small amount to the Red Cross to help with disaster relief efforts...but other than that, I guess the only cliche thing to do about the situation is pray, if you are at all the praying kind.

As far as my own life goes here, I have absolutely no complaints other than the compulsive feeling that I need to be DOING more (then I have to remind myself that I am on vacation here, and to give myself a bit of a break). I have been working out a lot and it feels WONDERFUL to be active again. My mom 'dragged' me to a swim class that she has been attending, and I have to say I'm getting addicted to it! I also have been reading a lot. I finished "Committed" by Elizabeth Gilbert today and it was, in my opinion, better than "Eat, Pray, Love", but still a little bit unsubstantial for my taste. Still and all, I did learn a thing or two about the history of marriage in the western cultural sphere, and parts of it were, at least, highly amusing. I also have been starting to study Spanish- my friend Se Min told me about Byki, a free software program for learning other languages that I had never heard of before. It is awesome!! You not only learn how to recognize and pronounce a bunch of words and phrases, but there's also a section for writing (and yes, you have to use accents). I have also been using an instant immersion program that I bought off of Amazon.com. I considered Rosetta Stone again, as I bought levels 1 & 2 for Korean, but I really didn't learn that much from the Korean one so I decided not to spend the money. The thing I really don't like about Rosetta Stone is that it is pure context learning, but they don't provide any explanation of what's going on. You really just have to figure it out for yourself. This is O.K. sometimes, but it's really difficult when, say, you have two different ways of saying goodbye (like in Korean, annyeonghi-kye-se-yo if you're the person leaving, annyeonghi-ka-se-yo if you're the person staying). If all you have are two pictures showing different perspectives of people saying goodbye but you have no idea that there are two different ways to say goodbye, how can you know what the hell the difference is? This is why I'm against only pure context learning, at least for me. I need a little bit of explanation (esp. of grammatical structure), sorry.

Other than that, I am looking into volunteering here with Therapeutic Horsemanship, which I did back in Missouri for a bit. I debated whether or not to get involved here as I have such a short time, but my mom's trainer is working with them now and suggested it for me. So, we shall see! :)

Hope everyone that I love around the world is doing well, even despite of all this insanity.

Much, much love, xoxo
Anna banana <3

1 comment:

  1. I was just thinking the same thing about Japan, I had a job offer there to teach as well and am so happy that the voice inside me told me to choose Korea instead.

    I have mixed feelings about Rosetta Stone. It’s especially difficult because they don’t give you a basic introduction to the language, instead you’re thrown in and expected to start reading and writing from the get go, you definitely need some additional guidance when starting a new language. That being said good luck with spanish and I will look into Byki.

    On another note, I just received a job offer to teach in Saudi. I’m really on the fritz about it. The money is good and the experience would be invaluable for a future career in economic development. However the thought of no movies, music, or spontaneous travel freaks me out. I’m still thinking about Europe and have a few more things I’m waiting to hear back from before making my final decision. In the mean time I will continue to stalk you :P and see how your adventures in Europe develop. Take care and enjoy your time at home, it’s invaluable, so enjoy it!