Change of Plans


I suppose I should have seen it coming, but the original plan to spend 30 days with Nikki in the Philippines followed by 12 days in Singapore was rewritten to remove Singapore and extend my visit with Nikki to 6 weeks. Love is a powerful thing.

Plus, the Philippines deserves more time. And to think, at this point, I’ve still only seen one small part of the archipelago (specifically Tablas Island, with a stopover in Boracay, Carabao Island, and Romblon, Romblon. Last weekend we ventured south of Looc to stay the night at a really nice resort owned by a sweet Italian couple, celebrating our upcoming birthdays. I’ll rave about that place later.

There’s too much to say, really. It’ll take time to write something that adequately captures the feeling of my experience here, and even that won’t be enough.

I’ve got my new flight booked out of Manila to Nagoya, arriving on the 12th, meaning that my birthday on the 13th will be the first full day I spend in Japan. Training at ABC Plus begins on the 14th.

And as I’m devoted to spending every moment present in this place with Nikki while I’m here, I will cut this short. In summary, the Philippines is a remarkable and fascinating country. I’ll miss it dearly.


You Get What You Need


Driving the Cherokee down the mountain, the Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” came through the static-ridden radio waves somewhere between Colfax and Auburn, the lyrics of which echoed poignantly in my mind. I had just spent most of the last 36 hours retaking a portion of the TESOL comprehensive exam, not only learning the value of a good lesson plan, but the value of being able to explain¬†why¬†the lesson plan was good. I wanted to pass the first time, I needed a smack in the face.

Four days later I received confirmation that I had passed the test and had officially completed the MA in TESOL at CSUS.

Anyway, the song got me thinking.

I wanted to backpack Southeast Asia for an indefinite amount of time. Instead, I got what I needed: a job teaching English with ABC Plus in Nagoya, Japan.

I wanted to not worry about paying off my financial loans for a while. I owe $65,000 dollars to the loan companies that funded my education. Sure I could defer that for as long as I have economic hardship, but that’s like staying in prison because I’m too nervous to talk to the parole board. I want to put it off. I need to pay it off.

In the meantime, the contracts with ABC Plus have been submitted. The beard was shaved for the photos I sent them for Visa purposes. Today I got myself an International Driver’s Permit, told my bank about my travel plans, and even found time to get started on a project for my last remaining grad school class. Comcast was cancelled. SMUD, cancelled. I moved out of the studio and will be staying at Nikki’s old place, and not in the basement like I expected but rather in Denato’s room, as he leaves for Argentina this week. My mother convinced me to pay off the credit card debt, reducing my monthly bills by about 75 dollars, drastically lowering my account balance (not what I wanted, but what I needed) to an amount I can still stretch through February. I got to see the beach last weekend at Bodega Bay. I was worried I’d leave California without one last visit to its sandy shore. Hopefully there will be another visit, but I said my goodbyes already, just in case. The next time I touch the Pacific Ocean, it’ll be from Asia’s point of view.

I’m awake at 3:00 AM because I have a funny feeling December is going to be a relatively sleepless month, at least when it comes to a standard sleeping schedule. Every passing second is another second closer to leaving the country, which is fantastic, but at the same time I’ve garnered a handful of immensely valuable friendships here that I’m not looking forward to leaving behind. Especially now that I’m all but certainly not returning for quite some time. Not only will I miss the people, but I’ll miss the city. Damn you Sacramento for being so simultaneously bland and brilliant. I never would’ve thought I’d consider this place my home.

I’m 23 days away from departure and there are only a few things left to do: One, get arrival plans straightened with Nikki. Two, figure out how I’m getting to the airport. Three, visit my Dad and that side of the family. Four, finish this final project for my 215A class. Five, hug everyone often.

What I’ve learned is that in the pursuit of what you want, you do get what you need.

All you have to do is try sometimes.

fresh shave

The State of Now


On Wednesday, I need to be fully moved out of my apartment.

Tomorrow I have a second telephone interview with a private English academy in Nagoya, Japan called ABC Plus at 7:00 PM. The head teacher’s name is Blair Morrow. The first interview took place last night, lasted 40 minutes, and seemed to end positively. The start date would be early February. Note to self: improve knowledge of grammar.

Yesterday the TESOL committee met to discuss the results of my comprehensive exam.

I recently had an actual conversation with Nikki over Skype, the first in quite some time, and it was reassuring to find her in good spirits, finally teaching, and as beautiful as ever.

Last weekend I didn’t sleep, watching two sunrises in pursuit of finishing the exam materials, knowing each penned paragraph could potentially alter the course of my life.