I can`t read or write, I don`t know how to speak, and I am just now learning how to cross the street safely. I am the mind of a child in an alien`s body wandering around a foreign land.
See, the language is different, they drive on the other side of the road and - ooh, ooh - I got my Alien Registration Card the other day, so I really am an alien now, woo hoo.
At times my ineptitude frustrates and at others entices: the immediate future holds unending learning for me, which is a pretty exciting thought.
In the meantime, I have to get used to people talking AT me and feeling rather dimwitted because, despite their best efforts and intentions, I have no idea what they are saying. Signing up for an internet cafe club card, the attendent anxiously stuttered the same word over and over again at me for about 30 seconds, not able to think of a better way to explain what that specific portion of form required: my date of birth! When paying later, I embarassed us both by complaining that I was overcharged for my time usage, not realising that she had included my sign-up fee in the price. Sigh.
I have always admired bi- and multi-linguists, and long since envisioned as one of my life goals the acquisition of another tongue. I guess this is my chance, because the desire to NOT feel stupid should be a strong motivator for me. There is a very basic level language profficiency test in December, so there I aim my sights. Tomorrow I meet a little old lady language instructor who will hopefully help toward that end.
More immediately, I get to practice my select and misremembered formal, polite phrases tomorrow when I have the first day at my real job, meeting the principal, staff, and students. The kocho-sensai (`principle,` I think) is a very important, intimidating, and aloof superior, even to long-term staff. Watashi wa kowai desu - I`m afraid.