Alas the moment of my departure is imminent, the road up to this point has certainly been long and arduous. I certainly wouldn’t be in this position if not for the support of my family and friends that helped me every step of the way.
My flight leaving Melbourne departs this evening at 6:30pm this evening, Sydney bound with a connection to Tokyo’s Kansai International Airport in which I will be arriving at 6:05am on Wednesday 30th May!
Honestly the last month has quite literally been the best of my entire life, never have I felt so loved and appreciated by those around me, which has made the decision to leave all that more difficult. I have been showered with gifts and good times by my friends, co-workers and especially my family, and have been thrown no less than four going away parties in the last week.
I would go so far to say I have lived more in these past few weeks than in the many months before, having being caught up in the daily grind these past few years. From the bottom of my heart I have been as truly happy and content with life, since I found out I was accepted into the 2012 JET Program and was heading to Kobe.
The packing up of everything I have ever owned and deciding what exactly makes the cut to be packed away to come along with me (made all the more-so difficult by the fact I have always been a compulsive hoarder) has been enduring process. Having been through the emotional roller-coaster that comes with leaving ones home that have ranged from joy to guilt to regret to contentment, one feeling that is prominent as ever, is that of being terminally Australian.
However reassuringly, unlike my grandparents that first came to these shores over half a century ago (a journey of which they have reminded me several times upon each of our meetings these past weeks) I leave knowing, that a home to be warmly welcomed back to will always be awaiting me in Melbourne, with my family and friends being little more than a Skype session away.
I would like to share a couple of the photos of the people and times that have made these last few weeks special.
So how long have I been waiting to do the cheesiest thing possible and play Big Jet Plane by Angus & Julia Stone upon my departure to Japan. About a year and a half or so, it pretty much clicked the first time I ever heard it that this was destined to be my JET song. If anything its an awesome replacement for the only other JET applicable departure song Leaving On A JET Plane.
Just a short video about being shortlisted with the 2012 JET Program and my sporadic early placement in Kobe-shi, Hyogo.
So at around 8:15 this evening I received a call from a peculiar number on my iPhone that I had never seen before. I answered only to my surprise to be greeted by a call from the Melbourne JET Program co-ordinator offering me nothing more than everything i have always dreamed of.
She apologized for calling at such a late hour but wanted to contact me ASAP as she had just received a message from Tokyo offering me an early departure spot to you guessed to KOBE CITY!!!
The only catch being that its short notice and I will need to depart on May 30th 2 months before the rest of the Australians heading over with group A.
She needs me to accept by this Thursday and since tomorrow is ANZAC day here in Australia if she hadn’t called me this evening it would have had to wait till Thursday when I would have had to give her a yes or no answer on the spot. At least this way I have 40 hours or so to decide my fate…….
Honestly this is really a dream come true for me, although I dont really want to leave 60 days before every one else (not to mention the fact I will miss Tokyo Orientation) i figure there are quite a few pro’s to this.
- I will get my dream placement of Kobe city (pretty much regarded as winning the lottery in terms of placement).
- I get to skip Melbourne s notoriously horrid winter going straight from autumn back into Kobe s summer once I cross the equator!
- In Kobe (and the rest of Hyogo for that matter) JET’s receive subsidized rent, no key money and in Kobe transport is paid for. Also this means I likely wont need to waste money on a car as Kobe is so central.
- I score an extra 2 months as a JET as if I stay at least a 2nd year the contract ends in July.
- The insane waiting for placement/departure will be largely over.
- This will of course put an awful lot of pressure on me to pack up my life in Melbourne ASAP as I have major things to work out quickly such as organizing my investment property, working out tax status, quitting job at Museum Victoria, buying a laptop, selling car, etc.
- I will be in the unique position of being one of the few JET’s to unfortunately miss Tokyo Orientation.
- I have an incredible amount of guilt in that I will be leaving my parents a week after my brother leaves on a 2 month trip to Europe, effectively throwing them in the deep end with an empty house for the first time in 25 years!
So its official I’m Kobe City’s newest ALT on the JET Program ^______^
So another month has passed and I am still waiting for a response from the Melbourne consulate. The cause for the delay is unknown to me but frequenting the official and ITIL forums I discovered the results were sent from Tokyo last Monday (the 9th).
They came out on the 16th last year (the delays understandably a result of 3/11 as in prior years they came out around the 4-5th) which is why the delay this year is peculiar.
Most countries send their results out via email however due to some quirk the Australians must wait for notification via snail mail…….why would they do this when it serves nothing more than the purpose of delaying notification by another week, now this is a valid question.
I guess this really does reflect the entire JET Program application for Australian hopefuls (which iv discussed in detail in former posts) as a whole which is completely paper based unlike the american system which is now mostly online, certainly strange in this day and age.
This has been especially painfully as all week i have been watching as my friends on the forums posting that the have been shortlisted whilst I twiddle my thumbs ignorant of my future. The American consulates Guam, Detroit, New York in retrospect were certainly on the ball releasing their results only hours after receiving them from Tokyo, further reading can be found in this thread on the official forums.
Regardless I received an email on Wednesday stating that we should receive our results between the 16-17th so I shouldnt be whining as the hard part is all but over, surely i can wait another 2 days.
On a side note through my eternal quest to kill time, I have been doing a little data mining looking through the ITIL forum archives and noticed that if you compare the number of forum users this year resisted as 2012 applicants compared to the past 2 prior there is literally like half as many!
Does this reflect a drop in applicant numbers or are the simply forums becoming less popular (ITIL members typicaly represent 5-10% of total JET applicants). I cant imagine either of those being accurate so it shall remain a mystery for the moment. However looking at those stats certainly do wonders for my self esteem.
Anyhow hopefully I will have good news to bring to the table in my next post 🙂
So it’s already been a month since my JET Program interview and the days seem to be passing me by ever so slowly.
Based on last years notification a gambling man would be betting on shortlist notifications to arrive around the 2-3rd week of April, so the road ahead is ever still long.
I am guessing I wasn’t selected for the early April departure (not that I was really expecting to be since there is only about 5% of applicants that are each year) but I am a little envious of those who were only because it would end this intolerable limbo.
Not that I’m in a huge hurry to jump country since I have a job to keep me busy and an investment property to sort out before I leave.
The thing is its not even the so much the waiting that’s killing me its the not knowing!! At the end of the day I started my application in September after all, so waiting I can do, its just bad for your soul to know the entire fate of the next few years of your life is hanging in the balance. I am really obsessed to the point where I have been having rejection nightmares!!!
So last week I completed my 5th year hosting Japanese students visiting Australia from a high school in Ibaraki Prefecture.
My position as TA (Travel Assistant……. the Japanese seem to love acronyms) required me to basically travel around the city with 8 of the students helping them navigate their way to the days activities which included Cooks Cottage in the Fitzroy Gardens, Old Melbourne Gaol, St Patrick Cathedral and Parliament House
Despite all our super fun (kinda) destinations my kids were really more interested in shopping for omiyage 😛
At the end of the day to say thank you to us, we were taken out to have a banquet dinner at the hotel, here’s a photo with me and my group, kids even gave me some presents before the whole year level sang us the school song!