How many times have I said "Really?" ever since the year of 2013 started? There were various kind of "Really?" depending on the circumstances but most of my "Really?" so far this year have been the one used for expressing joyful surprises. The first "Really?" happened when I was invited to the speakers workshop for TEDx Tokyo teachers. The second one came when I was invited by ETJ Saitama as a presenter. The third one was when my partner found my first textbooks became available online. Those "Really?" expressed my astonishment at surreal moments.
Having lived in a peaceful yet humble place with my daughter and enjoying the slices of English world with cute little kids in our neighborhood for more than a decade, I got used to my little Cheekish la la land where we got nothing but our imagination to play with. I had such a blast time sharing all the fantastic picture books and stories kids told me about their daily findings. In such a little la la land, there is no such a thing like fear. To get up-to-date information about outside of our world, all I need was to have a chat over cuppa with wise friends from time to time. Nothing radical happened. It could be boring but surely peaceful days. I wished this make-believe style of living with kids would last forever as long as I live. My only fear was that one day my daughter would say. "Mum, don't you wanna know what is going on outside? I wanna find things out!" The day didn't come within one day but little by little she stayed outside of our land longer and longer and finally she left me in the little land on my own. Those neighborhood kids also grew out of the land and left for the much bigger world. Looking at the empty seats, I moaned and moaned as if it was the end of the world for a while.
One night, I sat alone in the little classroom looking at those pictures of my kids on the wall. Every one of them looked happy and smily. As I started reading those picture books we shared, I got on the mental time-machine and went back to the days of laughters. All the kids were still small with chubby faces and the sticky hands, asking me what to play for the day. So, I said, "Mr. Wolf?" Kids went "YAY!" After playing in our garden for a while, we got back in our library and shared our favorite story, Goodnight, Moon. I said "Goodnight" then kids said "Good-bye" instead with big smiles on their little cute faces.
Their voice echoed repeatedly in my mind and I looked at them and finally said "good-bye." Good-bye to our la la land and my early motherhood. It was time my own life started again. The early motherhood was filled with full of little surprises, findings and laughters. It was absolutely fantastic but I didn't want to stay there alone. All the kids left there to explore more complex and perhaps beautiful world. So, why don't I? After all, we learned together how to be courageous in the face of challenges and fear and stay curious via playing and sharing so many stories in the la la land, the place where the reality and the innocent fancy meets. After the time-travel, I promised to myself to be out of sentimental self-pity and enjoy the life fully.
"Really?" The latest one was happened at the end of last month after I had a job interview at Kunitachi city hall for an ALT position. It was the first time for me to do 5-min demo lesson without any preparation at all. More than a decade of make-believe life with kids has intensified my crazy imagination or something, somehow I was oddly excited to get all the serious looking men open up and talk to me in the foreign language. Surprisingly the magic I learned in the land worked! Learning how to say "good-bye" opens the door to a new journey. I would visit 4 different elementary schools in Kunitachi city. What kind of stories those kid will share with me? What stories I can introduce to them? What kind of magic would I learn?
There are so many things and people I appreciate but today I thank to those kids including Momo, my daughter, who shared multi-cultured and colored stories with me in the last decade. They got me ready for the new journey to find more stories.