according to the JET handbook, i should be scheduled for a downward spiral right about now. that's right--month three is the approximate date of what's described clinically as "cultural fatigue." however, unlike most of my fellow english-speaking transplants, i haven't been on a high since i got here...i had some rocky times at the beginning. my enjoyment has been much more tentative. slowly the me in me is taking root in new earth and opening its leaves to the sun. i think the far less frequent threat of panic attacks is something to celebrate. i no longer feel like hiding when i walk down the street. actually, when some unknowing person stares at me i think, "oh get with the program, surely you've heard about the new english teachers by NOW." over time, i'm achieving a balance of doing what's considered normal and letting go and doing what no japanese person would do, just because its ME coming out (like bopping to justin timberlake in my headphones while knitting and mouthing the words on the quiet commuter train). i'm trying to enjoy this place now. unlike visiting my college in tacoma, visiting my temporary home in japan will not be so easy. the very nature of the school system is based on change. every three years, you get moved, sometimes more often than that. if i came back in three years, i might not know anyone!
while i am not exactly sitting around waiting for darkness and frustration to set in, nor am i deluded to the point of believing it can't touch me. one problem with depression is often it's so nebulous that you aren't aware of its presence until it gets really bad or starts to let up. i know the weather does wonders for my mood and when it starts to get cold and gray, i may feel the same. regardless, i'm hoping the worst is behind me.