As I sit here in the bus, with the view of Mt Fuji in the distance, I can hear the happy chit-chat of both students and teachers as they disembark to visit the hot volcanic boiling pits (they are about to try the black eggs…. more on that later), and I never forget what a privilege it is to do this trip.
So appreciative of the teachers who have volunteered to come, Mrs Burgin, Mrs Ellis, Miss Ruse, Mr Hannah and Mr Connolly have worked tirelessly to ensure that each student is involved, focused and cared for; impressed with the 32 students who have stepped up and tried their best to meet the challenges set for them and they are just amazing!
Working with Miss Roche is a huge blessing for me, her understanding of the culture and etiquette required to move smoothly though this country is greatly respected and how she has worked passionately to expand the students’ knowledge and encouraged our students to use their language and in turn has seen the fruits of her labor, and of course the work of the LOTE teachers back home, pay off: it’s always such a proud moment to hear the students speaking to the people they meet along the way with confidence and a dash of excitement when they realize they have been fully understood.
JOE has a wonderful way of bringing people together; encouraging growth as we stretch and strain together.
The Japanese have a great word for this “ISSHOKEMMEI”
(Work very hard, collectively with utmost effort, with all one’s might, desperately, frantically, for dear life, all-out effort, sticking at living in and defending one’s place/ tribe)
JOE teams do this and I believe each member comes away enriched, with personal growth experiences, something different for each.
Sometimes it may take your child a little while to share these, show these changes, it maybe subtle, but it’s there. They have experienced so much in just three weeks…
Last night we had our last all-in debrief, which is something I started on the first trip in 2004, and in the same lovely boutique Ryokan, in it’s quiet meeting room. We ask students to share some of their thoughts and experiences; the staff as well. We all have some similar and then some individual and personal experiences. But collectively the common feeling is one of “So glad I came!”.
Below are some of the comments from your children. So blessed to be part of this:
◦ Meeting new people from Genesis and also Minokamo and Japan
◦ Entire homestay was a high for me!
◦ Pushing myself to try stuff
◦ The food at homestay!
◦ The students at the sister school
◦ Homestay over the weekend – catching up with the Genesis kids
◦ The whole trip – I am so glad that I came!!
◦ Jakob falling into the Pampas Grass (he’s ok…)
◦ The trains – the busyness of the stations and the hustle and bustle
◦ BBQ at home stay with Shayne’s family
◦ Karaoke at the homestay
◦ Spending time with a buddy from 2 years ago
◦ All the little things – but I still love GEAR!
◦ Rice and Pocky
◦ Visiting my host family – it was really good!!!
◦ The debates I had with my host brother
◦ Walking through history
So for the last push home over the next three days as we leave the country side behind for the capital of Tokyo we will collectively
I am forever grateful- Mrs S