There is something special about the time one spends living abroad. Wherever you are in the world, you are bound to have experiences that are truly unique to you and your situation.
I had one of those experiences last night. D and I decided to brave the downpour and go out to sing karaoke with one of our neighbors. While we were waiting for our friend, (and completely rain soaked) one of my students walked in with her parents! I was so surprised because I have never seen a student at karaoke before at night. We said hello and I introduced myself to her mom and dad, and then they went upstairs to their karaoke room. This was my ichinensei student who always writes on her English assignments something about singing. For my Hand Turkey assignment, she wrote that she is thankful for her voice so she can “sing a song.” She is so sweet. I also know her a little better than most of my students because I helped her prepare for the English skit contest back in September.
A few minutes later, my student came back down and invited D and I to come share the room with her and her parents! I told her that we were waiting for another friend, but I would happily come and sing a song with her.
I also happen to know that this student of mine is a huge Taylor Swift fan, because after my intro lesson in her class, she approached me and told me that she also loves Taylor Swift and saw her perform in Tokyo. (I told my students during my presentation that Shake It Off is my favorite Taylor Swift song.)
So when we got to the room, I asked my student if she wanted to sing a Taylor song with me. She got so excited and suggested that we sing Shake It Off together. So there we were, belting out into the microphone while both of her parents clapped and sang along.
We posed for a picture with our microphones, and then D and I thanked my student and her parents so much for letting us join. Then we left to go sing our own tunes with our friend.
Since my school has over 700 students, I struggle to remember most of their names. It also doesn’t help that I only see each class once or twice a month.
But I was just so excited that I happened upon a student who I can say that I actually know last night. And that I ran into her at karaoke made it so much better because I know she loves to sing, and I was able to have that experience with her.
After a tough week at school (I made the decision not to recontract–more on than later), I felt rejuvenated after singing that song.
One of the things I love most about being in Japan this year is that these random opportunities I am presented with probably won’t happen anywhere else. When I am back to teaching in America, I’ll never wind up singing karaoke with one of my students on a rainy Saturday night.
I am savoring every moment.