This Week’s Meeting (Jan 1, 2019)
- There is no meeting this week. Happy New Year!
Last Meeting (Dec 11, 2018)
- Following a brief club meeting, there was a board meeting. A link to the minutes of the meeting was sent to all members.
- Are you interested in joining a team to participate in the Cabin Fever Trivia Night on Friday evening, January 11 in Iowa City, to benefit the Girls on the Run for Eastern Iowa? We already have commitments from seven club members! If another three or four club members agree to participate, we could form two teams and invite some potential new members to join us! [Up to 8 people per team] Please let Steve Hanson know right away so we can get our teams signed up by the end of this week! firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-930-9827
- The Iowa City A.M. Rotary Club is the organizing sponsor: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cabin-fever-team-trivia-night-registration-53422710766.
Outbound Student Report
- Here is the latest communication from Evren Sasmazer:
Date: Sat, Dec 29, 2018 at 4:25 AM
Subject: December Report for Evren Sasmazer
December arrived in a very unpronounced way, so much so that you could have easily believed it was still November. No billowing snowstorms or icicles hanging every which way, just a different calendar page to look at. In a similar way, nothing much changed for my day to day life. Everything was in the same place. I’d follow my usual weekday routine with little excursions to mountains or restaurants before the end of the week. The Matsuzakis were as cheerful as ever and I would only occasionally catch glimpses at how much time I actually had left in their house. They’ve since grown to be much more than a “them”. They’re important.
School unfortunately hasn’t seen much change and is starting to feel like a chore. It’s not bad, but generally I feel pretty alienated from everyone. Part of it is a cultural thing but there’s a weird gap, both in age and general behavior that can make it very difficult to relate to any of them. I tried seeing if I could move up to the 2nd year class, the one in my age range, but they said no exchange student had ever done that and it would be incredibly tedious for the teacher to work out. I didn’t want to be a bother so I just let it go. It’s probably my fault, but I haven’t made any REALLY good connections to anyone in school. I tend to find myself in a school that sees itself as needing to speak English to me, instead of me having to speak Japanese to them. The problem however is that as much as I love them, Japanese people are generally not very good at English, making most interactions with fellow students a game of trying to see how many hints I can drop before they can just speak Japanese to me. (Being too direct in Japanese can have some unintended bad effects on the conversation.) It doesn’t help that the curriculum tends to focus on helping the kids pass exams rather than teaching them usable, conversational English, which can lead to situations where it’s much easier for me to understand their Japanese than their English. It’s hard, because I want to help the kids that want to learn English as much as I can, but when the base language for my everyday conversation isn’t Japanese, I tend to miss out on chances to practice speaking.
My birthday came and went and once winter break started, I packed up my things and moved across the city to live with my second host family, the Nabeshimas, a father and mother with their two sons, ages 16 and 10. It’s been somewhat awkward. Because I had been talking with the Matsuzakis for months before coming to Japan, I already had a pretty decent understanding of their family, but being dropped in a new house with no real interaction beforehand was a weird change. It’s getting better now but everyone has been busy this winter break, so I’ve a good chunk of my time alone. Since the Nabeshimas were working, I ended up spending Christmas with my fellow foreign exchange friends in Kanazawa City. Not having to bother with presents this year was a nice change of pace. So now the New Year is coming up, and it sounds like the Nabeshimas are having a little party. I guess we’ll see where I go from here.
|Programs & Events|
|Dec 18||No meeting. Your Own Service On Your Own Time (YOSOYOT)|
|Dec 25||HOLIDAY. No meeting.|
|Jan 1||HOLIDAY. No meeting.|
|Jan 8||Members will document volunteer hours and discuss committee business.|
|Jan 15||Interact will provide the program. Board meeting follows.|
|Jan 22||Soup & Sandwiches at Jodi Kelly’s house; co-hosted by Gretchen and Jodi.|
|Jan 29||Noon meeting. Jeni Laughlin, Principal at WL Elementary School, will present about literacy projects. Anna Hanson leading meeting.|
|Feb 5||Kirt Sickels will present a program about his work for Disabled American Veterans https://www.dav.org/learn-more/news/2018/iowa-navy-veteran-honored-for-career-serving-disabled-veterans/|
|Feb 12||Brief club meeting followed by Board meeting.|
|Feb 19||No meeting – Your Own Service On Your Own Time|
|Feb 26||Noon meeting – Marian Hart in charge of program and leading meeting.|