Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Interns Have Arrived!

     KEEP is hosting a whole gang of interns this summer. Just recently, the first crop of them arrived. This group is from Berea College in Kentucky. They are four really incredible students if you think they picked up and moved to a strange country for two months of their summer holiday. Their tasks here at KEEP include working on the farm, two of the students are studying agricultural related subjects at school, and working at the camp with students that come to KEEP. If you want to see what they are up to, one of the students, Aja Crouteau, has been keeping a blog to keep everyone at home updated. It's a great read if you're interested in other on-goings at KEEP besides what I am involved in. Because they're only here for two months, they have been given the gift of bikes, which unfortunately will get them to the 7-11 down the hill, but that is about it and I feel like it is my duty, as the English speaker with a car, to take them to the grocery store or mall whenever the need. I know how awkward it can be to ask someone that is your superior to take you to get something that is totally American, like peanut butter, so I am constantly bugging them to see if they need anything. There is also another intern right now that is here from Brazil. Tomorrow, our intern Emily from Wellesley College arrives and will be living in the same dorm as me. Over the summer, we also will have interns from France, the Philippines and possibly Afghanistan coming here to KEEP. I like to think of myself as the intern Momma because I am going to see them all arrive and then leave and I'll still be here. It's a really weird way to think of it--I'm five months in and still have another seven, but these students are going to be spending their whole time here within my remaining time. Time seriously is flying.

     The other night, the international relations department had a night out at a local izakaya ("a type of Japanese drinking establishment which also serves food to accompany the drinks. They are casual places for after-work drinking." --Wikipedia) called Zenzow. It was kind of an official "welcome dinner" for the Berea students and was a really enjoyable night and kind of the first night I had spent not hanging out in the dorm. I felt like a barrier between me and my coworkers has been broken and now they know they can invite me out. The next day my coworker at the hotel told me about their department dinner party this upcoming month. I feel like I have finally made progress! This is also the time right before the super busy season at KEEP and people are taking advantage of the calm before the storm.
Jaimah and Victoria trying umeboshi--or pickled plums--for the first time.
The Berea students' first full day in Japan--discussing what their jobs at KEEP will be.
Victoria, Zack and Aja at Zenzow
International Relations department outing.
Victoria trying something for the first time.
The damage at the end of the meal.
Aja, Victoria, Zack and Jaimah at the meeting for the Hokuto City student exchange to Canada. They will be helping me teach the English classes for the students that take place while they are still here.

Until next time,

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