Or, “How two of us managed to leave on time, on the same day, to get dinner at a place that was closed on Wednesday’s”.
Once preschool finishes and we send the little monsters home, or deposit them into after school care, we all run around cleaning and preparing for our afternoon lessons. (Unless we’re overseeing after school care, in which case, we get to watch over an eclectic mix of preschoolers for half and hour longer before running around prepping).
The afternoon classes are the big kid English classes. Sometimes we’re teaching preschool graduates who have (or more likely whose parents have) elected them to continue learning English grammar and sometimes we have kids from the community who come once a week to learn a basic level of English.
Most days our schedules don’t match up because these afternoon classes are at all random times. So sometimes we’ll catch 30 minutes or an hour with each other before we have to go run into a classroom again. Very rarely do two of us ever leave at the same time.
More often then not, when one of us says we’re finished for the day, the rest practically all yell at them to, “run. Go. Leave. Just get out of here. Why haven’t you left yet? Seriously, go home!”
Or my favorites, “take me with you” and “I’ll give you ¥5000 (about $45) to teach my class.” (Neither of which have ever worked sadly…)
But on the seldom chance that we can get our schedules to align and two of us leaves early, we try to take advantage of it.
My one coworker, one of her student’s family owns a local ramen restaurant right around the corner from the preschool. This in a of itself it not a big deal, but this coworker is vegan and said restaurant was able to prepare a vegan dish if given enough warning ahead of time.
She was so excited that she immediately wanted to go try it. Her schedule is such that Wednesdays are her free day and she could leave early if she didn’t have too much prep work to do for the following day. I got lucky that Wednesday is also my free day, but I’m usually swamped trying to prepare for my classes for the rest of the week.
But she was hell bent that we tried this restaurant as soon as possible. So we decided that this wedneday would be our big outing.
On Monday she wrote a note home to this student’s parents asking if we would be able to come in, in two days, on Wednesday to try their vegan dish.
Turned out, Wednesday is the only day of the week that they are closed.
But because we had a connection to the family, and they were so willing and generous, they decided to open up special just for us on that one Wednesday.
So we made a pact; that day we’d get everything finished in one hour and leave at 4 pm (technically that’s when we’re officially set to leave, we just can never get out that early because of said prep work.)
But when Wednesday rolled around, you better believe we put ourselves into isolation for an hour to crank out everything we could!!
The restaurant itself was small and cozy with a few stand alone tables and counter seating. But the food was delicious! And it tasted even better knowing that it was prepared especially for us that night. The husband was behind the kitchen cooking, the wife was sitting at a table nearby, and her two boys were alternately speaking with us because it was unique to see your teachers outside of school, hiding from us because of sudden shyness, running around yelling, and just generally being kids. It was adorable!
The family was so kind and we made sure to thank them profusely as we left. We took our time and savored each bite of that ramen! There is nothing like a big, steaming bowl of ramen in the middle of the week, to give you that extra oomph to make it to Friday! We haven’t had the chance to go back yet, but we’ll make sure to return on a day with regular business hours.