Can it be really be late February and nary a post from either of us in weeks…months? Rest assured, we are alive and well and over our bouts of homesickness 🙂
It’s been a busy 2019 so far with Michael’s schedule changing to 10 hour days and my scrambling to find a job before the end of January so Jack can stay at his assigned daycare. When I went to the Ward Office to register Jack for daycare back in October, I was told once he starts in, I would have 3 months to find a job to retain his spot in the daycare. Little did I know that the 3 months was actually 1.5 months since he started December 1st and the form declaring my employment status needed to be turned in by January 31st and with no schools operating the last week of December and the first few weeks of January, it shortened what little time I had to find a job.
Most English language schools are looking for 2 things: full-time employees or evening and weekend employees, both of which I am unable to do due to the work visa I hold and the fact that Michael works Saturdays, so I need to be home with the kids. My time constraints proved to be a challenge finding a company that was looking for weekday morning/early afternoon availability only. One company asked for a Skype interview in the middle of January. During the interview they explained they were looking to hire for the new school year starting in April, so they wouldn’t make a decision until the end of February, which was too late for my January 31st deadline.
I had one, in-person interview lined up January 22nd, which only gave 9 days for them to hire me…it looked like I wouldn’t make the deadline after all. Regardless, I did my best on the written “test”, my demonstration lesson and during the group and individual interview. To my surprise, they gave me a verbal offer at the end of the interview (thanks Starosky!). After waiting 2 days for the official offer letter, I approached HR to ask if they could fill out the necessary forms for me to show to the Child Welfare Department to prove I have a job so that Jack can retain his spot at his daycare. They graciously agreed, but the HR manager’s earliest availability was at noon on January 31st. No problem, I thought since I could simply turn in the form after the meeting with HR.
The morning of the 31st, I made sure to bring everything: passport, residency card, driver’s license, health insurance card (you never know over here!), Michael’s official hanko seal, and my Osaka City number card (yes, I have been reduced a 23 digit number🤔). I got there 15 minutes early knowing I needed everything to run on time. But the extra 15 minutes didn’t help because it took about 2 hours to fill out the paperwork and sign the contract! By law, the employer has to read aloud the Labor Standards Act (11 two-sided pages in 8 point font!!) I got the needed documents and looked at the clock: 1:50 p.m.?!?!? I ran to the metro station, got Z from school and we biked over to the Ward office.
We made it there in record time, ran in, went to the 3rd floor and turned in the paperwork. We waited as the clerk made sure everything was filled out correctly. She then brought over the pink guidelines paper and highlighted 45 hours. I need to have 45 hours of work per month to qualify. My 28 hour per month contract I signed did not meet the minimum number of hours. She explained it was possible that Jack would lose his spot at daycare. She asked if we had family who could care for Jack, perhaps grandparents nearby? (Any plans to relocate here Gigi and Grandpa?😁)
Fast forward to today–I’ve visited the ward office twice this month for various reasons and I made sure to stop by the Child Welfare Department to check the status of Jack’s daycare situation. They haven’t given official word that he will lose his spot, at the same time he hasn’t been officially confirmed. I’d like to think they are putting things on pause in hopes of me securing more work soon. I received many brochures on different types of care settings not subsidized by the government, but that I should check out as well as other kindergartens that are a few kilometers away (am I thinking in the metric system now?!?!), but do have openings.
February has been busy with classroom observations. lesson planning and training, which has kept me quite busy. I had a 3rd interview on Monday and, fingers crossed, I get the job and this whole dilemma will be behind us soon. And if not, it will work out the way it’s supposed to. Life is full of lessons and since moving here, I’m learning to just go with the flow. Living abroad can be challenging, but it is so worth it. I highly recommend it to anyone who is on the fence!