Two weeks into my Japanese adventure I was approached by a grey-haired man of about sixty. No introductions, no small talk, just straight out of his mouth like a cannonball to the stomach. "I want to hire you to teach English at my company." And so begins one request, two awkward smiles.
I can not tell you the number of times people have approached me about teaching them English. Unlike that first experience, most people usually wait a little while to drop the E-bomb. A few weeks in, we would inevitably be sitting at Mister Donut and they would casually and skillfully toss out the E-bomb. Different faces, but the same conversation time after time after time.
"So, I am thinking about going to America this summer."
"Oh really. That sounds like fun. Where are you thinking of going?"
"California, but I really need to study English some more before I go."
I notice the textbook that has miraculously appeared in the space between us. One request, two awkward smiles.
I thought having children would somehow exempt me. Nah, we don't want her, she's too busy with her kids and trying to keep house. Not the case. Now, English lessons are coded as play dates.
Mom holding up a toy, "What's this?"
"A block." I answer, deep in my gut knowing where this is all going.
"You hear that little Yoko? This is a block. Can you say the sentence for her?"
"This is a block."
"Hear that," Mom cocks her head to the side and cups her ear, "That is a native speaker. Aren't you glad to have her as a teacher."
One play date. Two awkward smiles.
Then, yesterday one teacher from Bailey's school approached me.
"Would you be interested in teaching English at all of our daycares?" (They have about six schools total.)
The Mom standing beside me chimed in, "Everybody wants you to."
"I will think about," I mumble.
"We would watch Sophie for free while you are teaching. We can talk about all the details later. We are just in the planning stages now," the teacher smiles.
"I will think about it," I repeat.
One request, two awkward smiles.
Later, I push it around the plate with Hubs. Like a few, stray peas starting to get mushy. We do need a new digital camera. Christmas and a whole bunch of birthdays are coming soon. What I thought was a perfectly rounded no starts to loose it's shape. I can almost hear the peas pop open and the squishy inside dribbling out. So, my no has become a maybe. Just not sure if I am in the mood for mushy peas or not.