My husband and I came back from Japan last August after teaching there for four years through the JET Programme. We made a lot of friends, and we were sad to see them go. We came back with the hope that we could finally get a place and live together, have successful jobs, and continue where our friendships in the states left off. My husband’s family let us stay with them, rent free, until we were able to get back on our feet. There are currently seven other people living in this tiny house. We are still living there. I began teaching at a charter school, but was forced to quit two months in after unbearable and inappropriate working conditions. My husband was unable to land a decent-paying job, and we ultimately began working part-time at Target while we looked for something better. In May of this year, my husband was able to quit and begin a new job at a Japanese company, the pay much better. I quit working at Target in early March due to unsafe working conditions and an slight injury I took to my arm because of them. I have been unemployed since. I have been constantly applying to various schools for this coming school year, and while I do have a substitute teaching permit (obtained in May), most schools finished at the beginning or in early June, so I was unable to substitute teach.

My friends are almost nonexistent here. My best from from high school has been acting differently towards me. She is not supportive and is constantly chastising my actions and decisions. She has said to me that I need to see a psychiatrist because I have issues. This she said to me when I vented to her about some upsetting events that were occuring within the household. People who have said they are my friends never seem to want to talk or hang out. The friends I made in Japan never want to Skype or talk much. I’ve asked a number of times (especially since when we were leaving, they desperately wanted to keep in contact via Skype and other messaging platforms), but they’ve ignored the idea completely. Others, when I talk to them about how life is difficult out here, or when I confide in them, they don’t respond. But they message me when THEY need something, skipping over what I said entirely.

My friend I made at the charter school I haven’t seen since last December. I’ve messaged her throughout the year to cheer her on at that terrible charter school, and to let her know that I support her. I’ve told her a number of times that I’d like to see her, but that I understood how busy she was, which was why I was looking forward to summer vacation for her: we could finally get together and relax and talk. She wanted a week to herself to recover from all the stress that went on at the school. Then she said we would definitely hang out. It’s now been a month.

I’m tired of putting all this effort into these “friendships.” They seem very one-sided. It’s frustrating. My husband and I still aren’t able to move out. My being unemployed certainly doesn’t help. Some of the family members here are intolerable, my husband agrees, and I find myself locked up in our room most of the day to avoid all the unnecessary drama.

I went from a life of wonder, fun, excitement, and one where I made enough money to live comfortably and save to a life where I am friendless, jobless, and ultimately unable to take care of my husband and me. I am lonely and sad. And depressed. But not one of the people who call themselves my “friends” care.

Thanks for listening. ~M