Welcome to the Maiden Voyage of my blog!
Background: About a year ago I'd realized that I'd reached the unenviable time of life when most people around me were doing things like pairing up, making babies, and buying living spaces to put them. I don't mean to knock those of you who have done these things or are doing them currently -- but the fact of the matter remained that the track of my life had never pointed to babies and two and a half baths. Well, all right, how about the other route? Career Girl! Except that I found myself stuck in a dead-end job with a boss who reminded me of a cross between an old-school James Bond Villain and Ursula from The Little Mermaid. Less singing, more evil. I began a lackluster job search, finding little motivation to move from one office job to another, where in all likelihood I would find the same heartburn and sleepless nights under a different DC address.
And so, at the always-lovely age of 30, I found myself just sort of coasting. Studio apartment in cool Old Town Alexandria, job that chewed holes in my stomach but that offered free parking at Metro Center. Drinks and hockey games on the weekends. I am a serious Caps fan.
What was I going to do to wake myself up?
I've always loved traveling; I feel it is unequivocably the best way to learn about another culture, and to learn about yourself. But due to life being, well, life, when I got my passport stamped to go to Rome in 2009, it had literally been ten years since I had set foot outside the United States.
That just sucks. Because seriously, life is too damn short to spend it stuck in traffic.
So I turned to an idea that had been germinating for a while. Finding a job abroad. Unfortunately I'm not an IT guy or an engineer, jobs that are pretty hot overseas right now. But I do know my own language. I know about comma usage and subject-verb agreement. Maybe someone would pay for me to come to their country and teach their young people English.
And that's exactly what I found. It wasn't easy. Took a while for me to find a program that both offered the things I was looking for, and that would actually accept me. The application process itself took forever. A bunch of other stuff happened that maybe I'll tell you about in another post sometime. But then, finally, I got the email. I was going to the Republic of Georgia. I would be teaching English.
There were some caveats. I wouldn't know what grade I would be teaching, until I arrived in the country itself and signed a contract. I also wouldn't know where in the country I would be living, or what my host family would be like. I thought about it and talked about it and wrote about it, and finally decided that I didn't care about all the unknowns that came along with this opportunity. Because that's exactly what it was. An amazing, incredible opportunity to experience another culture and country in a way I never had before.
After I decided to go, I wrote the following in my Journal.
"Despite decades of hopeful searching, I never did find the wardrobe or the wrinkle in time. And now, well into Adulthood, it would seem that a desperate bid for ex-patriotism is in fact my very last chance to slip the noose of a 'normal life.' And I will go. I will go because I know all too well that I will regret it for the rest of my life if I don't. And there have been far to many of those cluttering things up already.
A year away from my dearest friends, and a family that is my rock, my lifeline. I think maybe it is time to live without a lifeline. I want a challenge, an adventure. It is time to press CTL+ALT+DEL, and restart this stalled and frozen life of mine. I want to break myself down to my base elements and find out exactly what I am made of."