Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Road is Long, With Many a Winding Turn

I made a big step today - a big step forward on the Road of Life; a step that I hope will begin the rest of my life.

It is something that I've been thinking really hard about for a few months now, something that has given me a lot of stress and has loaded my mind down with questions and confusion and just plain weight and worry. That weight and worry is still there, of course, as there are still many arrangements to be made, but I at least feel some of that weight being replaced with excitement and relief - excitement for what's to come and relief that I finally made a decision!

The decision to which I refer is the one I made to register for the i-to-i Teach in China internship! I'm departing August 23rd, 2010 (which seems far way but really isn't on the grand scheme of things) and will be joining a group of other interns from all over the world in this grand adventure!

We will all be meeting in Beijing for a 5 day orientation in which we get acquainted with the country and each other (I'm SO excited to make some new friends from around the world), then will be placed in schools all over China (we can specify our preferences in terms of area - I hope to end up in southern China, somewhere around Hong Kong) to work teaching english for 4.5 mths. To be frank, the pay honestly isn't great, but our accommodation is covered and I feel this will be a great way for me to gain some experience (my current teaching experience amounts to exactly ZERO, so I'll take any experience I can get) and make some contacts, all while living in one of the largest, most exciting countries in the world!

I'm still not sure teaching is for me, but this internship will give me a chance to try it on for size. If it doesn't fit, I always have my degree to fall back on and I have many options - I could come back to Canada, I could travel around a bit (take a break from working for a change - perhaps visit my brother and his husband in New Zealand?!), or stay put and try to find other work. On the other hand, I may find a new calling (you never know!) and want to stick with TEFL, in which case Asia is my oyster - I could stay put, or move to Korea, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan (wherever!) and sign a bigger, better-paying contract and continue on that path. The great thing about TEFL as a career is the flexibility, and the fact that you never really want for a job.

Honestly, though, I'm not really thinking in those terms at this point. I just see this as an adventure right now - a chance to break out of the rut I've been in for the past few months. I've felt a profound shift in the past year - I became single again and found myself in a temp job that I enjoy, but nevertheless fell into because I needed the money (not exactly a romantic reason) and one which I don't see myself in in the future (and has nothing to do with my degree). All of my friends are either moving away or settling down - getting married and having babies, becoming home-bodies - or finding their own careers and niches in life. I'm not doing any of those things and in a way I've felt like the furthest I've ever been from these things in my entire life. This life-shift breeded an enormous restlessness in my core.

This restlessness has been plaguing me for more than 6 mths now - I've had this urgent need inside to break out of my current life, move somewhere far away to live and work, meet new people, see new places (exotic, foreign places that I've only read about in magazines and books), rack up funny and wacky stories to share and hopefully find my 'place'. This restless feeling has threatened to topple me into depression at times and even once I decided TEFL would be a good way to shake this feeling, there were still countless worries and questions weighing on my mind. I felt so overwhelmed with information for what felt like forever that I NEVER thought I would see a light at the end of the tunnel, that I would never take that step forward. But now that I have, I feel confident and my mind finally feels free (well, as free as my mind can EVER feel).

I'm really scared, of course, and I'm going to miss my loved ones and my home so much. But when it comes right down to it this feels right for me at this stage in my life, and the fact is no one ever knows what's going to happen. Life is one big winding, seemingly endless road with twists and turns and crossroads and off-ramps - all you can do is make the decision you feel is best for you at the time and hope it works. And that's what I've done for myself.

Sorry to blab on all philosophically and all, but give me a break! I'm just in a very introspective, emotional place right now having made this decision. I have a million feelings and thoughts swimming around in there! But I also have a newfound confidence and excitement - I can't wait to move onto the next step.

Is it August yet???!!

*An addendum to this post (as of Feb 23, 2010) - I am no longer taking the i-to-i internship as financially it's just not in the cards for me. I do still plan to go overseas possibly, but if I do I plan to find a job with a school that will pay my way. Kinda freaked to again be in the position where I am not sure what the future brings, but I'm sure I will figure it out. Who knows maybe I will stick to Canada for now, I dunno yet. In the meantime, I'm still working on my online ESL course so that I can become certified as an ESL teacher, and as for the question of "where" - we will see what happens!*


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