A fellow slicer gave me this idea…reflecting on where you were 2 years ago and how life has changed since then. Here goes!
Two short years ago, I made a decision that would forever change who I am. I had been teaching in the same district in suburban Texas for 6 years, and while I loved the life I had created for myself, something was missing. I’ve always been a traveler at heart, and the constant whisper in the back of my head to become an international teacher was continuously getting louder. I tried to ignore it, reassuring myself that I was where I needed to be. I had a great job, amazingly supportive and loving friends and family, a house to call my own…a comfortable life. Yet something was missing. I wasn’t fulfilled. So I decided to follow my whisper.
On a whim, I applied to a handful of international schools in Europe and one in China. I didn’t tell anyone about my applications. I knew I wouldn’t get a job, so what was the point, right? Well, a few weeks later, I received an email that the school in China would like to interview me via Skype. Uh oh! That was the country I wasn’t sure about. I was prepared for Europe, but China?!? I can’t live in China! But, that ever-present whisper nudged me to go ahead with the interview. It can’t hurt, right? I need the interview practice anyway.
Sitting at my dining room table after work one day, I logged into Skype and waited for the call. After a lengthy discussion with the principal interrupted by a few lost connections (the joys of Chinese internet that I had yet to discover), I got off the call actually hoping I would be offered the job. At this point, I still hadn’t told anyone and wasn’t planning on it. Why worry them that I might move halfway around the world if it was still only a distant possibility? I’ll tell them if I get the offer.
Well, I got the offer. I received an email about 2 weeks following the interview offering me a two year contract teaching third grade in China. Oh, and they wanted an answer by the end of the week…did I mention I received the email on a Tuesday? Whoa! I was not prepared for this. I had followed my whisper, followed my excitement, but was I really ready to step into the unknown? What was I going to tell my parents? They’re going to kill me! I immediately called my closest friends to tell them the news and seek their advice. I received mixed reactions from complete and utter joy for this opportunity that lay in front of me to complete resistance to this new idea, but I knew that ultimately it was my decision. After a couple of sleepless nights, I had made my decision. I was going to accept the job. I was going to move to China. Now all I had to do was tell my parents. That’s when the fear set in.
I phoned my mom on Thursday afternoon. “Hey mom, is dad with you?” I asked.
“No, he’s out. What’s up?”
“Oh, nothing. I just wanted to talk to the two of you together.” “Well, why don’t you just tell me whatever it is.”
“Nah…I’d rather you both be on the line.”
“Jennifer, you’re worrying me. Just tell me.”
“Mom, just call me back when dad’s with you, OK? I’ve gotta go! Love you!”
Several hours later… “Hey, it’s me,” mom says on the other end. “And me!” dad chimes in.
Great, I grumble. It’s go time. “Well, I have something to tell you…there’s this really great opportunity…I know you’ve been saying I should go for things…I have been offered a job…It’s at this really great school…AndI’vedecidedtoaccept thejobandI’mmovingtoChina.” I said, fumbling through my words like an idiot.
Dad spoke first. “Is that all?”
“Is that all?!?! Didn’t you hear me? I’m MOVING to CHINA!” “Well, you had your mom and I so worked up that you wanted us to call you at the same time, so we figured you were going to say you were pregnant. This is actually a relief.”
“Dad, I’m not even dating anyone!”
“I know, that’s why it was so scary.”
The hard part was over. The decision was made. Now I just had to figure out what to do with all my stuff (and house), but that’s another slice for another day.