As promised, I thought I’d give a little update on my life and check-in. So for those of you just tuning into my blog, I returned home (The U.S.) at the end of December after teaching abroad in Chile for 3.5 years. I celebrated Christmas with my family for the first time in 4 years and rang in the New Year with my childhood best friend.
This next part of my blog I think I've been putting off writing because I really don't know where I'm going next or what's in store for me. I don't have the answers that everyone keeps asking me. So here's my vulnerable update:
At first when I got home everybody kept asking me, “What are you going to do now?” and I would tell them that for now, I am enjoying my “summer vacation”. All teachers need their summer break to recharge. Now we’re in April and here I am, still enjoying my “summer break”. I didn’t realize until all of the dust settled how intense and hectic of a life I have led for the past 3.5 years. I still don’t feel completely recharged and I’m learning to not feel guilty about it. I’m taking the time I need to heal and rejuvenate myself before the next adventure, and yes, there will be a next adventure.
After traveling for a little over a month, I’ve started to really dig deep. I’ve been tirelessly working on being healthy both physically and mentally. The transition from your early 20’s into your late 20’s is a hard one for so many reasons, but it’s definitely been an eye-opening physical change for me. My metabolism has slowed way down and the things I used to get away with eating before don’t fly anymore. This has played a big factor in my anxiety and I finally have the time to properly address it. I have been working out 5 days a week and have committed to a nutrition plan to lose weight. I’ve been losing inches but even more so, I’ve been gaining muscle (about 3% every 3 weeks so far). I feel stronger than I ever have.
On top of taking care of myself physically, I’m really taking this time to nurture myself emotionally. Living in Chile was hard man, plain and simple. It was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me, but it really took a toll on me. I’m taking this time to learn to just be. I've been exploring meditation and even did a reiki session. I love going to the dog park on the regular where I know the dogs by name, I love reading books until late into the night and I love being with my friends and family.
Looking in, it may look like I’m just being lazy. Maybe I am. But I know that this is what I need right now. I need to just be and to allow myself to heal and recharge so that I can go back out into the world and be the best I can be. And let me tell you, sitting still has not been easy for me. I find myself constantly going into a downward spiral of anxiety surrounding my next job. Where is it going to be? Have I applied to enough jobs? (over 30 and counting) Should I just wait now? What if I never get hired? I can’t tell you how many times a day I check my e-mail hoping to finally put an end to this agony. But I know that this is all part of the process. The uncertainty is what’s killing me honestly. I like to have control on every aspect of my life, so to have something so important as my career and home be unknown has been very hard for me. I just have to keep reminding myself that what is for me, is for me and will not pass me. I got this.
So what is next for me?
I wish I had that answer. What I do know is that I am going abroad again to teach. I’m open to doing special ed. or general ed. I also know that I’ll be going to Europe, I truly feel like I belong there. The original plan was to go back to my favorite place in the world, Barcelona. I’ve applied to many many international schools over there, but I’ve come to realize that there’s a certain level of competition to teaching there that I didn’t anticipate. So after a few months of not receiving any acknowledgment or responses, I’ve slowly started to expand the circle. I’m now considering Spain, Ireland or England. Applying for these jobs is sort of like fishing. You just keep sending out your stuff until eventually you get a bite. It takes a lot of patience and determination. Most schools in Europe also follow our school calendar, so some of the schools may just be starting to make considerations for the following year.
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I stumbled upon this poet, Morgan Harper Nichols, on Pinterest who sums it up so perfectly it's scary:
-By the way, León is doing great. He’s loving life here on our little farm. He plays with my mom’s puppy all day long. He loves to sit on my lap in the car and stick his head out the window –a dog luxury he was lacking in Chile since I didn’t have a car. León is happy as long as he is with me and vice versa. Needless to say, wherever I end up next, you can bet your ass I won’t be traveling alone.