I haven’t posted in nearly a year, because I figured that without significant travel in my life, I wouldn’t have anything interesting to say. Especially since this blog almost solely documents my life overseas and my travels.
But now that I’m once again planning a life abroad, I’ve found I have more to say. It might not be as interesting to those who used to read this blog; I haven’t gone snorkeling in Thailand recently, there’s been no spelunking in Vietnam, or haggling in Qatar. Instead, I’ve become an elementary school special education teacher and that takes up nearly all of my time.
Yesterday, however, Chandler and I did get fingerprinted, as requested by UNI’s Overseas Placement Service for Educators. The results came back quick – neither of us have a criminal record : ) Which I guess is doubly good news since I’ll be tying my life to his this July. Maybe every engaged couple should run joint background checks through the FBI together, just so each party knows what they’re getting into!
These background checks were the last in a long list of things we needed to get done before our trip to Waterloo, Iowa next month. Once there, we’ll meet with schools from around the world and hope that we strike up a mutual interest with one of them and choose a place to call home for the next two years.
Some of the potential contenders include Monterrey, Mexico; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Athens, Greece; Kathmandu, Nepal; Muscat, Oman; Asuncion, Paraguay; and so many more. So, as you can see, we’d like to narrow it down!
In the meantime, I’ve realized that I own too many things and need to find a way to thin out what I have in order to live a life conducive to consistent traveling. Really, what I’m saying is that I don’t think my parents want to store all of my shit for the rest of their lives. Our bed, the kitchen table, our bookshelves, and living room furniture, all of that stuff will be easy to say goodbye to. Most of it was given to us by some truly wonderful people when we moved to Texas last year. We will continue the tradition by passing it on to someone else who needs it when we leave. Probably, our roommate – Chandler’s brother!
But what about everything else? When I left for Ethiopia, I packed up everything I owned and distributed it between my grandparents and my parents. This time, I’d like to do less of that. I did purge a good number of things when I first got back from Ethiopia…clothes I hadn’t worn since jr. high, textbooks I used in university, art supplies that had gone bad from years of neglect. My sister and I went through my things and learned I had way too many band t-shirts and sweater dresses:
Now my problem is books. I weeded out about 150 books when I got back from Ethiopia, but I still have hundreds left. I got rid of everything I didn’t like or would never read. I kept everything I loved and wanted to read. Well, over a year later, those books I “wanted to read” are still sitting here. I read 64 books in 2015, but I was catching up on everything I missed, not going through my own personal library. And being an elementary school teacher hasn’t helped. I probably purchased over 100 books this past summer as I was applying for jobs – not knowing which grade level I’d get, but not wanting to be unprepared.
The result is that I once again have too many books for a nomadic traveler. We have books overflowing in our bedroom and living room, because Chandler collects books just like I do:
Most of the surfaces in this photo are covered by books and this doesn’t include the three bookshelves in the living room, one of which is twice as high. So my new goal over the next few months, in addition to, you know, planning my wedding, is to start reading more of my own books. And if a book doesn’t move me or speak to me in some other worldly way, I’m going to get rid of it.
This means my Goodreads account is about to get funky. Books I purchased years ago are finally going to get a chance to get read. It also means I’m going to need to find homes for the books I decide not to keep. I thought about donating them, but I’m pretty sure that just means they’ll end up at the bottom of Salvation Army bins and I’m sentimental about books…I brought my last collection of books to the used bookstore in my hometown, amassing over $1,000 worth of credit with them. Since I now live in Texas and don’t plan on shipping all of these books home, I’ve decided to get rid of them via this blog.
Any book that I decide not to keep is going to get posted here. The first person to claim the book and send me their address is going to have it sent to them (within the US only, I can only afford media mail!).
The most recent book I read from my shelf was Isolde: Queen of the Western Isle by Rosalind Miles, purchased nearly a decade ago after watching Tristan & Isolde. I thought it would probably be a little cheesy, something I could easily give away, but instead, I loved it. So much so that I have already purchased the second book and am looking for the third, because, of course, it’s a trilogy. This was not part of the plan!
But here’s a few books I’ve read over the last year that I am ready to part with:
–Dear Life by Alice Munro – A collection of stories by a Nobel Prize winner that illuminate the moment a life is shaped or changed
–A House at the Edge of Tears by Venus Khoury-Ghata translated by Marilyn Hacker – A novel on the disintegration of a Beiruti family and their country
–Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun – An epidemic of insomnia has broken out and the lead character sets off on a quest to find his love
-And Chandler would like to offer up: A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge for any sci-fi fans out there; it’s a “gripping tale of galactic war told on a cosmic scale”
So if you’d care for any of these, just comment below and I’ll try to get them off as soon as possible. I’m planning on posting additional books in future posts, so stay tuned!