“I remembered that the real world was wide, and that a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had the courage to go forth into its expanse, to seek real knowledge of life amidst its perils.” – Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
Earlier this month, Chandler and I made the trek up to Waterloo, Iowa. Everyone we had spoken to about UNI’s Overseas Placement Service for Educators had told us to keep our options open and be prepared for a roller coaster of changes and emotions. They were right.
In my last blog, I listed our locations of interest as Monterrey, Mexico; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Athens, Greece; Kathmandu, Nepal; Muscat, Oman; and Asuncion, Paraguay. Well, after interviewing with Mexico, we decided that while they’re a great school, it just wasn’t a great fit for both sides. Slovenia ended up filling their positions ahead of time and didn’t make it to the fair. Bangladesh, Greece, Nepal, and Paraguay required more years of teaching experience from me. Oman was crossed off the list due more to lifestyle reasons than the school itself.
Which makes it sound like we sat around scratching our heads thinking what on earth do we do now? But in reality, we had been contacted by schools in three other countries just days prior to the fair. Countries that weren’t even on our radar: The Bahamas, Ghana, and Venezuela.
Those three interviews went amazingly and we got offers at all three schools. So I know what you’re thinking, we’re moving to the Bahamas : ) But actually…we aren’t. While we liked the school and LOVED the administration, they only had one and half positions open for the two of us. Which would have meant a serious paycut, lack of benefits, and potential job stagnation…for me. So while it was incredibly difficult, we had to say no to the Bahamas. Don’t worry, we’ll be keeping in contact with them in the future!
Which meant our next choice was between Venezuela and Ghana. Both are shockingly good schools in countries neither of us had given much thought to. I swore to Chandler that I wouldn’t be returning to Africa any time soon and the Venezuelan school hadn’t previously listed jobs that matched our qualifications. But as we sat with administrators from both schools, we began to see possible futures opening up for us in each of the countries.
In the end, I’m not really sure what it came down to – familiarity, more time spent talking with one set of administrators over the other, jobs that were slightly better fits, a lower financial offer haha but on July 28th/29th, we’ll be heading back to Africa, this time with the destination of Accra, Ghana in our sights!
I’m going to be a second grade teacher and Chandler will be an elementary support teacher for students with mild disabilities. I’m hoping I’ve learned my “never say never” lesson, because I couldn’t be more excited to be moving to Accra!
Now, with all of this happening, I haven’t been able to read quite as much as I would have hoped, but I was able to add one more book to my list of giveaways below. So, if you find yourself in need of something to read and one of these strikes your fancy, just let me know and I would be happy to send it to you : )
–The Heroine’s Bookshelf: Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder by Erin Blakemore – An exploration of classic heroines and their equally admirable authors that shows today’s women how to best tap into their inner strengths and live life with intelligence, grace, and vitality.
–Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun – An epidemic of insomnia has broken out and our narrator ventures out into a world ransacked by mass confusion and desperation. However, he persists in his quest for his lost wife, finding a resolve and inner strength that he never knew he had.
–A House at the Edge of Tears by Venus Khoury-Ghata translated by Marilyn Hacker – A harrowing and mesmerizing novel that presents the disintegration of a family and a country – both ruled by a fury fueled by fear.
–Dear Life by Alice Munro – A collection of stories by a Nobel Prize winner that illuminate the moment a life is shaped or changed. These stories about departures and beginnings, accidents, dangers, and homecomings both virtual and real, paint a vivid and lasting portrait of how strange, dangerous, and extraordinary the ordinary life can be.
-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.” Thousands of years hence, many races inhabit a universe where a mind’s potential is determined by its location in space.
Also, Chandler and I have finally combined our books (this is not something either of us was willing to rush into!), so we now have about 100 books up for grabs. At this point, I haven’t decided if I should dedicate an entire blog to giving them away or if we simply need to donate them to a local shelter/agency. I’ll let you know soon : )