Saturday, January 8, 2011

if i stay there will be double

Not every job comes with the opportunity to uproot every two or three years. International teaching does. After fulfilling your initial two- or three-year contract, you can peek over fences annually to see if the grass is greener in Thailand or Bulgaria or Tunisia.

We aren't looking for a new school this year. After a (too) short two year stay in Colombia, we decided to commit at least three years to Kuwait. Maybe four. And  now that we're here and realizing just how comfortable it can be to not move, five years doesn't seem too unlikely. But while we aren't actively seeking employment elsewhere, we've been watching a few friends go through the Stay or Go debate.

And it's a bit infectious. We aren't leaving Kuwait, and still Justin and I both popped onto a couple of international teaching websites to check out schools in other countries. I watched a woman we arrived with carry her suitcase out the courtyard, knowing she was headed for a job fair; I felt a little flutter of envy. Not because she is leaving Kuwait at the end of the school year, but because she gets the whole New Experience thing again. She gets to fly to a new country next August.

We'll get to fly back to our sandy land. Which is fine. And a relief, really. We have friends here. We have places and routine. We have an old Pajero that takes us to our friends and places, through our routine. But I think it's the nature of any international teacher to annually flip through all the countries and wonder if you would really like living in Bolivia or Kenya.

So the other night, Justin asked me where I'd like to go next. I haven't really thought that much about what might come next - probably because my present is quite enough to manage. When I do think about where we might move, I imagine this big cloud called Eastern Europe or another equally fuzzy option called South America. Which means we'll likely end up in the Midlde East. Wait.

I told Justin I would like to move somewhere with sidewalks and clean parks for the kids. (My list is longer. I don't want to digress too much though). I mentioned our original plan B - we were going to move to Alaska if we didn't find a job abroad. We could move to Alaska and I could become an ultra runner wearing bells to keep the bears away. Justin could bike through a wildlife calendar picture every day. Claire and Grant could build forts and fish salmon for dinner. That's what it's like, right?

I asked Justin where he'd like to go. "Africa," he said. I waited for more. That was it. Africa. We know people who have lived in Africa, traveled to Africa, want to return to Africa. But Africa is big.

"We'd have to choose our country carefully," I said. I'd like to witness a lot of things in my life, but a military coup is not one of them. So maybe Africa. Go on safari before all the elephants die.

We talked about Our Next Country. When we move again, we want to move to a place where we really want to live, not a two year stop on our way to a place where we really want to live. So that is why we aren't in a rush to leave Kuwait. We don't want to hop about too much. Still, Stay or Go is a fun game to play. Easier if you aren't really forced to answer.


Kristine (a/k/a Mouse) said...

You make me envious. :) Every post like this makes me wonder if *I* could make it abroad! Then I come back to reality and realize how much food I don't like and how many texture issues I have and I think ... "Well, it'd be *one* way to lose 70 lbs!" ;) I love seeing your posts and I WILL come visit sometime. Hopefully this year.

Nate said...

Mountain lions are attracted to the bells.

Joanna Goodman said...

but you can bang some sticks together, right?

I know what you're talking about Sarah, since we're moving around, too. I think of it as a smaller more confined scale, but still new experiences to be sure. It is always exciting to start fresh in some new place, to become acquainted with what that place has to offer, to be able to join in the community for a bit. And I have to say, I also know what you mean about staying! Ron and I have been here almost 3 years, and we are settled. We have friends, we have a good church, we're happy here! It will be hard to leave, actually, but I know there's different things for us to get to. Maybe this summer, we don't know. That's why we're not rushing to buy our plane tickets to WI. We need to make sure we purchase them from the correct state!

Angela and David said...

Since I am living vicariously through your adventures I'm also very excited about where you'll go next. Such amazing lives you guys are living!