This tale begins with me being in my 11th month in Seoul, South Korea. I am currently preparing to leave Korea to get some rest time in the U.S. and begin another journey in Europe (which I will talk about in just a moment).
My journey here has been an amazing one. I realize that I really like teaching, but I don't want to exclusively teach children. I also haven't been sure that English is the subject I am passionate about, but that is yet TBD. I really have loved my kids here- they are wonderful kids with extremely distinct personalities, who brighten my day every day.
However, I know I am ready to move onto the next project because I am starting to feel a little unfulfilled; that inner urge to create something new is showing itself like a black cat in the alley once again. It's not that I haven't made an impact here, I know that my children have learned new concepts because of me, but...the fact is, the children I teach are very wealthy, and regardless of whether I'm teaching them or not, they will be taught and they will all go on to attend universities and get great jobs (provided there is no war, Heaven forbid). Though, all kids, regardless of wealth (and sometimes in spite of it) have their issues (just like adults) and need some TLC, and I was glad that I could be there to give it this past year. On the whole, though, I feel that they have given more to me than I have to them, and I am grateful to have had them near me. :)
As for the next move, which I know some of you have been curious about, the first week of March I am going to go back to Vero Beach, Florida, to stay with my parents at their new home for about three months. During that time I will also go to St. Louis for a week to visit friends. At the end of May, I am going to Madrid for about 5 days to do some interviews for English teaching positions in the fall and to maybe check out some flats. Then I will go to San Remo, Italy, to a training camp for a two-week summer position for a company I worked with in 2008 called "Lingue Senza Frontiere". After Italy, I will go to Paris for a week to visit my cousin and we will possibly visit Belgium while we are there. Then I will go to Oxford to teach with another summer program accredited by the British Council called "Bucksmore Summer Programmes". I will remain there until August 18th, then I will go back to Madrid and settle into a teaching job and a flat for the next academic year.
So, that's the plan...I'm excited for it, and yet, I still want to figure out the bigger picture. I guess everybody does, which is what keeps us alive and motivated. I just always get the feeling that I'm supposed to be doing something more, something greater and more helpful to people than what I'm doing. This wondering is also a little selfish in that I am asking the Universe, "What sort of job will add to my happiness?" I am generally happy most days. I create my own happiness wherever I go. I love being independent and feeling free to go wherever I choose; being the artist of my own life. I know that no person, thing, or job can every create my happiness, but I feel that if I could give of myself more it might increase the happiness that already exists.
One thing I have thought about many times is my happiest job: I used to love volunteering at the International Institute of St. Louis, teaching adult refugees English. I wasn't even highly involved- I was a Teaching Assistant- but I really loved that those people could come together in a place and not feel strange, not feel like outsiders, even if only for a few hours. They were all such amazingly strong people. Despite their hardships, they were always smiling and laughing. Just being there was inspiring to me. I will never forget an 80-something year old Vietnamese man named Tuan, who walked with a limp and a cane, and he had been trying to learn English for 16+ years. Even though his English level was still very low after all of that time, he never gave up trying. He was always smiling. Even though he had an extremely low budget, he would bring in cookies for his classmates all the time. It broke my heart and inspired it at the same time.
I really have no desire to live in the U.S. moving forward, but I love the concept of the International Institute...in my life, I have had the desire several times to bring people of many cultures together. So, why couldn't I create something like this in another country? Try to get a refugee assimilation program started? Well, of course there are many challenges and obstacles...like the fact that I don't speak another language fluently yet...and the fact that I haven't been to grad school yet...and the fact that some governments don't care for or about refugees...but hey, it's just the seed of a thought, and thoughts become things (thanks Rhonda Byrne). Anyone else's thoughts are also welcome here. :)
Love and miss everyone (xoxo)