This is the second post today, so make sure you scroll down and check out last week's adventures to the Dog Cafe and Aquarium.
This week was short so it was not very exciting. On Thursday morning So Young told me that Sienna was pregnant and was having some issues so she wouldn't be in Thursday or Friday. She had accidentally taken home both English Room keys and So Young was freaking out because she had an observation that day. Thankfully I had previously seen that some fifth graders had broken in through the "locked" back door of the room and I figured out how they opened it. Crisis averted! On Friday I taught my fifth graders alone, and thanks to planning lots of activities and we went through back to back, everything went smoothly. It is all about just not giving them enough time to be asses, hahah. The classes flew by.
Thanks to conversations with one of my co-workers and with my mom, I've been doing a lot of thinking about how long I'll be here, etc. When I left, I told everyone I would be here for at least one year (and my mom kept correcting me and saying "ONE YEAR ONLY."). I had no idea what I was getting myself into, what living here would be like, how much it would cost, etc. Seeing how I've settled into my life here, my mom said during one of our conversations "You're not coming home after a year, are you?"
Honestly? Probably not. I want to stay at LEAST 18 months. While I miss my family and friends terribly and sincerely wish I were closer, I can't help but ask myself, "Aside from them...what are you going home for?"
I was really unhappy last year. Many nights I would return home from work, exhausted and knotted with stress, just to close my bedroom door and cry. I was constantly overcome with stress which didn't help my terrible eating habits or the fact that I never had energy to do anything. I lived paycheck to paycheck (often overdrawing my account) and racked up a fair amount of credit card debt (for the first time in my life, and I've had a credit card since I was like 16). I never had money to travel or do things that rekindled by passion for being in new places. I felt stuck and suffocated. THAT is what I am rushing home to?
Working regular and after school here, I make more than I made in states per month. And I am not paying rent. I have already paid off one credit card, not charged a single thing to my credit cards in three months, and have a bunch of money in the bank (and I don't even get paid my November paycheck until next Tuesday). I am NEVER stressed about work (the closest is getting stressed over miscommunications at work) and honestly. I do very little. I never ever have to work on anything at home, and I spend much of my free time at school messing around on the internet. Rather than planning for 6 or 7 classes a day at home, I plan two lessons a WEEK here. Yes, sometimes it gets repetitive, but I am able to change things up enough in each class that I don't go crazy. I have adventures every weekend and I am planning a great trip to Thailand/Cambodia/Laos in February that I know I can afford without a shadow of a doubt. There have been times of stress and homesickness, but never once have I questioned my decision to come here.
So will I stay longer than my one year contract? Almost definitely yes. And what will I do when I come home? I have no idea. I find it difficult to picture myself going back into that situation. Would it be better if I was not in a Title I school? Not working special ed? Not teaching in a testing grade? Had a sane principal? Maybe. But it scares me to think about going back to that negative place.
As my dad warned me, "You can't just daisy chain these things together or you'll get to our age and not have any retirement." I don't plan on doing this forever. But what is stopping me from doing it now? I am young and able, unencumbered by a family and a mortgage. This is the time in my life when I need to have these adventures. Do I want to raise a child in a foreign country? Not especially. I have said before, and will say again, that I definitely want to raise my children in the DC area. But now, when I am free and have the chance, what is the problem with hoarding all the experiences that I can?
Who knows. A lot can happen in the next 9 months. We'll see. Either way I'll come home to at least visit next summer. I'm not gone for good. But I thnk it is good that I'm gone.