Bozo in the White House

bozoupclosePresidential.

Working among many international teachers, administrators, staff and families I was surprised that everyone seemed to know what was happening in American politics-sometimes more than I did. I learned that the world pays very close attention to the USA. I think it is safe to say that most people hold on to the hope that the USA will make the “right” decision on all kinds of issues. The United States provides a beacon of hope for freedom for many in the world.

While in Turkey, I thought of myself as an American ambassador: diplomatic, hardworking, respectful and honest. I was always aware of this and it caused me to be more careful in my actions and in my speech. I wanted to represent my country well. But sometimes I became upset and embarrassed about the news coming out of the USA. My Colombian friend used to laugh when I’d ask her to explain, once again, why I shouldn’t be angry over some of my country’s decisions. Time and time again she told me that she loved the USA. She explained that because of the USA, her country had made great strides over many years and was finally doing well. From her perspective, her native country was beginning to be recognized and respected around the world. She owed it all to the USA. This friend helped me see the USA from a different vantage point than my own. Because many of my global friends kept current with American politics, I became aware of the USA through their eyes, whether they saw “us” as the good, the bad or the ugly.

bozowallWith all this in mind, I recently attended an artist talk at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas. American artist, Kathryn Andrews, currently has an exhibition there called “Kathryn Andrews: Run for President“. Since my repatriation I’ve been stunned at the political arena surrounding this Presidential election. I’ve also been surprised to learn that my foreign friends are watching and wondering, with keen interest, who will be the next President of the United States. For me, I’ve been somewhat embarrassed as I try to answer their questions. When I walked into Andrews’ exhibition, I saw symbols that perfectly explained what I’d been thinking about this election season. Andrews investigates relationships between popular culture and power structures. There is a direct connection between politics, race and celebrity. The reality of this election season specifically comes to life through her artwork.

How might the results of this Presidential election affect you, as a teacher, in an international school? I hope you are paying attention because you will be asked questions from your soon-to-be- foreign friends.

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Yes. No. Maybe.

Yoyo.

You say yes, I say no
You say stop and I say go, go, go, oh no
You say goodbye and I say hello

Have lyrics ever been so perfect for job seeking? In the last week, I turned down an opportunity from an interested school administrator. And then, I was keeping my fingers and toes crossed for another posted opportunity, and today they said goodbye. Back and forth, like a yoyo and this rollercoaster has just started chugging down the tracks. Prepare your hearts, my friends, for battle. The scar tissue is beginning to thicken. People sometimes ask me, “Anita, where do you want to go?” Are you kidding? Once you choose this path, there is just no telling where you will end up. You have to embrace this great unknown as a blessing and cast it off to the universe to decide.

The world is a big place and there are many schools in it! These schools are filled with people: administrators, teachers, support staff, students and their families. What are they like? What is the facility like? What is the principal’s reputation like? It’s nerve-wracking when you try to imagine. How do you know what it’s like if you’ve never been there and don’t know anyone who ever has?

Obviously, the first place you go to find out information is the school website. Most reputable schools have beautiful sites with tons of information and photographs for you to look through. These colorful, well designed sites make schools look fantastic with pictures of happy students, computer labs, fun and activities, but what do the teachers really think?

On the International Schools Review (ISR) website you will quickly see their tagline, “International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed”. This website hosts an online community of educators and administrators that provide personal, anonymous opinions about many schools in the world.

The ISR website has much to offer that is free, but they also offer a $29/annual membership which allows further inquiry into the approximately 160 schools that have been reviewed. The website is free to browse until you want to post comments or look up specific school reviews. The fee is well worth it when you are researching various schools around the world.

On the home page of the ISR website is a tab called, “Forums”. These open forums are offered by ISR and they have great information. Simply by reading what others have posted you can learn a lot. When you click the Forums tab you will see two open forums. One is free; one is not. When you click the free, non-member forum, and after reading and agreeing to the Terms of Conduct and Posting Rules, you will see two FREE forums that you may read:

  • Questions About International Schools Services (ISS) and Search Associates (SA) to Anything and Everything About International Teaching
  • Ask Recruiting Questions, Share Information. What’s on Your Mind?

Both of these FREE forums have valuable information. In 2012-13, when I was searching for my first international teaching job, I read almost every entry, in both forums, from 2010-2013! This took months to do! I am currently reading all entries from 2015 and 2016.

The advantage of paying the $29 membership fee is that you are allowed to look up specific schools and read reviews. Approximately 160 schools are listed. Furthermore, you can also look up Director and Principal Reports. Even if you cannot find reviews on the specific school you are looking for, you can read and educate yourself about the city and the country that a potential school is in. Not only do people comment about a specific schools and administrators, they comment on how currency works, VISAs, taxes, cost of living expenses, recruiting job fairs and everything you can imagine!

One very important thing to consider is that many reviewers have been angry about something or someone at their school when they’ve written. There are often many more negative reviews than positive. Although this is important to take note of, it is also important to understand that when things are going well, people usually don’t write. People, in general, like to complain.

Another important tab on the ISR website is the Articles/Info tab. This will lead you to the International Teachers’ Bill of Rights. This is good to review before signing any contracts.

What are you curious about? Who else has used the ISR website?

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Resume Redefined

keeping-trackKeeping track.

A Canadian friend of mine shared a funny Facebook post from a British friend of hers, James Smart. James wrote about every job he’d had since the age of 16. Although it was not presented in a resume format, it was a comedic glance of his life before becoming a teacher. James’ entries are many, but here are a few examples of what he wrote:

• My first job at 16 after school was cleaning offices for 2.56 pounds an hour. My boss cheerfully told me that I had only been given the job because nobody else in town would work for such a paltry wage. I mostly stared out of the window, when the boss came upstairs I would quickly pretend I was in the middle of cleaning them.

• I had a job for the summer painting walls and doors, which was lovely. They also had me break up concrete with a breaking machine, which by the way is miserable and dusty, and can give you arthritis over the long-term. At the end of the week they would dish out the wages in a local pub, which was a terrible idea.

• Then I became a door to door salesman selling aerial photographs of peoples’ houses from the sky. This was a very depressing job which saw me though my teacher training course. No wonder I wanted to leave the country, this was a horrible job which paid the bills at least. To be honest I was a bit traumatized by this job even months after I’d left. People in England are bombarded with salespeople and they get a bit sick of you.

Although humorous, this is not an example of how to write your international teacher resume! Overseas schools are only interested in jobs that pertain to teaching. Through experience, I’ve learned there is a specific formatting that schools prefer.

Always keep a copy of your resume saved in both USA Letter Size and the common non-American size of A4. Both are necessary for your files. Always send the A4 size when applying to overseas jobs. Also, be sure your resume is organized well. Each section should be titled, providing ease of reading. If you create your resume in Word, be sure to save each size both as a docx and a pdf document. Only send your pdf document so nothing can be edited.

Your resume should include a smiling headshot of yourself, plainly dressed, on a white background. This photo should be placed at the top of the paper. Also list these items:

  • Your name
  • Your email address
  • Your phone number (with international code)
  • Your Skype name. You MUST have a Skype account. If you don’t, stop reading and go set one up NOW.
  • Your date of birth
  • Your nationality
  • Your marital status

Next, list whichever is more impressive – your education or your teaching experience, in that order.

List any outside classroom experiences that add insight and dimension to your teaching career.

List areas of community involvement or professional organizations you have held memberships in.

And finally, list publications that your work is noted in.

Your resume should fit on one sheet of paper, front and back if necessary.

Just to review, please make sure that you have a main desktop folder called 2017 International Jobs. Inside that folder are more folders, titled as follows:

My recruitment agency, Search Associates, requires you to send a letter of interest from your Profile section on the Search Associates site. In addition to this, also send a Letter of Application directly to the school administrator through email. Attach your resume to the email and send to the Head, Director or Principal explaining that you saw the job opening via your recruiting agency’s website. Some schools require you to fill out THEIR application from THEIR website. This feels monotonous, but it is sometimes required. This is why it is important to keep copies of what you’ve already written so you won’t have to rewrite every time. These written answers will be found in the “My Answers” file folder on your desktop. Although you will usually have to tweak you previous wording, this is a time saver. Schools have paid a lot of money to recruitment agencies and these agencies want to be sure to get their fair share if you are placed into a job through their site. It is of upmost importance that you cc your representative when you apply to jobs that you’ve seen on their placement site.

Write your email cover letter after reviewing the school’s website. Your cover letter should mention specific information you read. You want the school administrator to know that you have enough interest in their school to have researched their website. While reading their website, take notes about information you may want to inquire about.

When emailing your resume to the administrator of the school, be sure to fill out the “Subject” line carefully. I list the school name first, the position second. For example: MEFIS, PYP Art Teacher. ALWAYS bcc yourself! When you receive a copy of this sent email, carefully file it away in an organized email folder that you will set up for each country you apply to. This is the only way I’ve found to keep track of all the emails sent all over the globe. As you can imagine, if you don’t keep everything organized, you can quickly have a big mess of lost emails and communication.

What are you learning about yourself as you go through this process?

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Saddle up

SaddleSml

Thanks, Jane!🙂

Reining it in.

My profile has been active for two weeks in preparation for this coming hiring season. In that time, two different schools have contacted me, making some inquiries about next school year, which is twelve months away! The 2017 international hiring season has already started. This is really different for American teachers who don’t start looking for teaching positions until late spring of the teaching year they are interested in. The international hiring season can last through summer, but it starts early.

Locating and scanning required paperwork will take some time, but once you have it, you won’t have to go through this process ever again if you maintain an organized computer desktop. There are specific documents that you will need to have on hand no matter which recruitment agency you decide to go with. Some documents may take some time to track down, so it is best to start now.

Organizing Your Desktop:

I have listed below the documents you will need for your recruiting agency profile. These documents will be saved in either pdf or jpg formats. Be very organized as you set up files on your computer desktop. You will find that the process of finding an overseas teaching position can quickly get out of control if you are not diligent about being organized. You will soon be communicating with schools all over planet Earth. Set up a folder titled “2017 International Jobs” and inside this folder, set up a folder called “Recommendations and Scans “. Put all documents and scans, shown below, inside this folder.

Required and Scanned Paperwork:
(200-300 dpi on all scans)
• 3-5 Recommendation Letters from current/former school administrators (on school letterhead, saved as a pdf file)
• 3 Recommendation Letters from current/former student parents (saved as pdf file)
• Criminal Background Check
• Birth Certificate
• Certificate to Teach
• Passport
• University Degree
• Official Copy of University Transcript – you will also need to have some of these in hardcopy form, unopened, to give to your new school, so order plenty when you contact your university.
• Training certificates, i.e. PYP/MYP/IB Level Certificates
• Philosophy of Education (Word document saved as pdf file)
• Nice, smiling, front facing headshot of YOU. Plain background. Black and White. This will be used for your resume.

Filling out the Recruitment Agency Application/Profile:

When you have all these documents collected and scanned, and after you’ve paid your fee, you are ready to proceed in filling out the Profile section of your recruitment agency’s website. Your recruitment agency will notify you if something is missing and when the Profile is ready to go live for schools to see! I was able to “click” a button on my Search Associates Profile that allows me to receive daily job listings. As new schools post their openings, I am automatically sent a daily email. You can choose to receive all the daily listings, or only the ones for your subject area. Although it is really interesting to receive daily emails about ALL the teaching opportunities, it quickly becomes “too much” and I have opted to simply get the Art openings. Even so, by December and January, there are so many opportunities to teach it will blow your mind! —And that is only with Search Associates!

When you are required to type lengthy answers, please copy/paste what you wrote into an empty Word document and save it into another folder titled, “My Answers”. You will be able to utilize some of this material in other applications in the future. By saving it, you won’t have to start from scratch every time.

Next week I will be giving you tips on setting up your resume and cover letter. I want to stress again the importance of starting this process early and staying organized. Can you quickly find what you need to access when you are in the middle of a Skype interview at 3:00 am?

Which agency have you decided to go with? How did you make your decision?

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Baby Steps

BabyStepsJaxson

Photo courtesy of Amanda Domingos

Choosing a recruiting agency.

Making the decision to leave your country, your family and friends is actually a giant step. When I left the USA in 2013, I didn’t personally know anyone who had ever done that. I spent over five years researching how to get a job teaching overseas.

Over the next few weeks, I am going to tell you the steps required to find an international teaching position. Each week I will post steps for you to do. If you follow along with me, you can be fully ready to interview this winter. I’m going to show you, step-by-step, what you need to do to make this happen. I’m also going to offer a detailed workbook, showcasing all of my personally designed documents that will help you with Skype interviews, prepare you for an international job fair, prepare you for an international classroom and show you how/what to pack when you move overseas.

In order to consider this possibility for next year, you must start now! The international hiring season starts today, September 1, 2016 for the following year! However, the hiring won’t swing into full throttle until January 2017. Most of the international recruiting fairs start in January and they will roll around planet Earth, scooping up teachers at each stop. There’s a lot to do…many steps, but you can do it, and I can help you.

Deciding on an International Recruiting Agency

The directions I am giving you target current teachers, or administrators, who have taught at least two years or soon-to-be education degree graduates. When selecting a recruiting agency, you may decide to use more than one. Some are free; some are not. Some are more widely used around the world than others. Some represent more kinds of international schools than others. Some are better for seasoned candidates, others are better for new educators. To begin, let’s review.

In April and May of 2012 I wrote three articles about recruiting agencies that you should read before we continue. Please take time to do this:

There are other recruiting firms, but these are the Big 3. Read these articles and then read this article posted by The Wall Street Journal and authored by Ginanne Brownell Mitic on September 30, 2015. How Was Your Child’s International Teacher Hired? 

There are some basic differences in these three recruiting companies, but after researching on your own, you should choose at least one of them. In 2012, I chose UNI and Search Associates. Both delivered everything they said they would and I was pleased with my choices. This year I am choosing Search Associates. While teaching in Istanbul, I discovered that many of my international colleagues were also represented by Search Associates. Because this is the agency I know the best, I am biased, but there are many candidates who have had equally good experiences with UNI and ISS.

After reading my above mentioned articles, I now want to mention that a few things need to be updated:

UNI: University of Northern Iowa Overseas Placement Service For Educators

Although it also serves seasoned teachers, UNI is widely known to cater to new international educators, even new university graduates. This is your best bet if you are a soon-to-be education degreed teacher who has never taught full-time in the classroom. After checking their website, I was surprised to learn their new registration fee is only $50.00. In 2012 it was $150.00! This fee allows you entry into their employment database and an open invitation to their annual recruiting fair, being held February 3-5, 2017, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. UNI works with over 120 American international schools. I didn’t realize that UNI only works with American international schools, so for those of you who prefer to teach using the British or International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, this fair may not suit you.

ISS: International Schools Services

ISS has a new, updated website that provides user-friendly maneuverability. Their registration fee is $195, opposed to $185 in 2012. This fee validates you for two years or until you obtain a teaching position in any international school, whichever comes first. ISS works with 300 schools in more than 150 countries worldwide but they do require their candidates to have a minimum of 2 years full-time classroom teaching experience. Their recruiting fairs are being held December 4-6, 2016 in Atlanta, GA; January 5-8, 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand; and February 9-12 in San Francisco, CA. Additionally, ISS has developed a new event called ISS iFair® The iFair® is a recruiting fair that happens online on a particular date. International school personnel and teacher candidates will be online at the same time and interviews will be provided through a virtual booth which candidates will enter when the event is live. The ISS iFair® dates are November 19, 2016; March 22, 2017 and May 17, 2017. The iFair® may be a good alternative if you don’t have funds to travel to a traditional recruitment fair.

SA: Search Associates 

Search Associates is the largest company of the three. It works with more than 600 international schools in over 180 countries around the world. The registration fee is $225.00, opposed to $200.00 in 2012, but validates you for three hiring seasons or until you obtain a teaching position in any international school, whichever comes first. Search Associates also has the most recruiting fairs around the world, but again they do require their candidates to have a minimum of 2 years full-time classroom teaching experience. Beginning on December 9-11, 2016, SA will be in Toronto, Canada. Beginning in 2017, SA will hold fairs in Melbourne, Australia – January 3-6; in Bangkok, Thailand – January 8-11; in London, England – January 13-16; in Hong Kong, China – January 20-22; in Cambridge (Boston), MA – January 26-29; in San Francisco, CA – February 10-13; in Dubai, UAE – February 23-25; back to Bangkok, Thailand – March 9-12, and finally back to London, England – April 21-23.

Other less expensive recruiting agencies are:

Dave’s ESL Café – Free
TIE Online – $39 USD/Annually
JoyJobs –  $40 USD/Annually
TIC Recruitment – Free
Schrole – 75 AUD/Annually

These companies are also widely used but have not been around as long and may not provide the personal attention that UNI, ISS and SA provide. As I understand it, they also do not offer a recruiting fair. For this reason they may not be a good choice for teachers new to international teaching. Although I personally do not have experience with these agencies, I do keep my eye open to positions listed on their website. Some schools that cannot afford to pay membership fees may opt to use these services. Additionally, you may find schools listed here that do not require a minimum of two years of full-time teaching experience.

So have a look around. This will take some time. Once you decide which agency is best for you, you can pay your fee and start filling out their paperwork. My next post will be about what documents you need to have on hand to complete their online paperwork and what to expect from their questions.

Get busy. You’ll be glad you did. Where would you like to go?

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Let’s Get This Party Started

PartyStartedDo it.

Last week, I shared my new re-entry framework: Rest and Re-Invent. After months of resting, I’ve decided to re-invent in two directions. 1) I’m updating my archived file with Search AssociatesI’m going to move forward in securing a new international job post for next year. 2) I’ve decided to develop a published workbook and provide coaching services for teachers who want personal guidance in finding an international teaching position. Without further ado, let’s get this party started.

Since 2013, I have received emails and comments from strangers telling me they implemented the ideas I gave them through my articles which then resulted in them finding an international teaching position. Moving forward, I want to customize this and share my personal worksheets and notes that I designed for myself in finding international employment. I will soon be announcing when these materials are ready, but I’m hoping to offer this service in time for this year’s fast approaching international hiring season. In the comments section, please let me know if this would interest you, or any teacher you know.

If you are a teacher, or a soon-to-be BS in Education graduate, opportunities exist that will move your career in a positive direction and take you on adventures that you never thought possible. You will be able to pay off student debt or save a large portion of your salary. You will gain an education that no book can teach as you work along foreign colleagues and teach the children of the world in various locations too many to list! If you possess a love of learning, have an adventuresome spirit, a thirst to travel and a desire to participate in intentional community, international teaching is for you.

Please look forward to another post this week about taking your first steps in the international teaching field of education.

Where would you like to teach?

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My New State (of mind), Part 2

LifeIsUncertain

Photo credit: Briget Moore Murphy

Changes.

Eleven months ago I began the journey of repatriation and I’m here to tell you that I’ve taken a beating. When I started this blog in 2012, I tried to uncover everything I could about how to get an overseas teaching job. What I never researched, and never even thought about, were the effects of reverse culture shock – if and when I’d ever return to the USA.

During my first months in Istanbul, Turkey, when culture shock was overwhelming at times, I reached out to administrators, colleagues and friends who were experiencing the same thing. Most of us had moved there from different countries and were not native to Turkey. We supported each other and worked through all the emotional changes we were experiencing. What I never prepared myself for was the hardship of coming back to your home country, alone, with no one who understood or could give emotional support.

After returning to the USA and living out of WalMart gray containers in the homes of friends and family for nine months, I felt like a tumbling tumbleweed. Even so, I don’t know how to ever repay the generosity of these people who lovingly opened their homes to me while I tried to sort out my life and make new decisions. After the wedding of my only daughter in early January, I drove back to my home state of Texas, crying all the way across California, Arizona and New Mexico. I felt like I’d lost all my identities: being a mother, being a teacher, being an artist and being a traveler.

I’ve now been in Texas for eight months. My brother and his wife graciously offered me a job in their company and I rented a small apartment. I count my blessings every day as I get to be alone with my thoughts and my things. My thoughts have been tangled this year, but two weeks ago I finished a 6-week course by Dr. Cate Brubaker called The Re-Entry Relaunch Roadmap. I would highly recommend this course to anyone struggling with repatriation. It helped me process all the changes I’ve been through and it gave me a community of people who understand me. One key exercise was to reframe my re-entry experience in a few words. The statement I came up with explains where I’m at in my new state of mind: Rest and Re-Invent.

One reader of my blog recently wrote me and asked if I were going to write again; she hoped so. With her in mind, I’m looking forward to sharing some new ideas in the weeks ahead.

If you haven’t done so already, PLEASE follow my blog by clicking on the “Follow” button located by scrolling down to the bottom of the page. By doing this, you will be notified by email when I post a new article.

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My new State. . . (of mind)

SantaFephotoDry as the desert.

I wouldn’t have believed it could happen to me. I’d read articles about how difficult repatriation is, but I always imagined it happening to those who’d lived abroad for many, many years. I’d only lived overseas for two, short years when I decided to come back to the States to more fully participate in my only child’s upcoming wedding.

After the long journey home with my belongings, I rested and adapted to jetlag in Dallas, Texas for four weeks. During that time, I saw friends and family and house-sat for two different friends in their beautiful homes. As lovely as this was, living out of a suitcase becomes old. I then flew to California, where my daughter lives, and had a very loose plan to stay with her until her wedding in January. I brought enough clothes to last through the changing seasons. I walked everywhere, just as I was used to doing in Istanbul, but found after about a week, I was getting restless. I attended a few meet-ups and art outings. I began looking for possible employment. For the first time ever, I began to feel that my age was a factor in both job-seeking and social outings.

Then I signed up for Obamacare health insurance. Wow! Expensive! The reality of living in the USA began to infiltrate all my thoughts. I could see that my savings would quickly disappear if I did not find a job. I initially thought of working for Starbucks or Trader Joe’s for a few months, until after the wedding. I’d always heard these companies had good benefit packages, but what I didn’t consider was the fact of no vacation and horrible hours. For example, after researching Trader Joe’s, I learned that an employee shift can last until midnight and begin the next day as early as 4:00 am. Three hours of sleep? No, thank you.

Within a few days, I began to reconsider living in California without a job. Several of my good friends live in Santa Fe and were working hard to convince me to move there for a few months.  I’d visited Santa Fe a couple of times and found it interesting with its many cultural offerings and I thought it might be a good place to be through the fall; halfway between my daughter in San Diego and my mother in Dallas. I decided to try it, so I bought a car and drove to New Mexico!

I have only just started to explore what this small city has to offer in terms of cultural explorations, and I think, actually, there are many. I love having a car and the fact that I can arrive anywhere in this city in less than 15 minutes. There’s a Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods here and I’ve discovered red and green chilies. There’s an art movie cinema, and farmer’s market. I’m curious to learn about the history of the Native Americans and the Spanish explorers. My long-term friends who live here have been so generous, kind and encouraging. They’ve allowed me to vent frustrations and sadness of repatriation.

I’m continuing to help plan my daughter’s wedding. Everything is coming together. It will be joyous and I’ll be able to easily meet her in Dallas for a planned bridal shower.

I continue to be grateful to live in a city with friends. The skies are amazing with the enormous swirling, painted brushstroke clouds. The yellow color of the sunflowers has grabbed my attention and the rainbows here are vertical. It’s weird. A good friend just told me of a place called Tent Rocks, less than an hour away. Suppossedly, it looks like Cappadocia, Turkey.

 

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Two short years

may2015blogGrateful.

Weeks away from moving across the world, I’m trying to savor each moment I have left in Istanbul. Each time I go to a favorite neighborhood I realize it may be the last time I’ll be there. This place is now one of my homes, and although it is not possible to fully discover this city of almost twenty million people, I do know how to find my favorite markets, cultural and historical sights. I’ve learned how to maneuver the busy, crooked streets by foot or using public transportation and find any destination I’m searching for. I’ve learned just enough Turkish to make the locals comfortable with me and I treasure the friendships I’ve made. As I look out over the cityscape with a heart of gratitude, I hope it won’t be long until I visit again.

I’ve spent the weekend packing up my belongings. I was surprised to realize that I’ll likely need to purchase another piece of luggage to get my things back to the States. When I arrived here two years ago, I brought the fewest of necessity items, but since then I’ve discovered Turkish towels, Afghanistan pottery and Uzbekistan textiles. Who can resist this city that spans 700-square miles? There are so many Turkish delights! And since I was home last summer, I’ve visited seven more countries, buying small tokens of remembrance in each.

What an adventure I’ve been on! My mind has expanded in all directions through the conversations I’ve had and the books I’ve read. But, I’m weary. I’m longing for calm. I miss my family and friends. I’m eager to be home, on the other side. I am looking forward to being taken care of by people who know and love me well.

Istanbul, I love you. You’ve changed me and you’ve educated me beyond what I thought was possible. Be well, my friend.

 

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Looking forward

tulipsAfter the rain.

Spring arrived in 48 hours. After months of grey skies, rain, sleet, snow, hail and wind, the sun came out and the tulips bloomed last weekend. Texas skies take the cake for showcasing the wide expanse but Istanbul skies win the prize for the showcasing the color blue.

I made the decision to leave my international teaching post and return to the States at the end of this 2015 school year. At this point, I’m unsure if this move will be permanent or if I’ll cast my net again next spring. Since making my decision to leave, some days have been melancholy; others joyful. School days in the spring are hectic, but when I pause and reflect, I am grateful for these months and years of living and serving here. My life will never be the same. Istanbul, I love you.

When I think about all I’ve seen and experienced I become fatigued. Not only have I traveled to eleven countries over the past two years, I’ve made countless friends from all corners of the earth. I’ve learned a great deal on how to be a global citizen and nothing could make me more proud.

The first time I documented leaving a job without the certainty of a new job (The Net Will Appear) I was full of anxiety. This time I’m as cool as a cucumber. I’ve learned so much since I started writing this blog in 2012. Several readers got in touch with me this winter and asked for advice during the recent international hiring season job fairs. I gave honest answers to their questions and now I’ve received exciting letters from them explaining that they attended the fairs and have been offered international jobs! Congratulations! International teachers need each other. It’s a hard job and the luxury of having your family and best friends available for advice is gone. We rely on one another for encouragement and love.

I recently read a book by Anna Badhken and became interested in her new book, Walking With Able. Her voice perfectly captures my feelings about the privilege I’ve felt about living in Turkey:

 To enter such a culture. Not an imperiled life nor a life enchanted but an altogether different method to life’s meaning, a divergent sense of the world. To tap into a slower knowledge that could come only from taking a very, very long walk with a people who have been walking always. To join a walk that spans seasons, years, a history; to synchronize my own pace with a meter fine-tuned over millennia.

I’m counting my blessings and looking ahead to my new future.

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