Bye, Bye Miss American Pie

alliswellFly away.

A friend compared it to living inside a hair dryer, and it’s true. The blissful temperatures of San Diego made for a rude awakening when I arrived in Dallas this week. 105-degree temperatures help me let go of this place I’ve called home for 28 years.

I’ve been able to see some folks, but mostly I’ve been packing and re-packing and making difficult decisions on what to take with me, and what to leave, for the hundredth time. My school gave me a generous excess baggage allowance, but my international teacher friends reminded me to be ruthless and to only bring absolute necessities. They told me that whatever I heaved over, I’d have to hoist back. Meditating on this thought caused me to clear out the contents of one more container.

Three international teacher friends I’ve made this year have already departed to their new countries: one to Switzerland, one to China and one to Ethiopia. During the stressful days of interviewing at recruitment fairs, the connections you make with people are emotional and friendships can develop quickly. I look forward to staying in touch with these friends and comparing their new experiences to mine.

My favorite hours spent this week were with my Mom. We went out to breakfast two times, talked non-stop and watched a special TV series on Istanbul called, “A Short History of the World.” She is excited for me and I hope she can come visit one day and see the great, preserved histories of the Byzantine, Ottoman and Roman empires. She recently sent me a newspaper article about a young, mid-western man who has been living in Istanbul. Within the article, this quote, from Missouri native, Mark Twain, resonated with me:

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the Earth all of one’s lifetime.

This is one of the truest things I have ever read and describes my feelings exactly. I started dreaming of teaching overseas when I first visited Europe in 2006. Since then, I’ve been unraveling a big tangle of ideas and possibilities to make this dream come true. And here I am today, a few hours from arriving at the DFW Airport, about to fly 6,278 miles (think of the mileage points!!) to Istanbul. And yet, I’m already starting to dream about the next thing. I’ve learned to never stop dreaming, and casting your net, for all things are possible!

Please be patient with me as I begin to assimilate all that I’ll be involved with during the next few weeks. Two caring teachers, who remember what it’s like to be a newbie, have been organizing social outings for the next couple of weeks and I’m grateful. I’m sure I’ll be gathering many ideas to blog about!

The last few days I’ve been remembering back to all that I’ve done in the past two years, to make this dream a reality. It seemed overwhelming at first: finding ways to earn extra money, going through all my possessions and determining what to keep, store or sell, sorting through all my art supplies and artwork, and re-examining every area of my life, but I took baby steps, one day at a time, and it happened.  I’m not special. I’m not doing anything that isn’t available to everyone. What’s your dream? You can make it happen.

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26 thoughts on “Bye, Bye Miss American Pie

  1. Sharon Gunn says:

    Dear Anita;
    It will be surprising how little of your “stuff” you will need. Teachers who have left Istanbul will leave “stuff” for you. Thinking of you and your new adventure. By the way I have boxes of essential Art Stuff never yet unpacked from when I returned to Canada from an art teaching job in Dusseldorf two years ago. Travel light my friend.

    • Hi, Sharon…I’m on my way. Sitting in Frankfurt airport right now. I know you are right about “stuff”, and I did the best I could, fully knowing that I will likely leave a lot behind in Istanbul when I leave. Spread the love, right? Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. Anita Dear, you know what an imagination I have and with your willingness to share, I am experiencing this journey with you and your friends. My love from here to there. Mom

  3. Laurie Springer says:

    Dear Anita,

    I’m asking the Lord to bless you with safe travels! I also sent out an email to MS teachers requesting that they join me in praying for you. We don’t start back to school until Tuesday, Aug. 13. But I know that many are already checking their email. God go before you, with you and after you!

    • Laurie! Thank you, sweet friend. So far, all is good, as I’m typing from Frankfurt! Thank you for asking for prayer in my behalf. I love you for that! PLEASE stay in touch…oh! and for the record . . . Matt, Sophia and I ate at Old Town Mexican restaurant in SD on my last night. Yummmmmmyyyyy! xoxo Tell all the MS teachers and admin “Hi” and that I’m praying for them to have a great, awesome, memorable year. Tell them to follow my blog! 🙂 oxox

  4. I love reading your updates and I’m already looking forward to your next post. You might not be taking a lot of belongings with you, but you are taking many readers along with you on your amazing adventure. You inspire all of us.

    • Helen!!! So great to hear from you! Thank you for reading! I’ve never quit thinking about the collaborative kids book. We can do it!!! I’m pumped and will continue to ponder that possibility! Hugs to you!

      • hfjames says:

        Somehow I didn’t get your most recent post, but our lovely Patty updated me. You can be absolutely certain that we won’t let you slip away. I find you an inspiration. I admire what you are doing. And, the big and . . . I can’t wait to hear about your next adventure.

        I feel certain that we will write together in our future. You rock. Hang in there and savor every moment.

        My best to you!

        You are an inspiration!

      • Sweet Helen!
        I’m so sorry about the post not being delivered. Maybe try subscribing again? No, please don’t let me slip away! ha! You are also an inspiration! Maybe you and Patty should come see me one of these days! 🙂

  5. Patty Fares says:

    You’re setting an example for many: Whatever your dream you can make it happen! Thanks for sharing your process to get there. I look forward to installments from Turkey…Patty

  6. So happy for you as you start on your adventure and fly away from the familiar. So glad that you followed your heart and your dream. Glad you were ruthless about what to take along. Less is more! Safe travels!

    • Debbie! So glad to hear from you! Thank you for your well wishes and encouragement! Thanks for reading the blog! Updates will be forthcoming in the near days on Facebook!

  7. Shoes, shoes. You will want room to return with shoes…unless you have big feet. Call me when you get over the jetlag, and we’ll meet up.

    • Hey, Virginia! Can’t wait to meet you in person. I’m all hooked up with Artists in Istanbul! Yea! We will meet soon! SHOES? How did you know I am a shoe hog? Oh no… My school has planned activities for the next week. As soon as some of that settles down I will definitely be in touch!! Hugs!!

  8. Heather says:

    Anita! Wow! You are on your way! I am so happy for you and so very inspired by you. Many blessings to you dear friend! I am excited to read about your adventures.

    • HEATHER! I thought of you SOOOOoooo much this week, but it has been completely insane. I was hoping we could have met. 😦 I’m so sorry. PLEASE stay in touch. Watch Facebook for updates. xoxoxoxo I love you.

  9. HeatherG says:

    Wishing you all good things in your exciting new life, Anita.
    You are going to have an amazing time. Love and safe travels!

    • Heather, thank you so much!! I can’t wait to share all about it. Thanks for following the blog. In these soon days, I will be updating to Facebook. Are we friends? I’m Anita Hobbs Horton. xoxoxo

  10. Linda C says:

    Sweet Anita, the few days I have watched you go through your things and the advice you have given me in regards to my next adventure are priceless. I will miss you my dear friend. See you in Istanbul in 2014!

    • Linda, YOU CAN DO THIS! I know I’m your accountability partner in your life change. One step at a time. Hang up the Seattle map. xoxoxoxo Thank you for a lllllllll your amazing help and encouragement!

  11. Maggie says:

    Yes, Anita, we all need a dream in life. Teaching overseas was my dream, and I made it happen for five years. I’m so looking forward to living vicariously in Istanbul with you. I’m always here when you need a confidential and objective ear during this adventure.

    And do keep removing things from your bags; you’re not going to a desert island and will be able to find most of what you need when you arrive. You will want to save shipping room for all the fantastic artifacts you will buy.

    • Thank you, Maggie. You’ve been such a good friend already. I’m fully aware that I will want to buy things in Istanbul! I’m taking a total of 5 checked pieces and a backpack. Probably too much, but darn it! Being an art teacher with art supplies makes it hard! ha! And Istanbul has all 4 seasons. Oh, well. I’m not really attached to much, so I may leave it behind as I continue to travel. Thanks for writing!

  12. Linda says:

    I just returned from 2 1/2 weeks in Turkey. I fell in love with the people, the food, music and remarkable art and history. I wish you all good things. Who knows, I may follow in your footsteps and create some of my own as I continue to work in my IB school in MA and look towards moving into IB settings abroad in the not to distant future.

    • Dear Linda,
      Thanks for writing! I know!!! Turkey is so awesome! I can’t believe I get the privilege of living there! I’m terribly fortunate, but you can be too!! I’m envious that you’ve already been teaching in the IB, but move overseas! 🙂 It seems daunting, but it’s really like I was told, once in it, it is a small, small world. The best of luck!

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