Tag Archives: planning your future

Preparations for India

Violent Week.

Fours days after a sweet friend passed away from the devastation of cancer, and three days after 17 teenagers were gunned down inside their classrooms in Florida, I went to a reflective presentation and watched a film called, From India With Love.

This documentary film follows victims of violence from across America, on an epic journey to India. I learned that Dr. Martin Luther King traveled to India in 1959, the year of my birth, to deepen his understanding of Mahatma Gandhi’s principals of non-violence. King told a group of reporters at the airport, “To other countries, I may go as a tourist, but to India, I come as a pilgrim.” The memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King (January 30 – April 4) serve as The Season for Nonviolence for the Association For Global New Thought, and with this in mind, the organizer was able to host this film in Dallas.

Since accepting my new teaching position at The American International School of Chennai, India, I’ve immersed myself in India, via my living room. Scores of books lay tossed around my already barren apartment. Before I sold my TV last weekend, I’d been watching documentaries and Bollywood movies about my new-to-be home. I knew very little about Turkey before moving there in 2013 and I know so very little about this dynamic, culturally rich subcontinent of India. In my interview, when asked, “Why India?” I responded that India was one of the few places that I thought could compete with Turkey in my heart. Like Turkey, India has a deep history and promises to challenge me with an immense cultural gap. But you see, I like that.

Like Dr. King, I’m preparing to be a pilgrim. I’m preparing to question everything I’ve ever learned. I’m preparing for change. Yes, there’s times I’m afraid of such a big transition, but more times that I’m excited and yearning. As my young, 42 year old friend, Joy, was laid to rest, I was again reminded of how deeply grateful I am for the life I’ve been given. How blessed I am to be able to travel the world and be a partner in educating children for the future. I am convinced there is nothing more honoring than this. India, here I come.

How will you explore non violence this week?

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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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American Girl In A Box

American GirlLet me out.

I’ve methodically worked my way through my house selling clothes, furniture and household possessions. This move I’m planning on making didn’t come to me overnight. I’ve been plotting and planning, dreaming and scheming for a good 4 years. It’s all I’ve talked about to those closest to me and I was sure that my friends had become sick of me droning on about my plans as the years ticked by. I never would have imagined so much emotion displayed at my “All-Things-Art Sale”.

I saved the hardest for last: getting rid of my artwork. I wrote an Evite to everyone I knew who had known me as an artist over the years. If people loved my art and would use it or display it, I would simply ask for a kind donation to help me on my way. I slashed my prices, for it was more important for me to find good homes for my creations than it was for me to make a lot of money. Over the years I’ve been fortunate to sell quite a bit of my artwork, but I’ve kept the unsold pieces in careful storage. Like a litter of kittens, these pieces brought me joy and came with so many memories, but I had to find them new homes.

All Things Art SaleThroughout the day, dear friends wandered in and out of my home looking at a retrospective of 30 years of artwork displayed. Some were uncomfortable and one friend told me that it made her feel like I was dead and she was going through my belongings at an estate sale. Many of my guests have watched me grow through different series and concepts in my artwork and to see it laid out all together was, in a way, a historic type of event. I was questioned about how I could let it all go and I explained that for years and years, I had been interested in getting my name recognized in the Dallas art scene. I worked at meeting gallery owners, art collectors and other artists. I’ve spent years and years doing this dance, in hopes of getting a gallery show that could then be added to my resume. I wanted to be respected and associated as a Dallas artist, and I’ve been somewhat successful. I listened to several friends verbally process their interpretation of what I was doing. With tears in her eyes, one friend said, “I feel like I am robbing you.” I responded, “You’re not robbing me – you’re freeing me!” It’s been a great ride, and I’m so grateful for all the experiences, but this Dallas based, American Girl is about to crawl out of her box.

I recently read an article in the New York Times called, “You Won’t Be The Person You Expect To Be” . It is a fascinating article, by John Tierney, about how our personalities and tastes change over the years. The phenomenon, called “end of history illusion,” occurs when people tend to “underestimate how much they will change in the future.” When we humans look ahead, somehow we expect ourselves to stay the same.” Of course we don’t. “Middle-aged people often look back on our teenage selves with some mixture of amusement and chagrin,” said one of the authors, Daniel T. Gilbert, a psychologist at Harvard. “What we never seem to realize is that our future selves will look back and think the very same thing about us. At every age we think we’re having the last laugh, and at every age we’re wrong.” Even as recent as 6 years ago I would have never imagined that I would be selling everything I own to travel the world and work overseas.

Life is short. What box do you want to crawl out of?

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In Review

Oklahoma ChristmasThinking back.

During the summer of 2009, I tracked how I spent my time. I was prompted to do this because I often couldn’t tell you what exactly I did during my summer break by the time school started. I knew I was productive but I couldn’t remember specifics from one afternoon of floating on my raft to the next. I began listing my accomplishments, books I read, new workouts I tried, new artwork I made and trips I took.

By the end of 2010, however, I had found Chris Guillebeau and his blog, The Art of Non-Conformity  and began utilizing some of his suggestions for reflecting on an Annual Review . During the ending weeks of December, and possibly sliding into the early weeks of January, I take time to note past accomplishments and future goals so they won’t escape out-of-reach and out-of-memory as days get hectic. For me, the older I get, and the faster time flies, it is reassuring to read through the goals I had a year ago and recall all that I’ve done to fulfill my life. This makes me feel good and it helps me further continue down the Path Of Life with an idea of how I can use my time in the days ahead. Although there are a myriad of templates and suggestions online about how to reflect upon the past year, Chris’ method utilizes two primary questions:

• What went well in 2012?

• What did not go well in 2012?

This reflective tool not only helps me organize the year ahead, but it helps me easily track the highlights of my life, in the very short form of a bulleted diary. In my Annual Review, I also continue to include notes on books I read and travels I took as these continue to be important aspects of my life. Last December, one of my goals was to start this blog. By reading my thoughts on that from a year ago, it makes me feel proud to know that I not only accomplished that, but also inspired a few people along the way. Looking forward, I will visualize what lies ahead and how my blog may change when I live overseas.

This past holiday week I’ve been fortunate to spend time with my daughter who lives out of state. She is about to begin her last semester of college and is entering into a time of transition – just like I am. All we’ve grown accustomed to is about to change. We are both considering new jobs, new cities and new people. We are about to step out into a place we’ve never been. As she watches my life unfold, she is observing how life continues to be about change. We’ve talked about how exciting a new time can be and how stressful it can be. We feel out of control because we have opportunities that we didn’t have before and we have no way of knowing what the future holds.  Although she and I work out decisions through our faith, there is still the first step, which can be scary. Risks are involved. Taking that first step has the power to alter the course of not only your life but also the lives of others. It’s a big deal.

During these last days of 2012 I want to thank you, my readers, for inspiring and motivating me. You have been my accountability partner to stand firm in being courageous as I take the next step. Thank you so much.

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sonya terborg

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