It was a cold and probably rainy evening in January on the day I realised the job I was in (as much as I loved it and was promised more) just wasn’t going to give. It’s a long story, and I could bore you with the details of an overly dramatic credit crunch, indecisive bosses and an array of long meetings re: budget management, but put simply, what I was promised fairly quickly was either 5 years down the line or more realistically simply no longer, and – I wanted more.
Cue obsessive researching, crazy waves of wild imaginative jobs (including dolphin trainer and sexy air stewardess) and lots of late nights basically trying to decide what the hell I wanted/needed to do next and this is where I’ve ended up.
The answer was simple. I love children. I love the beach. I love stupidly cheap prices AND I don’t have any significant commitment in my current state of being (not sure a phone bill or gym membership count) to stop me from dashing off into the sunset (slash night market) and live out a crazy dream. I decided I would go and teach abroad.
I bought a TEFL qualification (after considerable research of course) and studied like a mofo. I passed and then handed in my notice. My boss’s green eyes went worryingly too wide and I’m pretty sure her head kinda jolted forwards at times but it was official, I was out of there and on to a winner.
I’m now 2 hours into my 17 hour flight to Taipei, Taiwan. So far, so good. I booked a window seat (so I could snuggle) and there’s an empty seat between me and the fat white guy who has been playing noughts and crosses on his screen for the past 45 minutes (kudos, THAT is dedication). I got a free blanket, free pillow and free slippers, plus I nicked the pillow from the vacant seat so I am Cushtey (with a capital C). I’ve had my dinner (essentially a mix of all the countries we have/will fly over, i.e. French bread, Thai noodles, some kind of cous cous with waaay too much raw onion for my liking and Belgian chocolates) and 3 cups of coffee as they just keep going up and down the aisles offering “more cawf-ee?”. After the second cup, I went in to what can only be described as a reflective daydream. “Wow, Soph… a few months ago you had this crazy idea, and now you’re like 10 hours from actually living it, how cool”…. And then…. “oh. shit.”
Fear has struck me. Through the heart and back out again. I’m pretty sure my eyes have gone disturbingly too wide and my head is jolting around a bit as well. I’m worrying about the language, the job, finding my apartment, losing my money, losing my passport, losing anything for that matter (as I have a seriously pristine record for misplacing things) and just generally not having friends, the ability to communicate properly or the right palate to be eating all kinds of weird shizzle I’ve heard about (barbecued scorpion on a stick anyone?). I’m trying to be rationale, especially as I made this decision myself and was not coerced in any way shape or form (quite the opposite really) and tell myself this is exactly what you wanted. Cute chinese children, the beautiful countryside and coast and bargain shopping await you. What ARE you scared about?! My eyes have not contracted and I’m pretty sure my raised heartbeat will stick around for a while (perhaps the caffeine is kicking in… I am typing rather quicker than usual!) In the meantime, I’m wrapping myself in my free blanket, snuggling into my free pillows and putting on some Beyonce. She always listens, and gives me the green light (see what I did there!) OVER AND OUT.