It’s often amazing to me how quickly life can change. It has happened to me quite a lot in life, so it shouldn’t surprise me any more; but Fate has a way of turning my life in the oddest directions.
As a child of an international banker and a homemaker I started living overseas at the age of four doing time in Hong Kong, Prague, Warsaw, and Madrid all before I turned 13. This makes me a third culture kid of the first order.
We moved back to the States when I was 13, and I hoped my globe-trotting would continue. Alas it was not to be, and I could no longer follow my father around the world. So upon graduating Central Washington University I took up the challenge and joined the United States Peace Corps. I was posted to Mongolia and spent two years living in the small town of Moron, in Khuvsgul Aimag. (For more, see That time I lived in Mongolia…)
Huvsgul Aimag’s symbol. A friend of mine has it tattooed on his bicep.
My home for two years.
Lake Huvsgul in early fall. The blue scarves are a symbol for the eternal blue sky. They are tied around trees, lamp posts, and many other structures for good luck and fortune.
You lived in a what? A ger is a traditional dwelling in Outer Mongolia. It is only about 4.5 feet tall at it’s outer edge.
9th Grade Graduates. Formal uniforms for girls resemble French Maid’s uniforms, while boys wear suits. On a regular school day in winter girls will wear several layers of pants under their dresses. Boys will likewise wear several layers of clothing under their uniforms.
Those two years were some of the most difficult times I may ever encounter in my life. I lived in a yurt (a felt tent) that had no running water and was heated with a wood-burning stove. I did have electricity, and oddly enough, 24 internet service. Such is the oddity and duality of life in Mongolia. During my service I met other world-travelers like myself, along with numerous tourists, adventurers and welcoming locals. I also dealt with crippling diarrhea, sand storms, drunken Mongolians (who are a lot like zombies, lurching around in the dark in search of more vodka and sex), having to haul my own water and chop my own firewood, and a teaching job where I struggled to make a difference. Though it was incredibly difficult, I wouldn’t trade my tenure in Mongolia for anything. I would do it all over again for the things that I learned about myself, about the world, and about what I am capable of.
That aside, after my service ended in the summer of 2011 I was a bit rudderless. Ready to be home, find a job, do what normal people do, I suppose. I wasn’t sure anymore that global living was really what I thought it was. In Mongolia I learned the harsh truth that living overseas with your family is VASTLY different from living abroad alone. (Thanks again Mom and Dad for everything you did to make my childhood awesome and livable!)
After bumming around and working a few babysitting and nannying jobs for 9 months in Seattle, I had had enough. I went online and began trolling the web for job listings. I started my search on Tuesday night, by Wednesday morning I had a Skype interview scheduled with Disney English. A week later I was asked to pack up my life and move to Beijing, China to teach English for the next 14 months. I was so excited!
The Clubhouse at Disney English
Visiting the Karst Mountains in YangShuo, China. They’re on the back of the 20 RMB bill, which is what I’m holding.
Celebrating Halloween in China with some students.
My miniature Christmas tree, decorated with my spare earrings.
Visiting the Great Wall of China in January.
My brother and I drinking a beer on the Great Wall of China.
Visiting the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’An
There goes Christina! Bungee jumping at LongQing Gorge.
I have the sweetest students!
Saying goodbye to my Hello, World students was so difficult!
I am now nearing the end of my contract with DE, and again, I wouldn’t trade my experiences here for anything. I’ve learned so much, and gotten the chance to do some pretty amazing things here in Beijing. (For more check out previous entries Bungee Jumping in Beijing, Vacation: Shaolin and Xi’An, and Bungee Jumping in Beijing, Again.) But now the time has come for something new. In January I started looking for positions in international schools around the world without much luck. I had resigned myself to another year or so bumming around on my Mom’s couch looking for temporary work before applying to graduate schools for the fall of 2014.
When the unexpected happened. I received an email from a school headmaster asking for a Skype interview. I had to backtrack and figure out just who this head of school was. In the 6 months since January I have sent my resume and qualifications to just about every school on the planet with an email address. Turns out an international school in Egypt is looking for a 5th grade teacher and they’d like yours truly to teach all twelve students!
EGYPT! I’m moving to EGYPT! In about 50 days, no less! A week ago I was despairing at staying in my mother’s attic and job hunting all of the schools in the Seattle area. Now I have just 10 days to see friends and family in Seattle before I’m due in Cairo to begin my life as a 5th grade teacher.
Have I mentioned that I’m THRILLED?!?!?!
Fate had me on the edge of my seat staring into an abyss of menial babysitting jobs for at least a year, and now… Now, I’m starting a job in a new school in a new country with a slew of adventures yet to be discovered. Fate sure is one fickle bitch!