Asia Teaching Travelling Working Overseas

Too Afraid To Seize The Day

This is a post that has been languishing in my drafts folder for four months. I have simply been too afraid to post it, because if I post it I have to commit to the message. I have to Seize the Day. I am posting it now because changes are ahead. I have an announcement to make, but before I make that announcement I want to reveal why I made the decision that I have. 

Eleven years ago I sent an email. It turned out to be an email that changed the course of my life.

I was nearing the end of my PGCE (teacher training course) and my classmates had already secured jobs. I hadn’t even started to apply, and what’s more none of the many jobs advertised in the paper appealed to me. I just couldn’t see myself controlling 32 unruly British teenagers, some only 4 years younger than myself. [mks_boxquote align=”left” width=”200″ arrow=”0″]Society tells me that I shouldn’t be running anymore[/mks_boxquote]

Until one day an advert stood out amongst the others. A small language school in Japan was recruiting English teachers. I emailed them and thought nothing more of it. Five months later I sat alone on a plane bound for Tokyo, clutching a one-way ticket and wondering what on earth I had just done. It turned out to be a fantastic year and was the start of a teaching career that spans the globe to this day.

The first group of international friends that I made. Tokyo, 2002
The first group of international friends that I made. Tokyo, 2002

Since then I have made two more major upheavals: to Vietnam in 2007 and Sweden in 2010, with a few mini-upheavals inbetween. And now, after three years in Sweden, my feet are itching again.

However, this time moving on seems more frightening and I don’t understand why.

Maybe it’s because I’m older. Society tells me that I shouldn’t be running anymore. My friends are married: they have families. Their children are growing up. Should I be doing the same? Do I want to? Moving to a foreign country is exotic and exciting, but it is not an easy decision to make.

What if something happens to my family and I am too far away to get home in time?

What if my nephews or niece ask who I am next time they see me?

What if I get sick and need specialised care that is not available in my host country?

Or is it something else? Am I simply becoming afraid to do things that didn’t frighten me in my twenties?

Today there are more exciting teaching opportunities overseas than when I first sent that email. My resume is primed and ready; my letter of application updated as recently as the day before yesterday.

But when it comes to clicking ‘send’, I freeze. I hesitate. I file the application in the drafts folder. Some are still sitting there now, long after the application deadline has passed. One thing I know for sure is that, despite my doubts, I am not yet ready to commit to a permanent role in Sweden: a country that I love and am convinced will be the place I one day settle. But there is time for another adventure before that happens. photo (3)

So, with that conviction I have to take the plunge. I need to click send and see where the next chapter will take place.

My next post will reveal where the next chapter will take place. Stay tuned!

Have you ever been fearful about making a change in your life? How did you deal with it? Were you able to overcome it? I’d love to hear your tips and comments.

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  1. says:

    Such a tease! I can’t wait to find out where you’re going next! (Though I’m a little bummed to hear you probably won’t be in Sweden when I move to a neighboring country this summer!)

    1. I’m writing the post now, so it will be revealed shortly. I will be back to Sweden to visit though. Where are you off to?

  2. says:

    If it helps, I’m forty-*mumble* and have just moved from Scotland to Sweden. All those factors above apply, and you can add to that all the fears of 3 kids being disrupted from what they know and can navigate with ease to being transported to a country where they’re now the least articulate in the class, not the most, where they’re functionally illiterate (and don’t have their parents to pull them through) and where they don’t know anyone.

    Of course it’s scary. But it’s still tremendously exciting, even as an older person.

    1. I can’t begin to imagine the added pressure of moving with children, but at the same time you are offering them the most wonderful opportunities they could possibly have. Sweden is great for kids, and the emphasis on family here is simply the best in the world. I love the way that Swedish children have a childhood like the one I remember, but that is sadly disappearing from the UK.

      Which part of Sweden are you in?

      1. says:

        We’re in Stockholm, and you’re right, that’s a big part of the reason we came here. But the transition is still the scary bit.

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