Now that second semester has begun, I think back to two years ago as I was preparing to head to the UNI recruiting fair in Waterloo, Iowa. At the same time, I imagine, the teacher in my current position was agonizing about whether he had spent enough time in this amazing country. (Clearly, for whatever reason, he decided to leave.) I now face a similar decision.
It is strange to me that it was as difficult as it was to make. (Quit trying to skim ahead; I'm attempting to add a little suspense. Humor me.) As I have already said, the country is diverse in both people and geography, cultures and cuisines, architecture and possibilities. For these reasons and more Colombia has captivated me. I enjoy the people I work with and the school's campus is beautiful. This year's group of ninth graders are amazing and I literally have not had a day where I did not look forward to seeing them; they are wonderful kids. But in general, most of the people I have met here have been very warm and friendly. I feel at home here.
I heard a song by a singer/songwriter that a friend recommended to me. The song includes the lyrics:
It's never quite simple, it's never that safe
It never seems perfect until it's too late
It's never the right time to find a new way
There's an answer in the sound of a train
There is wisdom past the bridge on the bay
There's a lifetime through the fog, in the rain
There's a beauty in walking away.
Despite the wonderful experience I have had and continue to have on a daily basis, there have been some policy changes that I do not agree with, on a professional level, at my school. (Being a professional, I am not going to discuss them here, however, if you would like me to bore you with the details, I'd be happy to enlighten and discuss them with you in a more private forum.)
I struggled with the decision of leaving based mostly around such a reason and had a hard time justifying parting on these grounds. But I came to realize that I needed to stick with what I felt was right for me. I wasn't going to be here for the long-haul anyways, so why push through something unpleasant when I didn't have to. I do believe that, at times, "there's a beauty in walking away."
So, now I throw myself, haphazardly yet purposefully, into the ever widening sea of unemployment. I will teach internationally again one day, but I feel now is the time for me to start working toward a Master's degree. As far as future plans, that's about it. I have five more months of exploring and experiencing more of Colombia and I expect to take advantage of them. Beyond that...well, that's a whole other adventure!
Thanks to everyone who has written to me inquiring about my future plans, who listened to my concerns and offered advice, and those who tried to be objective in giving advice. Special thanks to A.M.H.T. for an amazing, as always, conversation - my thoughts may not have been rationalized the way they were without our chat! Thanks!