Ah, January

DSC06038I love January and resolutions and the start of the new year –though I suppose it helps that there isn’t snow to be shoveled outside my door! January means new beginnings, a time to recharge and make changes for the year ahead. I have my resolutions written and I am off to a good start. 2012 was a pretty decent year all in all, I can’t complain. We got over our massive culture shock and settled in to life here in the Philippines; we traveled a lot, paid off tons of debt and met some personal goals. I suppose you could say we are in a groove but I am looking forward to a change so we are leaving Manila.

Yes, I resigned from my job. We are moving in June. I don’t know where we are going yet though I have narrowed it down to 14 countries. Okay, that’s not entirely true. If a great opportunity came through in a country I hadn’t considered I would consider it at that time but for now I am focusing on a specific fourteen, including returning to our home in the States. I am excited at the prospect of going somewhere new and though it does add an additional layer of questions when you uproot a child, I know it’s for the best. Yes, she likes her school and her yaya and this feels like home but I know there is more out there for both of us. Bilingualism? A more active outdoor social life? Family get togethers? Chilly weather? A husband for me/dad for her? She would welcome all of those things–we both would– and maybe we will find those things in our next home.

So where are we considering? Well, aside from returning  home I am most interested in Singapore, China, Oman, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Morocco, South Africa, Venezuela, Brazil, France and Spain. But this is not to say that I wouldn’t consider Italy, UK, Brussels, Germany, UAE, Argentina, Ecuador,  Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, Guatemala or a host of other places if the package is good! LOL I just need to move to a place that is a good fit for us academically, professionally, financially, socially, physically, and spiritually. I’m not asking for too much am I?! Yeah, okay, I know no place has everything but I am looking for places that have what Manila lacks, especially outdoor green space and datable men! Can I please average more than one date a year? That would be a good start!!

One thing I realized in our recent trip to Paris is how alive I felt. I woke up happy and energized and ready to take on the day. Sure I was on vacation, but it was more than that. I was excited about all the city had to offer; I loved the crisp,cool weather; I was inspired by the architecture, the people, the food and the general buzz and energy of the place. I walked everywhere and was out and about exploring. I want that in my new home. I ate pastries and bread and tons of chocolate every day in Paris yet I lost weight! My pants were falling off me on the plane ride home and the yaya, too, commented on my weight loss. Imagine that! Indulging to my heart’s content yet still losing weight? I walked a lot, yes, but I also was eating good, healthy foods that were accessible everywhere. I felt like I was really living and being in a large, vibrant city has a lot to do with that. I am keeping this in mind.

So, I have started to apply to places and am curious to know how it pans out. Bottom line for me though is it has to be really, really good or I will return home. I am not going to accept a mediocre offer just to remain abroad. I prefer to remain abroad but I also have a very compelling reason to return: my parents. Coco loves them and it would be wonderful for her to have more regular contact and create more memories. (And if I’m honest I would also add my friends and my house. I miss them both so much!!) So, a job in Bali sounds lovely but family trumps that.. though a job at the American School of Paris would be impossible to say no to! 🙂 In the end it will all come down to the package and if it living there offers more pros than spending time with family.

Sounds fairly simple until you consider this other important factor.. an overseas offer would be extended in the next month or two –way in advance of the start date but jobs back home are offered just weeks before you are expected to begin. This means I could be turning down offers abroad and returning home unemployed in a tight job market and struggling economy. That’s a pretty big risk because I also don’t want to be forced to take some mediocre position in the States just to be closer to family… or worse yet be unemployed and put myself back into debt! Overseas jobs offer housing, travel benefits (they paid for Paris!) and free tuition for Coco.. these are fantastic benefits I can’t ignore!

So, it’s all up in the air at the moment but to me this is way more exciting that worrisome. It’s clear I am leaning towards Africa and Europe but home is find, too. I look forward to seeing how things turn out !!

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8 Responses to Ah, January

  1. Sen says:

    Happy 2013! My 2013 word is Determination.
    I am determined to regroup and start over; change is a good thing.
    As far as your decison…
    I know you are concerned about your daughter having a relationship with your parents however, I would not move back to the States. I don’t see any US school district offering or matching the Overseas benefits plus being able to travel and explore is a plus. Btw; If you have any questions regarding China; I have another blogger friend, who relocated there (Beijing) 2 years ago, with her 2 daughters (5 yrs/3yrs old) that I can ask. She is actually a teacher for Disney. I would apply to apply to all 14 countries but I think I would shorten my list from 14 to the top 5 places. I think it would be easier to research. Paris looks fun and fantastic. I would love to visit there; it’s on my bucket list. Maybe you could move to Paris but live in an area that is cheaper; if possible.
    Also; can you email me at the address provided; I have a questions that I don’t want to post.

    Enjoy your day


    • Joy says:

      thanks for your comment. in fact, i do have a top 4 or 5 but i am only keeping the list longer in case i don’t get an offer from one of them. and after spending ten days in paris i decided that living outside of paris makes much more sense!

  2. Jennifer says:

    It all sounds interesting and I will be eagerly awaiting to hear more. Hey if you move to Paris – we are SO there. I will find the time and money somehow!! Of course, would love you to be stateside again as well. Any chance you could go back to the school you were at before you left?

    • Joy says:

      No, as much as I loved that school I can’t go back. They sent a form for me to fill out to my US address and when I didn’t return it, they fired me! LOL I can laugh because even though it was a shock, I couldn’t go back there anyways. I can’t send Coco there for free because we don’t live in that area (I can send her there for $16,000!) but even if I could, after teaching abroad I don’t feel comfortable sending her to a typical US Public School. It’s international, private or charter for her from now on. I’ll keep you posted!

  3. zoya says:

    So excided fo you! Can´t wait to hear about you decision.
    BTW, school sistem in EU is the best in the world. It would be good for Coco.

  4. kikielaine says:

    If I met most of my financial goals and were out of financial crisis and my parents were in their 80’s, I would go home and spend as much time with my parents as I could. There will always be international teaching opportunites, but family…well enuf said. I wish you the best on making this decision.


    • Joy says:

      yes, K, you are right. it would have to be a really great opportunity to trump family but moving back without a job is a huge risk and i don’t want to put myself back into debt again! being a single parent i have to keep that big in mind…

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