Am I There Yet?

Am I There Yet CoverI follow @ByMariAndrew on Instagram; she has become quite a social media sensation over the last couple of years, posting thoughtful watercolor doodles of hurdles most 20-somethings face, like overcoming uncertainty, finding purpose, falling in love, heartbreak and loss, and discovering yourself. She recently published a book, the driving concept of which is that there is no perfect map to adulthood for anyone, and some of us need an extra bit of wandering along the way. I ordered it on Amazon, and each night before bed, I flipped through a few pages, consoled that a stranger could so perfectly illustrate many of the trials and personal developments I have experienced over the last few years.

Explorer though I may be, I like the idea of a map to follow. I kind of thought I had a direct one — college, grad school, travel, settle down, teach. A modern American Dream, happily ever after. But the map went rogue on me, because this first year teaching has continued to be a slog. I wrestled with my dissatisfaction through the Spring and dialouged openly with administration, but I ultimately submitted my letter of resignation back in March and will not be teaching next year. I am leaving on good terms, but the job journey has been feeling a heck of a lot more loop-de-loop lately.

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…And So It Ends

A week before I boarded a trans-Pacific plane eleven months ago, I wrote about the anticipation of beginning my New Zealand journey. A couple months ago, I entered the bittersweet limbo season and began to detect the light barely glimmering at the end of the tunnel. Welp, two months came and went (flash!). Today, the impending assignments are all done and dusted. I’ve completed a Master’s degree, slotted in and smashed out about as many adventures as I could manage, and in one short week, the #JCompinNZ journey will come to a close. What a significant, memorable year it has been.

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When Things Aren’t The Way They “Should” Be

Settling in right after I got back from Hawaii initially felt so good. I’m not moving on! I’m still here! No new starts, I know this place, I get to stay another half a year. But that quickly dissipated to the realization that most of the consistency I knew had indeed shifted. New house, new flatmates and all the old study abroad ones I had grown so close to gone. No more Georgia (gosh I miss her), new placement, new classes, new pedagogy.

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Home

Before I left, people asked me if I knew what my next steps after this year of study were going to be. How could I? I had not even gotten here yet. I anticipated that this country would suit me well, but there was no way to know for sure.

Well, I’ve been here five weeks now, and — big surprise — I love it. When I was talking to my mom last week, I told her how much I enjoy my classes, that I feel so confident about going into teaching. She retorted that I could like physics class so long as I was studying in New Zealand. I rolled my eyes. (She is wrong, by the way; I will never willingly venture into the field of math and science again.)

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Gratitude

Thanksgiving is such a great holiday. There’s not any religious controversy, little commercialization…just the gathering of family and friends, good eats, and remembering all of the blessings we have to be grateful for. And though the early settlers celebrating the first harvest did not partake in food-induced afternoon coma or NFL football games, the purpose of Thanksgiving is the same. We approach this holiday with an extra dose of gratitude. It’s a good reminder of a posture we can choose not just the fourth Thursday of November, but everyday. 

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