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Monday, September 12, 2011

being a grown-up

1. Taking good care of myself (including asking for help when I need it) (as said here).

2. Facing the overwhelming, yet thrilling fact that I am the only person who can make decisions about what I want and what makes me happy.

3. Getting out of bed when I really don’t want to.

4. Paying taxes (oh wait, my dad still walks me through that).

Let’s think about #2.  When you apply for college, for example, it’s scary, but really, coming from my social location, the field of options is relatively narrow: which lovely schools to apply to, early decision or regular.  The deadlines line up, all your friends are doing the same thing at the same time, and really, you are in no way answering the question, what do I want to be when I grow up?  Rather, the question is, what kind of culture/vibe do I want to live in for the next four years?

As much as I am still not answering that bigger question (I prefer: What do I want to do next year?), I can’t help but notice that my choices are pointing me down that road.  And now, the field of options is wide, wide open.  Where do I want to live?  Do I want to go back to school?  For what?  For a certificate, a Master’s, a PhD?  When?  Where?  Do I want another teaching job?  What type of school/institute/workplace?  Where?  What age(s)?  What if I don’t want to do either of those things?  What if I just applied to, say, a paralegal job?  What if I got it?  How important is Spanish to me, really, and what do I do about it?  Do I care about Portuguese and Brazil?  What if I just blew my savings and hiked the Appalachian Trail or did an American cross-country road trip?  What if I taught English in South Korea and saved a ton of money?  What if I fell in love with someone at an airport?  What if I just flew home for Christmas and stayed on my parents’ couch watching Friday Night Lights and drinking Ipswich Ale for a few months?  If I added in a few spinning classes and some interlibrary loan, it would practically be well-rounded.  Hey, I could even try to get my café job back.

Here are things I’ve said I’ve wanted to be when I grow up at some point in my 23 years:

  • teacher: elementary, adult, ESL, SPED, other
  •  college professor: political science, sociology, women’s studies, Latin American studies
  •  “activist”: women’s health, gay rights, environmental issues, immigration rights
  •  political campaign strategist (progressive Democrats, of course)
  •  WNBA player
  • marine biologist (it sounded cool, and according to my big sister, had something to do with my 8-year-old self’s love of counting and drawing starfish I found among the rocks in Maine)
  • diplomat
  • translator
  • translator for US women’s crew team at 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro
  • author/writer
  • visionary third-wave feminist: author, blogger, etc.
  • child psychologist/ clinical social worker

As for 2012, I’ve decided not to stay with the Foundation here in Patagonia.  It’s been good, but there are too many frustrations (school, colleagues, shared living space, foundation team, plus of course cold and isolation), and mostly, I feel like another year here wouldn’t let me grow in the ways I really want to grow, namely, as an English teacher and as a Spanish speaker and scholar.  I have had terrible attacks of sadness when I think of parting with some dear friends and students, but unless I spend the rest of my life in Palena (no, gracias), the leaving is inevitable.

So what comes next?  Certainly some relaxing and recharging in my beloved Ipswich, and then, I’m thinking of shipping off to teach English abroad again– somewhere warmer, and where I am more of a full professional teacher, rather than a “support” (half of my hours now are co-taught).  I’m doing a lot of research about TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification programs (generally 150 hrs, 4 weeks if full-time), which promise to give me more job options, and I hope would get me up and over this “volunteer” scene.  My other idea is to live in a sufficiently urban area to be able to take a university class on the side, both to develop my formal Spanish, and to help me figure out how I feel about school and the social sciences.

I’m feeling pretty excited about this idea, but I also know full well that “TEFL teacher” might one day be filed next to “marine biologist.”  We’ll see.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. davie permalink
    Monday, September 12, 2011 9:50 pm

    uhm translator for the Olympic team….. duh… anyway i love you so much and miss you a ton!

  2. Tuesday, September 13, 2011 6:41 am

    right? fatti might have a foot in the door on that one, though. miss you too!

  3. Wednesday, September 14, 2011 3:15 pm

    Maybe this is just me, but are you at all scared of going back to school because of loans ? I was fortunate enough to finish my undergrad with absolutely no debt (thanks Mom and Dad!), and I’m scared of taking out loans now.

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