For many reasons, this last year has been full of challenges and changes. The school year started with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment, and the entire family engaged in the learning process. I had just stepped into a new role in launching the NH writing region of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards (a fabulous program) and was looking forward to a return to teaching mostly 12th graders (outside of my electives). But life has other plans, and in February, I applied to teach in Abu Dhabi.
The initial application was fast and easy, and the follow up (more in-depth) application followed quickly. When I completed the follow up, I started to wonder what I was getting myself into, and began to wonder what it would mean. At the same time, the world seemed to be imploding with natural disasters (earthquakes in New Zealand & Japan and tsunamis), revolutions (Libya, Egypt, and more) and the changing forms of local and national politics. How could I consider taking my family out of the country and into this unknown? And yet, I continued to research and the more I talked to others, and thought about it, the more I wanted to do it and the more the timing of this felt right. I don't know if I felt this confident for my phone interview about the decision, but by the time I went to Boston (armed in my first grown up suit), I really wanted this opportunity and the world seemed to be in agreement. I found on the street parking - that I did not have to parallel park for! - steps away from the interview site, was complimented by a stranger, and the sun was shining (not always a guarantee in mid-March in New England).
There are challenges that have occurred as we've embarked on the long process of preparing to move overseas -finishing the current school year, papers returned or other documents needed, deciding what to hold on to, what will fit in our six bags, and how to divest ourselves of the things we've acquired, preparing for what to expect in a foreign country, and how to hang on to the relationships and friendships we have while living away.
We are starting to experience the first of our lasts - this will be the last time for two years that we will think about winter, attend this birthday celebration, etc. and this raises the question of how things will change during the interim....