Archive

Archive for May, 2011

Golden Tickets

May 27, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m a girl who can always rely on her parents for a bit of sage advice.  The saying, “Variety is the spice of life,” is a great favorite of my mom’s.  “Travel,” my dad tells me, “You’re at a place in life where you can have adventures, so hey, why not?”  One of their most valuable lessons, one that I’ve taken to soul and reached for each day of my adult life is this:  Find something you LOVE to do, and figure out a way of making money at it.  Can I call this the “American Dream” of my generation?  Is that an accurate way to think of it?  I’m aware of this sentiment everywhere now…nearly everyone I know wants a job that is somehow MORE than a job.  A bigger paycheck isn’t necessarily the endgame anymore.  A way of life, a calling, a passion…these are what we’re searching the want ads for, going to college for.

I feel that I’ve been a traveler my whole life.  When I was younger it was my imagination, fueled by plenty of books, which took me to distant, foreign lands.  These days, I’m slowly realizing my dream of seeing the world in a more physical sense. 

Teaching.  That’s the answer for me.  How to travel everywhere, and somehow make enough money to sustain those travels?  Teaching English as a second/foreign language has been my golden ticket, as it has for many others with similar desires.  About a year after graduating from university, I was perusing the job listings on Craigslist.  I saw an ad for a recruiting agency, looking for Americans interested in teaching in South Korea.  That was it, I saw a path materialize in front of me, and all I needed were the balls to step onto that path.  Moving to Seoul by myself and starting a career that I had no experience in was the most difficult transition of my life.  I thought about quitting, I sobbed into my cheap, squishy Korean pillow every night, and I dreaded going to work (I had a supervisor who looked at me as if I were snot).  But, eventually I acclimated.  I acclimated, and then I thrived.

 I spent a year in Korea, travelled to Tokyo, Xi’an and Beijing, Bangkok, and North Korea, had a more magically enriching year than I would have thought possible, and then moved on.  I spent the summer after that in Madrid, teaching and backpacking.  I saw Barcelona, Paris, and Lisbon.  Later on I moved to Hong Kong, and taught there for a year, visiting Bangkok again, and Macau.  Then it was back to Korea for another year, and from Korea to my current situation…Nepal!

I’ve spent about four years on the move now, and with each year teaching has become more and more important to me.  I can almost, almost say that my enjoyment of sharing knowledge has transcended the pleasure of travel.  I have a few sub-par teaching days, of course…moments when I want to flick a disrespectful kid on the nose and yell, “What’s your problem, punk?!”  But, for the most part, I love what I do.  We can put that in capitals: I L.O.V.E. what I do.  Mom and Dad, who always say “life is short, so make the most of it,” are happy that I’ve found so much satisfaction and joy in my work.

Nepal is a series of firsts for me.  It’s my first time in a developing country, my first time doing full-time volunteer work, and my first time teaching truly eager, engaged kids.  Over the past couple years I’ve been developing long term career goals.  I want to bring education to places that have a great need of it, and help provide opportunities to children and young adults who might otherwise not have them.  I want to make a difference…don’t we all, in one way or another?

I’m here in Kathmandu with a great organization called VCAP Nepal.  Anyone who is interested can read up on them at http://volunteer-in-nepal.org.  I’ve committed to teaching English here for three months, and I’m already halfway through that period of time.  This blog is going to be an account of my final six weeks here, my daily life, my experiences at the school where I work, and my fundraising struggles.  This will also go beyond my time here, to when I return to the States and continue my involvement with VCAP as best I can from there.  I hope at least a few of you find something of interest here, feel free to stick around for the ride…

Thanks for reading!

Sarah