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Archive for the month “May, 2012”

We Are Family

Today I told my students that we are heading off to Egypt.

The responses ranged from, “Why are you leaving us?” to “Why did you choose Egypt?!?” to “Why can’t I come with you?!?!?”

Any time a major change happens, a part of me is ready to embrace whatever is to come.  Equally, a part of me slides on the rose-colored glasses and waxes nostalgic, aching to stay where I am.  I’m currently sitting in the midst of the latter. All I can think about is how much my students make me laugh, the many ways they have instigated growth and change within me, and the pure and unadulterated joy I feel when I am with them.  I can’t seem to remember the frustration or annoyance or plain old exhaustion. 

So it was appropriate this morning, when I told my ASAP (advisory) students the news, a kid said, “Let’s have a moment of silence to remember all of the good times we’ve had together.”  So we did.  And it was good.

Then we had a group hug, and the boys started singing, “We Are Family.”

We are a family.  We trust each other, we drive each other nuts, and we have fun together.  Most of the students have been mine for 3 years, which is one of the most consistent relationships some of them have.  I used to think it was funny when students accidentally called me “Mom.”  Now half of my students intentionally call me “Mom.”  Another student asked if she could be the god-student to my future baby.  (I think she’d be the first god-student in the history of the world.)  We are family. 

And the best part of family is feeling supported.  Another student said today, “Well, the good news is you are following your dream, right?”  Right you are.

I’ll end tonight with a little inspiration from Sister Sledge: “High hopes we have for the future, and our goal’s in sight.”  The part of me ready to embrace the change agrees whole-heartedly.  The part of me aching to stay right here, right now agrees too.

In the beginning

Here we are.  Blog post numero uno.  Ben and I are 2 and 1/2 short months away from leaving behind all we know in Minnesota to venture into the unknown of Cairo.  This is the how, why and when of our story.

When I was 15 (I think…maybe sooner, maybe later, but let’s say 15 for now), I decided I wanted to teach in another country. My cousin Sara, whom I very much admire, completed student teaching in Brazil and talked about how she always wanted to return there to teach.  I had a small case of the wanderlusts already, and this new and exciting idea of future adventures grabbed hold of me.  In April of 2011, Ben and I decided that 2012 was the year to throw caution to the wind and see where it took us.

We registered for the UNI Overseas Teaching Fair, and spent a whirlwind weekend in February selling ourselves, being recruited, interviewing, and trying to ask all the right questions.  We were told prior to attending that teachers with a non-teaching spouse usually do not find jobs – something like 6% of the jobs go to couples in that category.  We were worried when we first arrived, and we felt extremely defeated after the first two hours of the fair.  We had 5 interviews scheduled, but close to 50 absolute no’s.  Simply because Ben wasn’t a teacher.

Our first interview was with a school in Cairo, which had been on Ben’s radar since day one.  In January, I said no way, because of the political climate post-revolution.  We were told by the folks who ran the fair to keep an open mind and give countries a chance, so that’s what I did.  Nearly two hours later, we had a job offer and a feeling like this school was the one.  (How romantic, right?)  We spent time researching Egypt and the other countries for which we had interviews scheduled later in the weekend, and decided to take a chance.  Around noontime on Saturday, we signed a contract.

Since then, we have scrambled to complete paperwork, paperwork, paperwork so we can actual enter the country.  Till then, we still need to pack, sell and store our belongings, and throw a kick-*** going away party.

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