Monday, March 30, 2009

Why El Salvador, why now?

Many people move across oceans without a job lined up. I have always found that to be extremely courageous, regardless of their circumstance. Both of my parents had moved from Taiwan to the U.S. without definite prospects of a job, much less of a green card. With them, they had lugged two young daughters who had trusted that all things would be magically sorted out. Geoff's parents had also moved between England and the States several times, presumably without jobs each time. Even as I write this entry, two friends of mine are a full continent away from home, without having yet found work. They had simply packed their bags, terminated their apartment lease, and left--because why not? (Last I checked, their smiles were contagious even from Chile.)

Sadly, I am not so courageous. Or at least, I have never needed to put myself in such a position as to test my courage. Geoff and I had briefly talked about the possibility of going abroad without having found a job for me, and I was always ambivalent about the idea. (I envy those that do it, but I am not sure it is for me.) Instead, I researched every alternative on the internet. In an amazingly inter-connected world such as ours, I cannot fathom moving without a job unless I have exhausted every option.

I actually went through two seasons of international teaching recruitment. The first year, the timing was simply not right for Geoff, and between my relationship and my hopes of going abroad, I chose to stay. In return, Geoff made me a promise that he would make every effort to prepare to go away the following year. We called it his "18-month plan." This year, Geoff and I sifted through the offers and decided together that El Salvador was where we wanted to be, together. It is a little bit off the radar for most people, but life will be slower and hopefully full of beauty. I will be teaching high-school math at Escuela Americana, an American school whose principal actually went out and personally looked at apartment options for Geoff and me. The principal knew from the start of my situation, and although -- like many other Heads of Schools -- he frowned upon the additional burden of a non-teaching boyfriend, he still offered me a position at his school. I love my future boss's generosity of spirit (not to mention the fact that he is Mexican-American, and speaks around 5 different languages!), and if that is an indication of his ability to lead, I believe that this will be a great school for me. :)

Geoff is equally excited. For him, moving to El Salvador will be a logistically grueling process. Being self-employed is a double-edged sword in this case, since he will need to maintain his own business visa for two years, navigate the dual-country tax-reporting mess all on his own, and make sure that his business will continue to run smoothly from abroad with uninterrupted phone and internet services. Compared to him, my move will be cake!

...Now, on to thinking about which things to pack in my two suitcases. (Darn the embargo. I guess it will be a complete fresh start, whether we like it or not!)


  1. Can't wait to hear more about your adventures!

  2. This is a fantastic blog. I am a Canadian teacher who is thinking about moving to ES. Is there any way we could email so I can ask you some questions re: safety and lifestyle?

  3. Hi Laura,

    Sure. mimi yang at gmail dot com.