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!)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What brought me here

I began my first blog in 2001. I blogged when I didn't yet know that there was a coined term for it, before I knew that there were websites devoted to blogging. Over the years, I have tried blogging in various forms, via various sites, and have generally written prolifically. I have shared, from time to time, excruciating details about my personal life, and -- like all bloggers -- have reaped both tremendous rewards and some consequences from it. Recently, it has dwindled into writing only for my good friends (ie. not open to public), and then almost not writing at all. Life has caught up with me, and I am no longer diligent in the same way I had been for years.

...The truth is, I miss it. I miss distilling my feelings into a few lines, or a few words. I miss having a good story and being able to write it down for myself to come back to, in the future. I miss being able to tell my story, without imposing it on someone else. True, I could keep a private journal, but I am a mess when it comes to backing up my own files, or keeping track of my personal physical belongings. (As Geoff could attest to.) So, keeping it on a website somewhere is my lazy way of keeping a dumping ground. Not to mention that it is always nice for me to read about and catch up on other people's lives, so it seems only fair that I do so in return. :)

Soon, I will be moving to El Salvador, for two years! Now seems as good a time as any to start writing again. The other blogs that I semi-regularly update will still serve their purposes, but this one will be public and focus on Geoff's and my adventure in Central America. So, stay tuned!


The name of the blog comes from a Jack Johnson song, called "Breakdown." It sounds cheesy, but I think that in a few years, I will still love this song for the beautiful sentiment that it embodies. Most of us run the courses of our lives, and never discover what lies outside of the train tracks until that train breaks down. May my life always be a broken old train, so that I can meet the people I was never meant to meet, and experience the life that was never meant to be mine.