So I figured after blasting you all with my first post, I should probably provide some explanation as to how this whole, crazy adventure has come about!
As many of you know, Jeff and I already have experience with International teaching. We really enjoyed living and working in South Korea – which, truthfully, shocked the heck out of me! I had never had a desire to live anywhere other than Canada. Sure, I love to travel – but Asia wasn’t even really on my radar. And then, all of the sudden, I lived there – and it got under my skin!
Mostly in a good way… but there were certainly things that were challenging about living in South Korea as well – just like living anywhere, really.
Anyway – our experience opened us up to a whole new world of teaching opportunities – and, in my opinion, a whole new perspective of the world in general.
Everyone always talks about how “small” the world is.
Well – I know that’s not true – the world is HUGE! And there is SO much out there to see, experience, and try to understand.
So – as a couple, we decided that traveling and experiencing other cultures would be a part of our life, and a priority for our family. Luckily, being teachers, we also have the perfect opportunity to do this.
Anyway – that’s a little bit about where our “heart” is when it comes to the world of International Teaching.
Now – as for China 2013… no, that wasn’t really part of our plan. But, we’ve also learned that God doesn’t always pay attention to what OUR plan is! 🙂
So – here’s the official scoop!
This past fall (2012), Jeff decided to update our online teacher profiles. These are like online, digital resumes that teachers can set up so international employers can have easy access to potential teacher candidates. We first created ours when we were teaching in South Korea, and my husband – being the “type A” personality that he is – likes to keep everything current, up-to-date, and tidy. So, every 6 -12 months or so, he revamps our profiles.
Well, this past December, we were contacted by an International School in Qingdao China, who found our profiles online, and it just so happened that they were in need of a high school math and high school English teacher. The other interesting thing about this school is that it’s actually a Christian school – so for them, we were a perfect fit.
Originally, Jeff and I thought it was a really interesting opportunity, but we didn’t really seriously consider it – we had found out only two months earlier that we were pregnant with Baby #2, and I was already looking forward to another year of mat-leave! In addition, moving to another country as a young married couple (who owned nothing!) is a very different experience than moving a young family of four across the world. Not to mention that we now actually own stuff – a house, cars, etc… all of the typical “furnishings of life”. Needless to say, the whole process seemed a little daunting!
However – this school started to “woo” us in a way… they sent us all kinds of information about the school, the city, the community, the lifestyle, and the opportunities available in Asia. Gradually – we warmed up to the idea, and started to seriously discuss whether or not we could actually consider such an opportunity.
Finally, we decided to agree to a SKYPE conversation with the principal – and not just for our benefit, but for theirs too! We had to see if we were, in fact, a “match”.
Well, we were so impressed with our conversation, and their genuine desire to have us on staff, that we decided we would begin to actively pursue the opportunity – until such a point at which it would become clear to us, one way or the other, what we should do.
We have always believed that things happen in life for a reason – and when opportunity knocks, we at least have the responsibility to see what’s on the other side. However, we also knew that a lot of things would need to line up for this experience to be possible… so, after a lot of prayer, we decided to use all of the hoops we knew we’d need to jump through as a bit of test – if things continued to line up in such a way that we could make this happen, we would take it as a sign that we were on the right track, and should continue to pursue the opportunity for 2013.
The biggest obstacles in our minds were as follows:
1. Baby#2 and Isla – who would take care of our kids in China?
2. Our teaching jobs in Canada
3. Our assets
Well – problem #1 turned out not to be a problem at all! After a discussion with my younger sister Erika, it was determined that if we pursued this opportunity, she would be interested in coming to China with us to work as our Nanny. What a blessing and a relief this solution was to us – I know that I couldn’t even consider going if I didn’t have someone I know and trust watching my babies.
On to problem #2 – well, it turns out that we can both take “leaves of absence” from our positions and still maintain our contracts for 2014. This makes the “risk” of the experience a much easier one to take, knowing that we don’t have to formally give up our teaching contracts in order to pursue this opportunity.
And problem #3 – our assets. What would we do with our house? Our cars? Our furnishings?? Well – a wonderful young couple, who are friends of ours, agreed to move into our home as a furnished rental, and act as property managers for both the main portion of our home, and our basement suite. What an answer to prayer to have an amazing couple living in our home and managing our property!
So – as you can see… things have just been lining up, almost supernaturally. We continue to take steps towards making this happen, and God continues to provide a smooth path – so, we’re taking it as confirmation that we’re on the right track!
The worst part, was telling “Nana” and “Papa”…
But I think that might be another story for another day!