Today I signed my life away. I actually committed to a job. I don’t know how it happened really, because anytime I start applying for jobs my entire being fights against it. It was all so rushed too…four days ago I was half heartedly looking for teaching jobs in Thailand “for the future when I run out of money” and sending some emails, two days later I am hopping from trains and busses to get to Thailand and after arriving in Bangkok today I stopped in for an interview and ended up signing a contract. Just like that. It all happened so fast! And I think for me it has to happen fast; I have to be presented with an opportunity and just say “ok yep lets do this” without having time to think about if I really want to or not, because when I have time to think about it everything in me says, “BUT I DON’T WANNA!!!!”
It’s not that I don’t want to teach, it’s not even that I don’t want to work. I like the money, and I usually like the work, I think I’m just inherently resistant to anything that curbs my freedom. I like having the freedom to be spontaneous. If I want to go on a trip, I do it. I hate having to wait until I can take work off. It kills me, this growing up business. It’s kind of like I have to be surprised by a work opportunity to trick myself into it. Like in Wyoming…I made a half hearted effort to enquire about work there and less than a week after sending in my resume I got the call to get my shit together and be in Wyoming asap to start. So I did! And even though it was housekeeping I loved it. It usually all works out in the end.
To be honest, though, I am terrified about this one. When I said, “Oh, I might teach conversational English in Thailand or Cambodia” I was envisioning sitting in a classroom with some kindergarteners clapping and singing the ABC’s with them because that is what I am capable of; not teaching conversational English and coming up with my own lesson plans for classes of 30-50 high schoolers. Holy overload Batman, what have I signed up for? I mean, high schoolers! They know stuff. They can ask me real questions and challenge what I say and be smart (and sometimes smart asses). I’ve already forgotten what an adverb is. (Ok, that’s a lie. But I have a feeling when it comes time for me to stand in front of a room full of high schoolers I will blank on everything. Including what adverbs are.) One second I was sitting in Kuala Lumpur debating when I should eventually find some work and the next I’m signing a contract to start in 4 days time. The reality of it all hit me as I sat on the MRT with all my professional clothes (yeah, I had to buy professional clothes. Bye bye backpacker style); I now LIVE in Thailand. I’m not visiting, I’m not staying for a month, I’m actually going to live here.
I approach the concept of living here with a blend of excitement and apprehension. Apprehension, of course, mostly due to the job. Can I do it? Will I actually enjoy it? How hard am I going to crash and burn before I figure it out? Are high schoolers mean? However, I made no pretense at being more skilled or certified in teaching than I am in my resume and cover letter so they know who they hired in that sense. At least I don’t have to pretend like I’ve learned how to do all of this before. Excitement stems from the prospect of actually having an address again, at being able to unpack my bag for more than a week or two, being able to collect little things to later send home before I take off again and not have to carry it on my back. Excited to actually have money again! I may have to temporarily sacrifice my bohemian lifestyle for it of course, but its a small price to pay for the chance to experience life in Thailand. Like my mom told me when I couldn’t choose between Whitworth or Redlands, “Just remember, nothing is permanent. If you don’t like it you can always transfer.” Not only do I bet she’s glad I did like Whitworth, but her words were more powerful than she probably imagined, and I apply that concept to most things that I do. If I don’t like this job, I’m currently only contracted until the end of the semester in February. I can decide from there. For now…I stand at the precipice of a job that makes me as nervous as the time I had to be auctioned off in front of all my peers at Whitworth’s bachelor/bachelorette auction. Only this time I’ve done it to myself and have no one else to blame.
Here goes a new adventure! Bring it on high school round two, I’m ready to face you from in front of the desks. I think.