Friday, August 19, 2011

One Year

August 19th, 2011. One year ago today I landed in Malaysia. Last year it was the 20th but Friday night. I had traveled to the many states in the US, the Caribbean, Canada, Hawaii, and Europe, but never to any where on this side of the world. I found out about this job August 2nd and applied a day later. I got the job on August 5th and hopped on a plane August 18th and landed the 20th. It was a whirlwind change in my life. I had about two weeks to pack up as much of my houses as possible and put the majority of it in storage. I had to tie up as many things as possible.  I packed two 24 gallon (about 50lbs) action packer tubs and one carry on suitcase with my belonging that I was going to be able to take with me. My parents took my kittens to take care of and handled finding someone to rent my house and other small details that I did not have time to deal with. My grandparents drove down from Minnesota to say good-bye to me, and I hopped on a plane and flew to the other side of the world. Unlike some people I had heard of Malaysia and knew that it was a country. I did not know exactly where it was located, but I did know the general area. I knew almost nothing about living in a tropical climate, a Muslim country and another culture. When I was in high school though I had traveled to Europe. While there I decided that at some point I wanted to teach overseas for a period of time. I did not know where, just that I did. I had kind of looked into over the years since high school, but I didn't really know how to go about making it happen. Most places also wanted someone who had overseas experience. It was like when I first started out looking for a teaching job. All the schools I talked to and interviewed with wanted someone who already had a couple years experience under their belt. It was frustrating because I was like how am I every going to get experience if no one makes the first move and hires me, but someone did and now I am a teacher. It was the same thing here were someone had to be the first one to hire me to teach overseas and now that I have done it for a year and am going to do it for another year here, if I decide after that to move on I will at least have some experience under my belt.
We all lead different lives and what is right for one person is not always for someone else. When I finished my second teaching degree and my second student teaching I could have applied for a position in my hometown, but I did not want to. Even though I liked the school I had done my student teaching in I kind of have a love/hate relationship with the town I grew up in. So many people I went to school with have stayed there and not really grown up or matured. I tried not to interact with them too much because I did not want to be stuck in the high school mentality. I also told everyone that I did not want to be 90 years old and looking back on my life and saying, "gee I never did much with my life or went to see what the rest of the world has to offer,". Even though this opportunity was short notice it was the same reasoning behind my move here. I had moved away and had moved back to my hometown. I am trying to find where I want to live in the world. My hometown isn't really the right place for me, but neither was the town in Idaho where I got my firs teaching job. So when this opportunity came along I decided to grab it because I didn't really want to live in the town I grew up in for the rest of my life. Even though I am very close with my parents and like living close to them I did not want to tell my future grandchildren that I lived in the same town for almost my whole life. For some people that is what they do and that is fine for them, but that is not how I want to live my life.
I am the type of person where I like to have knowledge. I like to learn things all the time. I also like to be open minded. I had gotten tired of the some people in my hometown, some of them I consider rednecks, who have a limited world view and are just fine with that.  They are not accepting of people who think or live differently from them and think that all those people are wrong. They are ok with how they live their lives and don't want to change anything. They want everyone else to change and be like them.  They are ignorant and I don't think they are aware of their ignorance.
Now not everyone in my hometown is like that. There is a large group of people who are my friends that are not like that. Those are the people that I miss a ton.
I could have visited Malaysia for a few weeks or a month, but I would not have gotten anywhere near the same experience as living here for at least two years. I learned many things this first year and I am sure that I will learn more this second year. Staying here for a few weeks or months would have created memories and might have changed me slightly for a period of time, but eventually I would have reverted to my pre-trip self. By living here for a length of time I am changing as a person and will never be the same again. I will never look at the world the same again. When I return to the US I don't know how I will fit in. There will be things that I have seen and done that have changed me that others will not understand. I don't think I will ever live in my hometown again. I hope that I do find some other place that I can live in where I might find people who have had similar experiences to me or are maybe more open minded.

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