In January of 2006, I traveled to London for a semester of studying abroad. Since I decided to live at home through most of college (it seemed wasteful to get an apartment when I went to university where my parents lived), studying abroad was my first experience of being (nominally) out on my own. I teetered between terror and euphoria on the day I left Colorado, but I slept well on the flight. How has a decade passed?
I’ve always wanted to spend time living abroad again, but my attempts at finding a suitable teaching position abroad didn’t succeed. For the most part, I’m happy they didn’t. If I’d taught abroad when I wanted to, I would not have been able to go home when it was important to me. Three people I love have passed away in the last couple years. With the most recent, I was able to fly out to Colorado soon after the cancer diagnosis (July 9th, 2015) and visit for a couple days while my uncle was doing well on treatments (Labor Day weekend). There was never any doubt the disease would be fatal; the question was only “how soon?”
This last summer, I took my first international vacation since 2007. I went to Scotland for about 10 days, and it was everything I hoped it would be. I even went so far as to stand in front of 30 people I knew from the tour group and played Irish flute. My playing is not yet good (rhythm and the bottom register in particular need work), but I forced myself to chuck some of my shyness and play the hornpipe “The Rights of Man” and the slip jig “The Butterfly”. Stretching myself and experiencing new things made June a wonderful month.
My current path does not really have a branch that would take me abroad, and I am quite certain I do not want to change tracks and teach. At this point, putting a potential career on hold would not be beneficial if I ever want to retire.
This year my goals are not too ambitious. I want to finish at least one writing project, continue playing Irish flute, get back into studying Japanese, and learn to be more organized. Maybe focusing on the things I know I can achieve will help me find some answers for the larger picture as well.