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I’ll Take Door Number Two, Monty

August 21, 2012

THIS SECTION WRITTEN ON THE TRAIN:

I’ve left Brno.

This is what I have to carry with me. I really tried to get the backpack inside the suitcase, but no go.

Hauling all that stuff up up and down all the stairs at the train station and squeezing it through the tiny corridoor\s is the best exercise I’ve gotten in quite a while. I hate to think what this country would be like in a wheelchair.

Look, the train is already rolling!

The job market there seems lukewarm at best. The few people I talked to said that they’d keep my CV on file, just in case something came up, (which didn’t sound likely.) As for getting a VISA and a work permit, it was pretty clear I would be on my own. I didn’t talk to every single school there, but I talked to what seemed to be the major ones.

I bet if I had really wanted to work there, I could have hustled something up, but I began to grow puzzled as to why my job-searching efforts were increasingly half-hearted… until it dawned on me that I didn’t really want to live there.  (This is often how I figure out what I want; I have to play detective with my own behavior.) It’s a beautiful city and I loved walking around in it, but, considering both my almost nonexistent Czech, and the absence of an expat community, I think it would have been very difficult for me to make friends there. If I’m going to live somewhere without a music scene, without other rootless cosmopolitans to hobnob with, (or at least a school with some other expats teaching there), I’d rather it was a more exotic location. Brno is sort of halfway between two poles for me: not international enough to have the kind of community where I would feel at home, but not quite strange enough to really fascinate.

So I’m on the train to Prague. I’ve booked three nights at a hostel, (a different one than the one I stayed in last time.) By Friday morning, I will make a decision: it’s either the Ukraine, Poland (if they offer me the job), or Chengdu, China, wth my good friend Alex. At the moment, I’m leaning toward the Ukraine, even if they offer me the job in Zory.

I determined to try again to get my backpack into my suitcase. It was a Dagwood for sure.

And SO! Take that, stuff that I carry around with me.

This called for a smug expression and a celebratory beer. You can drink a beer on the train here. You can carry your own, or buy one from a fellow rolling a squeaky tray from car to car. I heartily approve of this custom. In fact, I heartily approve of all Czech customs that involve their most excellent potables. Seriously, if there’s a custom that says you drink a beer before beheading people, I’m in favor of that, ’cause you know… Czech beer.

If I take the job in the Ukraine, I will see if it is possible to ship my suitcase there, so that I can spend a little time roaming, with just the bare necessities stuffed into my backpack-style guitar case. I’d much rather travel far lighter than I can with this damnably huge suitcase. (I am considering selling this laptop and picking up something smaller, but that’s probably not a good idea, since when I get to where I’m going, I’ll want to have a good computer to work on my music with.)

I could then either head to Warsaw for a bit, (and fly to Kiev from there), or take the more adventurous option and make a slow overland trip to Kiev. Either prospect sounds very exciting.

I don’t know… I may be wanting to take a job too soon, but I really hate looking for a job. If you get to me quick, there’s a good chance I’ll take any decent offer. There are a lot of areas in life where my tolerance for uncertainty is very high, but feeling like I’m just running through my money in a foreign country is kinda pushing it, even for me. I really thought I would hear from Żory yesterday, and the fact that I didn’t gives me the sinking feeling they’re not going to offer me a contract. I emailed them this morning, letting them know as politely as I could that I have another offer and I need to decide this week.

So I’m taking one job or another this week. I’m ready for the looking-for-a-job phase to be over with, and for the settling-down-for-a-while sequence to launch. And I need to figure out which language I should be learning.

THIS SECTION WRITTEN IN PRAGUE:

I was quite glad I had consolidated my bags when I had to roll my suitcase several kilometers on winding, steep, cobblestone, streets from the train station to my hostel in Prague. Particularly since I got lost and had to retrace my steps 6 or 8 blocks.  I know, this one doesn’t looks too tough.  But there were others that were lots worse, I assure you.  Look, I can’t stop and take a picture every thirty seconds.  Just trust me on this one.

Well, while I was riding the train from Brno, the school in Żory offered me the job.  I was really tempted by the Ukraine, but…  Europe!  I’ll be living and working in Europe!  It’s kind of hard to believe it’s finally come to pass.  I’ve been pursuing it monomaniacally for a year.  I quit my job, sold almost everything I owned, traveled out of state to get certified as a teacher, scraped together enough money to tread water in Europe while I looked for a job and blammy, next thing you know, I’m an English teacher in Europe.

I’ll write more soon about my plans, but for now, thank you, everyone, for following along, encouraging me, and supporting me on my crazy quest to move abroad.  Turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. August 21, 2012 4:47 pm

    Right choice, IMHO. I did lots of googling Ukraine TEFL this morning. The Zory job sounds way way better in so many ways. So, you have all that baggage with you but can probably figure out something. Now tour your new homeland. Probst! Sounds Polish to me ;/)

    Mom

    • August 22, 2012 12:19 am

      I think it’s the smart choice. It will be a supportive environment for my first year teaching ESL.

  2. Matheius Beaver permalink
    August 21, 2012 6:04 pm

    You know, for a man who apparently has trouble with self-motivation you’ve really managed to pull it out of the bag. If I had only half your moxy I’d be happy.

    Congratulations. :o)

    • August 21, 2012 11:39 pm

      My problem is not so much with motivation as it is with organization. I didn’t research Brno very well. Fortunately, my overall plan was solid and I was flexible enough to search elsewhere.

  3. August 21, 2012 11:10 pm

    The pictures of the Zory School on their facebook look fun! Congrats.

    • August 21, 2012 11:17 pm

      I just got a great impression from talking to them. The guys that run it still teach, which I think is a good thing. It’s a small crew, tightly focused, and they’re hiring a bit ahead of the season because they’ve got strong demand.

  4. eroslane permalink
    August 23, 2012 1:59 am

    Congratulations on landing a job. And so quickly!

    Potables on a Train. Isn’t that a Hitchcock film?

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