Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Beginnings

I wanted to let that last post sit for awhile. For the first couple of days after I wrote it, I admit, I went back to it a number of times to re-read it, to let the words sink deep into my heart, and to burn the image of that photograph into my mind. I knew this year's birthday post would be much different than last year's, had been planning it out in my mind for a month, but I didn't really know how different it would be.

I wonder what Kaiya will think one day, reading back through it all.


The Epps are on an exciting journey this weekend. We've been busier this week than anticipated, so I think the full weight of what we're up to this weekend won't hit until we're on the drive.

Where to? You ask. Kingston, Ontario. And why, pray tell? To go to the mythical TORF - Teaching Overseas Recruitment Fair - at Queen's University.

We're going full-circle, baby, yes we are. About 8 years ago, we heard about the TORF through our travelling friend Sarah. At the time, she was in the middle of seeing wonderful and beautiful parts of the world, all while teaching. Colombia, Mexico, Turkey. She showed us amazing pictures of the places she had lived in, and was probably responsible for kicking this whole thing into gear in the first place. (Mind you, no extra coaxing was required for said was probably more akin to waking the sleeping giant). I remember her saying to us, "If you ever want to teach overseas, you've got to go to the Queen's job fair. It's such an amazing and intense weekend. There'll be over 50 schools represented, and you'll meet so many like-minded people and feel so valued as a teacher."

And here we are, all those years later, attending TORF more or less as an afterthought.

For all the planning and thinking that has gone into this decision to move our family across the world, we still, ultimately, like to live life last-minute. It was a friend (who shall as yet remain unnamed), unexpectedly thinking of moving to Dubai, who got us back on the TORF bus. About two weeks ago he said, "Ya, I think I'll go to that fair at Queen's."

And Jeff and I had one of those moments where we looked at each other and went, "Oh, ya, DUHHHHHHH....!"

And then he got online and got busy. Emails, cover letter, resume, letters of reference, transcripts, two-page teaching philosophy, a list of phone numbers...(all while working on his report cards!) If he had been a week later, he would have missed the deadline.

So here we are, getting in the car tomorrow. I'll be watching Kaiya at the hotel while Jeff attends the fair. (It's only for elementary/high school teachers). Registration starts at 3pm, and by the sounds of it, I shouldn't expect Jeff back in the hotel till 10 or 11. It is certainly intense. Seminars on living overseas, on how to conduct yourself in an overseas teaching interview, on different countries and schools represented. Seventy schools from around the world will be represented at the fair. Seventy. We know, from what we've been told, that your best bet is to be open to travel anywhere. And so we know that Jeff's chances are limited, because only three elementary/high schools from Qatar will be there, and with me placing all my hope in one college in Qatar (mostly due to our friends, Darren and Larissa), that's the only country we're really interested in. Who knows if they even have positions that fit Jeff's qualifications? But since some of these schools will not hire without a face-to-face interview, we know that Jeff needs to go. It's worth it.

And it's serious.

I know it's serious because I casually mentioned to Jeff on Sunday that maybe he should consider buying a suit? And he was ON it. The very next day. Yes sir, a fine, black, Calvin Klein suit is accompanying us on our travels tomorrow. A SUIT! I haven't seen Jeff in anything like it since our WEDDING!

Yes, this is serious. I think it says that we mean it now.

I'm trying to be honest about how I'm feeling. I get a little superstitious about these things. I'm afraid to let people know what I really want because I'm sure that if I voice it, I won't get it. So I'm casually nonchalant. "Oh, you know, we'll see. No big deal." But I read somewhere recently that if you do that, you're robbing yourself of two things: the joy that comes if you DO get what you were hoping for, and the support group of family and friends to console you if you don't.

So let me say this now, once, and maybe only once: We really want this.

And friends, I hope you'll come along on the journey with us. This Sunday, I was asked, "What are you passionate about?" Jeff quickly leaned in and said, "Don't get stuck because you're wondering or feeling guilty about what you SHOULD be passionate about. Just speak it out."

And you know what? I didn't waste a second. I blabbed on and on about how I love meeting people from other cultures, and I love living in foreign lands, and I love expanding my worldview, and I love tasting different foods, and learning about different cultures and religions, and I felt the smile on my face and the warmth in my heart, and I thought, "Yes. This is where it's at for me."

I know many of you would never dream of doing what we're doing. But I hope you can still come along with us for the ride.

I love that many of our friends and family read this little space and follow our little Epp lives (although far too few of you leave comments! Ahem!) But I have to admit... this blog started as a travel blog, and it has nearly died a number of deaths since our return from Japan. I have managed to shape and mold it into something else, and something lovely (at least I think so!), but the heart and soul of it is travel. And so I sincerely hope that you'll check back here regularly to see how (if?!)things are progressing, and, one day, to follow our travels again.

Love and peace to you. (And please forgive my slap-together job! This was not a particularly well-written post!)

We're off!


Anonymous said...

How incredible this journey!
How meaningful.
How joyful!

I am so excited for you. I hear the passion in your writing and I have heard the passon in your voice over the last few weeks and I celebrate your steps moving forward.

May you realize all your potential and live fully in the center of your dreams.

We are behind you and your 'little Epp lives' 100% and will count it a true joy to follow your travels.

Blessings on this weekend. I hope Jeff makes great connections.

Love to you all,

Suzanne said...

Kathy I am so excited to see where this journey takes you. One of my passions is adventure, in whatever sense of the word. Right now you and your family are on a huge adventure and I love it. There will be unexpected turns, new twists, exciting moments, and fascinating discoveries. I can't wait to see how this journey will shape your lives and shape your family. I am excited to live this adventure with you.

Blessings on this weekend. Embrace the intensity and have a blast!!

Love you!

Rekker said...

Kathy...a new chapter has definitely begun! Congratulations on living life in your passions. I wish more of us would be as brave. May you be blown away with "gifts" of sorts this weekend. I look forward to hearing more of the story.

mariaborito said...

Be encouraged my friend. You and Jeff are incredible people and as we have talked about, whether you stay or go, your kids will grow and learn in wonderful ways. I will pray that the right door opens for you this weekend!

Anonymous said...

The one who remains unnamed

Wait to go. I'm looking forward to this too. I've been hesitating to say it, but you've encouraged me. "I really want this too."

Anonymous said...

Comments are not usually in short supply for me. Kathy, passion is a window into you, and you've opened the window.

I have noticed that people that travel often get "bitten" by the travel and by the places they travel to. They are often "wrecked" so that coming "home" is very tough (you know).

I've recently had the privilege of hearing two young men talk about living in lands far away. The one said about St. Catharines where he was born and raised, "...and it just doesn't feel like home anymore". The other one was raised in the Falls. I met him after his recent return from Thailand. He talked about beginning to "come home" months before he actually made the trip home. I've seen people who belong far away and those that belong near here.

My comment: It's all about home. When you find it, guard it with all your heart.

love you all, Willy

Anonymous said...

What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.
T. S. Eliot

Happy to be able to enjoy this journey with you, from beginning to end and everything in between.

lovetolaugh said...


Thank you for sharing your life with me.

I will be thinking of you this weekend! Jeff you're Amazing! I will be saying little - go get em's - just for you!

Kathy I hope Hotel time isn't too stressful, and has little moments of magic.

I love that you're who you are! I Love how you write, and share... so I will read this blog anywhere you are.

Yay for Passion! Love yous!

Beth said...

"You have to be brave with your life, so others can be brave with theirs." Katherine Centre
Courage, confidence, unrestrained passion, life, love, clarity and joy to you in this season of moving forward into your dreams! What a gift you are giving yourselves and Kaiya by stepping into your passions!
~ Holding you in the hopeful Light ~

Michael said...

Happy to see that the restless gypsy gene is still alive,


gypsy said...

Aw, dad... That was the best comment EVER.
Love you,