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 kicking...it 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!)