South of the Border, She Went Back One Day…

It’s one of my favorite songs–the one I grew up hearing my Mamaw sing.  I’ll share the lyrics, and you’ll see why it means so much these days:

South of the border, down Mexico way
That’s where they fell in love
When stars above came out to play.
And now as they wander,
Their thoughts ever stray
South of the border–down Mexico way.

It goes back to tell of how he left her, and she became a nun… not exactly the ending to my love story, but sweet, none-the-less!

I have refrained from detailing my woes in job-searching this time.  I figured you’ve already heard it once, and you know the drill.  This time, I have really focused my energy on three counties here in East Tennessee.  My goal was to stay with Mama, pay my bills, and work on Victor’s paperwork for returning to the States.  I have purposefully applied and sent resumes/emails to a gazillion schools.  Okay, not quite that many–but it’s pretty close.  In one county, I sent emails AND paper packets (resume, letters of reference, etc.) to over twenty schools.  In. One. County.

Turns out that living in East Tennessee isn’t what the good Lord has planned for me.  Funny:  It’s the first time in fifteen years that I’ve wanted to be here–and it isn’t working out!

A week ago I woke up depressed and unsure of myself again.  I did what any good depressed person would do, and promptly went back to bed.  When I had sufficiently moped, I crawled out of bed, and begrudgingly went through the routine:  Check for jobs.  Apply to jobs.  Email principals. 

Then I decided I might as well check out Korea’s status on job listings.  Turns out they only had one.  After scanning the rest of the globe, I slowly made my way to Mexico.  I felt a sense of dread come over me at the thought of moving back to Chiapas (which is totally curious, because I was so happy there).  I decided to check out the other two schools with available jobs.  The first was a bust.  The second had a position, so I quickly sent the same email I send to everyone else.

An hour later the principal called.  (I thought he was my bill collector for the student loans I can’t pay.)  He said he would call back, and asked for a time when Jania would be available.  This really gave me a little time to breath and get my thoughts together.  When he called the second time, it was with a job offer.


Turns out I really DO belong in Mexico.  I’ll be leaving this weekend…

Video Propaganda for the American School of Torreon (Video)


What Kind of Relationship Do You Have?

At school we often sit around talking about our experiences in other schools. The foreign staff is diverse(ish)–at least if we look at the places that we’ve taught. As soon as they start school bashing (or student bashing) I speak up. At least I used to–now they pretty much know where I stand…

I always say the same thing: This is nothing. I’ve had worse.

Recently, a foreign teacher that I really enjoy being around said, “You know what–you were in an abusive relationship before. That’s why you’re happy with anything better.” I can’t seem to get that analogy out of my mind–as it is true! Jobs are so much like relationships!

The First Love
You think this will last. After all, it is the first time you’ve had the perfect mate with no flaws! People try to tell you to shop around, but you know better. You were made for each other–and as soon as they realize it, you can plan your future. This will not end well. Your heart us broken–your dreams shattered. You will be more careful next time.

The Needy One
A relationship where someone needs to be with you all the time is so unhealthy. You end up feeling smothered–and tend to forget all the things you enjoyed about them in the first place. You usually are hesitant to leave. After all, how can they survive without you?

The Selfish One
This isn’t too different then a needy relationship. It is all about what you can do for them. No concern on the place of the other party exists for what you need to be happy. Your time is their time. And heaven forbid if you dare think of something else that makes you happy. You may not spend any energy or time with that endeavor.

The Abusive One
While I’ve never been in a physically abusive relationship, I have been in relationships where I ended up feeling unworthy. That’s emotionally abusive! The abusive one builds you up to tear you down. It tears you down to make you feel small. Once you’re small, you are easier to control… It doesn’t compliment you or care how you feel–not genuinely. The only time you get to hear the good things about you is when they hurt you. And when you leave–you have to sneak away, run fast, and never look back. Unfortunately, just when you think you’re safe, they find a way to exert power over you…

The Summer Romance
You only are allowed one or two of these. Naivety is a must–and you can’t become jaded. My Minnesota experience was a summer romance. We both knew it wasn’t going to last–although we tried to keep it going longer. It was exciting, new, and full of surprise. When it was over, we promised to keep in touch. I think of my summer romance with fondness and longing for the same spirit of carefreeness.

The Fling
This is where you try out a new taste. It’s not going to last. You know it from the beginning. You don’t even think of introducing your family and friends to this one. Most likely, something is a little off anyway…

The Rebound
You know this won’t last too, but your friends say, “Just have fun! You just got out of a realtionship! You don’t need anything serious!” It is different than what you’ve had. You’ve intentionally looked for something different to give yourself a break. You might flirt with the idea that it is lasting, but you probably will just use it to compare with the Ex. After all, look what you have now!

The Fixer-Upper
This is the one where you knowingly enter an unbalanced relationship. You know that what you have to offer is going to make the other party better off in the long run. You willingly give advice and support, but more than likely, it won’t be accepted. Fixer-uppers need more than what you can give. They need to believe in themselves–not have a savior.

The Keeper
This is what everyone wants. It’s a partnership of give and take. In this relationship, someone is trying to please you. You are special and valued. In return, you are more than willing to please them. Your visions and values are enough alike, a future is easy to imagine. The Keeper is one you hang onto–you can’t let this one get away.

Bah, Humbug!

I’ve felt a bit like Scrooge this holiday season. It’s the first year Dean Martin wasn’t belting “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” back on November 1st. I’m even trading my favorite Ella Fitzgerald winter tunes for some of her darker refrains.

This Scrooge has had enough visiting with the Ghost of Christmas Past. It’s time to move past the chains of disappointment-tainted hope…

So, here’s to Mexico! I have a Skype interview! I haven’t even had a chance to tell my family yet–as I just got the email. This has been much like my Minnesota Life Experience (remember my 3rd or 4th post detailing my impulsivity?), except this time I’m praying like a mad woman! I gotta say though–it’s really looking like this might happen.

If it’s the Lord’s will, I know I will soon be learning espanol. If it’s not, you will have to endure countless posts about East Tennessee Woes. (I will make this promise: I won’t say anything else negative about my beloved home-state without restoring balance by telling you something good–It will be like a Bless-It’s-Little-Heart afterthought.) I’m working on being content, and I gotta say, I think I’m losing this struggle. It’s like I take two steps forward and one step back.

Merry Christmas, friends-o-mine. Learn from me: Be content with the place you’re in. Let’s get control over the ghosts of the past and present so that we can truly say:

Not my will, but thine be done…

Think Positive

Today I subjected my mama to countless Ted Talks. We watched one about Regret–and essentially, the lesson was that it’s okay to have regrets. We can view those lessons with positive thinking (and even sadness)–and can grow in the future! After watching one of my favorites on the death of creativity, it got me thinking about some of my favorite animated talks I’ve viewed on YouTube. While poking around, I uncovered this video called Smile or Die. To all you unemployed readers out there–I hope you find this interesting!

I continued to mail out emails with a barrage of information about myself to potential employers. I am thinking realistically though, and I know that most won’t even peek at my info. I did get an exciting email from one American school in Mexico, and here’s to hoping again that something works out…

For those of you who’ve lectured me about the dangers of Mexico–calm down. This is “the safest city in Mexico!” It’s also a college town (of sorts), so the average age of the town is 23… Hooray!

Another “Life In Tennessee” Post

Well, let me start by saying–I didn’t get that job in NOVA.  Can I get a boooooo?!  I’m ok.  They timing is off anyway.  So… we’re back to the applying-for-jobs-but-getting-rejection-emails-daily point.  I’m even applying for lame-o jobs here, because I am really trying to be willing for this if God wants me here.

You know, it’s funny–there are a lot of things I really love about East Tennessee.  Unfortunately, it’s really hard to remember what they are right now…

I do know this: Waffle House is still as trashy and drama-filled as ever.  (If that were a tweet I would add #somethingsneverchange.)  Tonight Rachel R. and I met for a waffle.  It stinks that Rachel wasn’t there.  I played some extra lame my-heart-was-recently-broken-but-I’m-okay music.  There was no one to sigh in exasperation or roll their eyes and scoff when “White Flag” by Dido played for the second time.

If you’re ever feeling like you have writer’s block, you should visit Waffle House.  It was like a writer’s gold mine in there.  I actually wrote a couple things down because I couldn’t forget them…

One old lady was sitting at the frequently visitor VIP section of the restaurant.  That means the bar right up next to the waitresses/cooks.  I overhear, “Well, my day started off good.  Then it turned bad.  Then it turned real bad.”  Only it sounds like this, “Weeellll, my daaay started off gud.  Then it turrrned bad.  Then it turrrned reeeel bad.”  (Can you imagine that in your head?)    My jaw dropped open.  I mean, is this lady my soul-mate or what?!

While I am reeling from the shocked, this young couple walks in.  He’s got a shaved head, full beard, and ball cap on.  This says jock-gone-bad to me.  His “lady” friend was wearing some tight clothes and too much makeup.  They were just in time to get a new waitress on duty–she may have also been on crack based on the way she threw herself into her job with gusto.  She goes over to take their order, and says something about the table being dirty.  Steriods-in-Shorts says, “Oh, that’s okay–I like dirty!”  Crackhead Cindy retorts, “Oooh, well you’re my kinda man!”   “Well, I guess we came to the right place!” exclaimed the girlfriend with glee.  Sigh. Maybe I should have played them a little mood music on the jukebox…

Never-the-less, this girl is applying for some jobs that might trap me here forever (Heaven, forbid!).  All in the spirit of my I-am-not-controling-my-life-anymore.  #quarterlifecrisis

UPDATE!  This is my horoscope that I just read.  I NEVER do this…but for some reason I clicked the wrong button and it took me to my horoscope. 

If you’ve been dying to experience something new in your life, you will get a grand opportunity to do so today. Someone you don’t know very well will propose a crazy idea — so crazy that it just might work! Are you in or out? Gather all your courage and dive on in! You need to start taking more chances, don’t you think? Risk is the only way to give yourself the excitement you’re craving. You don’t need another quiet, safe evening at home right now.

Really?  I need more risks?  I think maybe I’ve met my quota of risk taking moves for the next…oh, year?

Preparing for Disappointment–Planning for Adventure

I remember someone telling me when I began teaching, “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.”  Isn’t that appropriate, all you teachers out there?  I’m even thinking of my sweet friend today that had an observation.  Seriously.  Who schedules an observation on Monday morning before Christmas break?!?!  Sigh…  (I know I don’t have to worry about her–she’s a GREAT teacher!)

Anyhow, back to the point:  I am preparing for disappointment.  I know I said that it would be okay if the job in NOVA doesn’t work out, but honestly, I really want it!  I want to teach Pre-K.  I want to go back to Virginia.  I want to re-assume a life of traffic, D.C. weirdos,  and sweet fellowship.  I want. I want. I want.  I know that this might not be about what I want…

I am preparing to be bummed in a couple days.  I was told that the school would be interviewing all last week.  I was told they would make a decision by Thursday of this week.  I haven’t heard a peep, and I know how these things work: interviews, emails, second interviews, good news!

BUT, I will NOT be depressed and whiney!  I know God’s plan is great for me!  Soooo, I am planning adventure.  That was the plan, remember?  Last night, in preparation for bad news, I made a couple strides in a fun adventurous direction.  I applied (or emailed school directors) in Brazil, Eastern Europe, Spain, Morocco and some other South American country I don’t remember.  Today, I am going to send info to Ghana.  I mean, why not??  (Seriously, why not?  If anyone can think of why I should or shouldn’t go…speak now!)

I have also decided to reapply to the Department of Defense schools.  I know those won’t start until next school year, but I figure a head start wouldn’t hurt.  If only something would work out soon!

Feliz Nobby Nob

Today, I was having such a grand time in Pre-K (despite the accidents and wide-open sneezes). These babies are growing on me, and they aren’t even mine! They were majorly skilled singing “Feliz Nobby Nob.”

True to the small town that this area is (even though it’s spread out all over), Mama and I ran into my elementary teacher/the local principal. She surprised me, but had heard about how I quit my job and came home. Like most teachers, she understood and even reaffirmed my I-can-always-go-home-and-teach-back-up-plan.

I picked up this hilarious book written by The Office actress, Mindy Kaling. I just read the first couple pages, but I REALLY want it! (It’s $25, and I can’t justify it right now–even half-price.)

So my point is, that she says in her first opening pages that aunts of America have bought Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? for their nieces. This is,of course, a great choice when they “could have bought a teenage vampire book.” 🙂 I did manage to buy those at the used bookstore–don’t tell anyone, but I am psyched that they have return credit! Maybe some housewife will finish Kaling’s book, and it will miraculously be on sale.

I asked my uncle the other day if something was wrong with me (because I like to move around), but he said that’s how he’s always been! It’s funny, but the one thing I’ve learned from this whole experience is I don’t have to feel rushed to do all the things I want to do! No one is saying it has to be done by a certain age–and the glory of being a teacher is the time to travel. Now that I know my options better, I realize that I can decide to move overseas later if I so wish! I’m glad though: at one time, I felt that I would be cheated if I didn’t get to go overseas soon.

I know now that life feels much better when I’m not worrying about tomorrow. I really am hoping that my spiritual service continues to be strong even when life perks up. I’m remembering a story about a rose laying on the road. Both were trampled. The road became hard, but the rose just smelled sweeter. They also say that the same water that makes the potato soft makes the egg hard. My point? I just want to respond sweetly to what God’s hand allows.

Whatever Will Be

Update of the life and times of this girl:

So, you know the scoop. For those of you who don’t basically, life turned me upside down this year. I quit my job, applied for jobs, decided to move back to Mom’s, applied for jobs, and FINALLY got an interview. I’m not blaming this on the rotten economy. I believe God was (is) working in my life, and I trust him.

Really, I’ve been saying that I trust God, but the truth is that it’s taken a while for me to get to the end of myself. So it’s with great faith that I say, I would love this job, but I’ll be okay if I don’t get it.

This is what happened though. I left Thursday morning with a little stomach bug. I drove to Virginia keeping it at bay with happy thoughts and meds. I had a great evening–Pho with the Sis and her Boyfriend. Visiting with my Virginia parents. Restless night.

Started Friday with the REAL breakfast of champions: Vegemite and a bagel. Yummo! Here is where it gets good. I went in thinking I was interviewing for the Kindergarten IA position. Not true. I interviewed for the Pre-K teaching job!!!! hooray!

Honestly, I’ve been asked how I think it went. It was great–but it’s all in God’s hands. I don’t want to be in NOVA if he wants me elsewhere. I am understanding the words, “it is not in man that walketh to direct his own steps.” I also know and love that verse “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3).

Oh! P.S. Back in TN. Drove back after the interview!