So after returning from my semester abroad in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, I never quite felt 'done' with it. I have still neglected to arrange my 400+ photos in an album, I have kept in touch with the friends I made there. I have cursed the snowfall in Colorado. School has been especially trying this semester, since after such an experience, it feels like a joke to go back into a classroom to be lectured on theory. I am restless. I have tried to distract myself and to plan my next move after graduation in May. My options were far from bleak, however, I still lacked the motivation and giddy excitement that I felt I should be feeling.
It wasn't until I somewhat committed to a perfectly acceptable plan (work for the summer, save money, travel to Malaysia in the fall to volunteer with sea turtle conservation at an eco-lodge), that a second option fell into my lap. I say that it was offered in this manner, since it was a very brief and vague email sent from GAIAS (university I attended in San Cristobal) about an English-teaching position opening in mid-May that was mine if I was interested. After a few days of analyzing pros and cons, imagining different scenarios, and, of course, asking my closest family and friends for their input, I made up my mind. Which is why I am continuing the blog "Emilee in Ecuador," versus starting a new blog called "Rice and Turtles but Different Island" or something.
I will be graduating from Colorado State University on May 15th. Approximately one week later I will board a plan bound for South America once more. The contract is mine until early October, with the option for me to extend it through mid-December. I have the option to live for free on the campus (with the professors from the mainland coming to teach this semester's study abroad students, along with other English teachers that are opting to live on campus) and I'll receive a modest food stipend. My needs will be met. The icing on the cake is the opportunity to return to the life I started six months ago. I have never been as happy as I was while living on this little island. I have friends and my host family and my boyfriend and a support network through the university. I will still have my independence. I will be teaching English four hours a day, five days a week (one am class and one pm class). This is a new endeavor that I am eager to explore. After having a taste of teaching English in a non-English speaking country, I was amazed not only by how much I enjoyed it, but how much I excelled in it. I know some students will be happy to see me return, and although I'm not sure which levels I will be teaching, I'm sure I will have the opportunity to work with all of them.
I am currently working on my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) online course, which is around 100 hours to complete. So far it is very interesting and helpful, offering lesson plans, suggestions for teaching with limited materials, and much more. I am already brainstorming games and classroom activities!
I am still reeling from the fast pace that this decision was made, however I am sure that I am not making a mistake. My grandmother so eloquently stated that I am not done with this chapter of my life. I owe it to myself and those who love me to see how it will pan out. It might be wonderful, ok, this is my chance to test those waters and see if it is a dream that can come true. It might be terrible, ok, now I know and can move on.
"Realizar sus suenos," make your dreams come true. After spending my last three years in a university setting, with little freedom to travel or think outside of such a structure, I am truly free to do whatever I wish. I promise to keep in better touch with my loved ones I am leaving in the States. When I returned after last semester, I really noticed how much I had changed, how much friends and family had changed, as well, and how relationships can evolve simply by existing. This can break my heart at times, but when I think about evolution of the spirit and how change is inevitable and beautiful, I don't feel forlorn, I only feel joy.