Wednesday, August 8, 2012

It's a Dangerous Business

Oh dear. Is it August already?

I'll spare you the usual laments about being so busy that time passes unnoticed and all too quickly, but I will say that I am a little exhausted and, obviously, shamefully remiss about posting anything here. I've been consumed by longish days of teaching (read: singing to/coaxing developing motor skills out of) tiny children and reassuring (read: easing fears and worries which I have no right to ease in) their parents, followed by intensive, 3-hours-a-night, 3-nights-a-week TESOL class. Sprinkled into the mix has been a quick trip to Long Beach and San Diego, a physically-exhausting but soul-satisfying day slinging cherries and peaches at a farmers' market, and some rarefied afternoons in the Seattle sun. There has been a wink at painting (2 whole paintings! 3 if you count a 2-canvas piece!) and a nod to the Olympics when my heart and hands are not otherwise distracted by what Adult-Kait deems "more important" things.

Admittedly, some distraction is acceptable - welcomed, even. Last November, in the inaugural post of this humble, stumbling blog, I wrote about transition and the fear that is transition's constant shadow. Distractions keep my head comfortably in the sand until I am ready to face the discomfort of Change - the Change happily building sandcastles and tearing down others in the lives surrounding mine, patiently waiting for me to meet its eye. Maybe by the time I'm in my seventies, when the hours I waste worrying now will have added up to regretful years, I will finally have learned to accept change gracefully, to relinquish doubt graciously; for now, I will continue to know the familiar fear of change when the distractions fade. For now, I'm shaking grains of distraction out of my hair because things are changing for everyone, and my nervous hands and restless sleeps are tell-tale signs Change is coming for me, too.

Killian and Daniel have moved temporarily to Portland this month before making the staggering, still-temporary-but-longer-term move to Oxford, England in September. Stacy and Jon just moved to Orange after transitioning through the Bay Area from Seattle last year. Friends are getting married left and right. Molly is having a baby (okay, I don't actually know her, but when she has her child, I'm praying she brings the little Orangette-blossom to my work in Ballard - it's her neighborhood, after all!). Lauren has taken the exhilarating step of quitting her job to write and blog full-time, giving herself a year as a trial period before reassessing her decision (again, I only know Lauren as an admired blogger and interwebs-friend, but I am thrilled to hold my breath with the rest of her blogstalkers as she takes such a thrilling plunge into what will surely be further success and continued brilliance). Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes are everywhere, and they aren't stopping anytime soon.

As for me? This week - tomorrow, actually - Adam and I will be certified in TESOL. Our names will be recommended for candidacy and we will receive our basic certificates within the month. Upon completion of the grammar-specific course in December, we'll earn the Advanced 100-Hour certification, but really, with the basic certificate already in hand, we could find a contract next week and move half a world away next month if we wanted to and start teaching. That's not happening, though, and yet - even thought I know we're not moving anywhere for a while yet - it's still a scary prospect, even if excitingly so.

What amplifies the fear is the unknown and our progress in spite of it. We don't know where teaching will take us just yet; we simply know we are continuing our forward motion anyway, into the dark, lighting our way with a torch fueled by the earnest cocktail of love of language and wanderlust. Should we be practicing "good morning" in Vietnamese? Are we slouching toward Bethlehem (I hope not)? We've been passively eyeing a few countries in South and Central America (our background in Spanish would be a linguistic comfort blanket), but we're excited about the possibilities of countries like Thailand and Cambodia in the Asian arena and Eastern European opportunities in Croatia and the Czech Republic, as well - again, we haven't even begun testing the waters, so we have very little idea where we want to dive in the deep end.

My home-loving Hobbit ways have always kept my dreams of adventure safely tucked in the folds of my brain's fiction section. After all, such dreams can never become nightmares when they are lived only vicariously through Jim Hawkins or Indiana Jones. I know adventure is out there, and I am feeling and fearing it now more than ever. To paraphrase Tolkein, it's a dangerous business, going out your door; you step into the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to. But for all the dangerous business of Out There, I can't ignore the need to explore it, and I can't very well do that if I don't find the courage to leave Here. I reassure myself that the tiny shard of excitement I do feel buried somewhere in my chest will eventually work its way to the surface to splinter the fear and worry.

Transition will happen, and I will be ready. Until then, I will enjoy my time left in the sand - it is still warm there, but the weather is changing.


  1. Change is scary, but I find it's the decision to make the change that is the hardest. Once the decision is made, I feel that excitement and joy lovingly overshadow the dread and uncertainty.

    For the record, I can't tell you how much you would love Israel. It's the most spectacular place that I've ever been. The country's turmoil should be considered, but you would certainly find it to be ripe with adventure. The history alone makes it worth a visit.

    Or, you know, Croatia. I hear it's one of the most beautiful places on earth.

    I hope, no matter what, that you keep writing and sharing your thoughts with us. You're spectacular.

    1. Thank you, sugar - you're pretty spectacular, yourself :) And I do actually want to visit Isreal; I was just making a silly joke about Joan Didion's rather depressing collection of stories from the Sixties called 'Slouching Toward Bethlehem' - I recommend the read, but it's definitely a downer and not a great mindset for adventure ;)

      Wherever we go, I can guarantee lots and lots of pictures and posts! <3

  2. There does seem to be a lot of change in the air... Well done on completing your TESOL, I hope you end up somewhere incredible, and that the discomfort of change is well worth it. I look forward to reading about wherever you end up :D