Each year, instead of making a New Years Resolution (because I never, ever… EVER keep them), I choose a word or phrase to focus on. This is something related to a personal growth goal. Past choices have been gratitude, joy, connection, adventure, and courage. I really struggled with my choice this year. Eventually, I decided on “live life boldly.” I thought this phrase conveyed all I wanted to be and do in the coming year.
I had no idea just how boldly I’d be living!
For the past several years, Jim and I have talked about teaching overseas. We love to travel, we want our children to be exposed to many cultures/languages/people, we hold licensures in highly sought-after subject areas. Though we thought about it, talked about it, and even visited a school in Aruba once, it seemed more like something fun to dream about rather than actually do.
This Fall, we discussed the possibility of making this dream a reality. Jim talked about where he might want to go (the Caribbean) and where he definitely didn’t want to go (the Middle East). I talked about wanting a small school with a community feel, activities for the boys. We both wanted a place that would be conducive to additional travel.
The timing was right. Bre and Brooke would both be in college the next school year. Kar would just be entering Kindergarten. The year at school had started incredibly well, which made it easier to think about walking away.
Besides the obvious difficulty of leaving family (I can’t even think about moving away from Bre and Brooke without tearing up) and friends and our new church community, there were other things that made me reconsider moving forward. I wasn’t sure I wanted to leave behind the union work that’s been such a huge part of my focus the past several years. I’m a leader at the highest state level and involved in a national committee. I have ideas of where I’d like to take that experience. It’s hard to take a break and put those goals on the back burner. It is also hard to walk away from work I feel I’m just getting started – working on issues of educational access and equity and being involved with Educolor.
Finally, after much consideration, we decided to put our application materials on the Univeristy of Northern Iowa search website (it was closer and cheaper than others). We figured, “Let’s just see what happens.” Well…what happened was we had several requests for interviews.
We interviewed with schools in El Salvador, Columbia, and Bahrain. Remember how Jim said he didn’t want to go the Middle East? Well… guess where we chose? Yep. Bahrain. The “single story” we get of the Middle East does not describe all places therein. We are excited to go there and to learn about the Muslim culture and Islam first-hand, not through the U.S. media protrayal of it.
We will be teaching at Riffa Views International School. The school programs are intriguing and fit perfectly with my teaching philosophy. We will be part of a small community and the location is perfect in terms of warmth and travel opportunities.
Our New Griswold Adventures will look a lot different in the next 2 years… and we will definitely be embracing my “phrase of the year” ~ live life boldly~ !!