A job. Those things can get you a job. (Potentially. No guarantees, really.)
For the past several months, I have been at a point where I’m not quite sure who I am or where I’m going. I just finished four seemingly enjoyable years studying education. I had pretty much been guaranteed a future as a teacher, but something about teaching in Metro or the Nashville area or TN or anywhere close to home just didn’t feel right. As all of my fellow teaching grads began finding jobs in the area or back home, I felt both a sense of disappointment and relief. Obviously, I was pretty disappointed that everyone else was growing up and getting their first teaching job, while I sat and waited, but I was truly excited for each of my friends. [I was interviewed and offered a position teaching, but it truly was not the place for me. No need to go into details here, except to say I have no regrets.] Relief came, though, as the school year began and I felt fully content with where God had led me post-graduation.
I spent the last few months working with an incredible family several hours a week, as well as helping numerous other families a little less regularly. I worked with my 1st grader to boost his skills and confidence in reading, which had paid off immensely in school for him. I was putting some of my teacher training to good use! About two weeks ago, though, my hours were cut temporarily (and understandably), which helped me realize that as stable as I felt in my current job(s), I really was not. My hours fluctuated week-to-week, which began to worry me. On top of my inconsistent income, I was in search of a new place to live by December 1st. Turns out, finding a place to live (without a full-time job) is no easy task. I began to feel frustrated, discouraged, and overwhelmed by it all.
On September 12th, I made a decision that would act as a catalyst for one of my biggest adventures, yet!
I wanted to be proactive about where I might be a year from now, so I began thinking of places I might want to work in the future. For the past three years or so, I have felt a calling to teach overseas, but I had not committed. Something was holding me back (Spoiler Alert: It was me.). I thought I was silly for thinking I was the right person for something so incredible. I’ve even filled out several applications for various international schools in different places, but I hadn’t submitted a single one until that day (a Thursday). Now, I submitted two applications thinking I was putting my name in the system for next school year, but God had other plans for me.
As I mentioned earlier, that was on a Thursday. By Friday (we’re talking barely over the 24-hr mark), I had an email from the president of QSI. He was very interested in my application for an opening as a Pre-K (4-yr old) classroom teacher at Baku International School in Azerbaijan. [At this point, if you haven’t already, feel free to wander over to Google to figure out where in the world (ha) Azerbaijan is located. I’ll be the first to admit I had no idea where Azerbaijan was until I Googled it.] I quickly responded that I would be glad to find out more regarding the position. I still had little knowledge of the location or the schools itself, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to find out more. By Sunday, I was in contact with a recruiter who gladly shared some background knowledge on the area and the school. He would then contact me again the next day to inform me that they were very serious in my being considered for the position and wanted to do everything they could to answer my questions. The hope was to help me get to a point where I was ready to sit down and “talk business” with him within the week. Exactly one week from the day I applied, I felt I had enough information to say with confidence that I was seriously considering taking the job. Now, that sounds pretty simple, but my inbox and phone saw more action last week than they have seen all summer (I’m only slightly exaggerating.). I asked and answered so many questions in the past week, I can feel it making my brain all mushy. Anyway, on Saturday, Sept. 21st, I drove to Jackson to “talk business.” I left Jackson that afternoon with a job. By the end of October, I would be well on my way to Azerbaijan for nine+ months. I knew and still know I made the right decision, as crazy as it might sound.
I have hundreds of questions swimming around in my head, and I’m sure you do, too. I can tell you some of the basic details and answer some questions, as well, but there is still a lot that I don’t know, yet. Each morning I wake up to an e-mail or two from across the ocean. Please feel free to leave a comment, shoot me an e-mail/Facebook message, or give me a call. I appreciate your interest and support during this time, as well as prayers. This will be a huge transition for me, as well as family and friends I’ll be leaving behind. Your prayers and positive thoughts mean an indescribable amount to me. I’ll try to update this regularly as my journey continues, especially once I arrive in Baku. Thank you for taking the time to read this!
Baku International School
Arrive in Baku: At or around Nov. 1st, 2013
Leave Nashville: Oct. 25th, 2013
Visit Oak Ridge/Knoxville: Oct 10th-13th