Hello there, readers! I know things have been quiet here on the blog, but not so in the life of Mo. There are big, amazing, crazy life things in the works, and while I do intend to finally finish writing on my Eastern European Extravaganza (I have only 1 more city to cover, Budapest) I felt it was time to take a pause to fill you in on what’s been going on behind the scenes.
For some time now Zac and I have been discussing the idea of living abroad. Experiencing other places and cultures is a huge priority for us. Back in college I missed out on the chance to do study abroad, and have always wanted the broader experience of living somewhere outside of the US. Traveling is amazing, but it’s a whole other experience to actually live and become a local. The past 3 1/2 years in San Francisco have definitely taught me that.
Right now, there is no time like the present. I am not married, have no kids, house, debt or career to speak of. My big quarter life crisis moment came in December when I realized that my chosen career path of costume design, the thing I went to school for, is not a viable option to support myself, at least not without an enormous amount of work, hustling, and sheer luck. I’m not afraid of hard work, but feel that the pursuit of costume design isn’t worth sacrificing my quality of life, not to mention my health and sanity. I want to actually enjoy my life while I’m young, not work my ass off so that I can rest on my laurels later.
We knew we wanted to live abroad, but where, and doing what? We are huge Europophiles and looked into Germany, but trying to navigate the murky waters of the internet and figure out the German work visa process was challenging. It then dawned on us to do what many other young Americans have done before: teach English. To teach English in Germany, however, we still needed to save a lot of money, buy a plane ticket, and hopefully be able to find jobs in a competitive market before our tourist visas ran out in 3 months.
In terms of English teaching though, Asia seems to be where it’s at. Particularly South Korea. Through a program run by the Korean Ministry of Education, one can find a teaching post for a year and be reimbursed for the flight, set up with a furnished apartment, get plenty of vacation time plus numerous public holidays, health insurance, and make good money, with an ability to save $8,000-$22,000 US per year. Amazing! Add to this the fact that we are obsessed with K-Pop (Korean music and music videos), and the whole idea is incredibly serendipitous.
All of this exploration culminated a few weeks ago, when we attended an information session for a TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) course through Oxford Seminars, one of the biggest companies for these courses in the US. We plunked down a bunch of money and signed up on the spot for their 3 week intensive course in August, which will give us the necessary requirement for teaching abroad. After passing the course, they have a job placement service we can go though that will help us get all of our stuff in order and apply for jobs. Most of the Korean jobs start Jan-March, so we can expect to begin our new lives as English teachers in the early part of 2016.
Incredibly huge, exciting stuff! It is wonderfully freeing to have taken the first step in this incredible new chapter in our lives. Lately I’ve been working hard at a new job to save money, learning a bit of Korean and about the Korean culture, and enjoying my time in San Francisco. I have a few makeup jobs lined up and one costume gig in the fall, but I’m being very choosy in my projects and trying to just be me and live my life.
You can expect big changes in the blog, too. I’m looking forward to writing about living in another country, teaching English, moving abroad as a couple, culture shock, and Asia in general. The look and feel of the blog will get a little face lift too. Before that time, I plan on finally finishing my posts on Eastern Europe, writing about the TESOL and international job search/move process. and doing some photo highlights on the road trips and weekend getaways I’ve been lucky to experience in the past few years living in Northern California.
It feels good to get that out there. It is, after all, the first day of the rest of my life.
Good Luck and Happy Travels,