A Saskatchewan Roughrider, "Where I Been," and Happy New Year (it's a long-un')

If there's something special you want to do, now is the time. If you want to make a difference in the world, now is the time. Don't be fooled into thinking you should wait until you are older or wiser or more "secure," because it doesn't work that way. The wisdom will come. The security will come. But first you must begin your adventure. -Ron Atchison

I don't know anything about Canadian football, or the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but one of their defensive lineman in the 50's and 60's, Ron Atchison, is now on my radar for this quote.  Also, I'm imagining giant Sasquatches wearing football helmets (Not the same thing?).  According to my Google search, the man passed away this year, but not without leaving behind a good message and some inspirational words of wisdom.  

I've said several times that I wish I had embarked on an adventure like this when I was 22, straight out of college, before "real life" started.  And of course, at 28, there's the stigma that I should be "settling down," not taking off.  My plans must be true to form, though.  While varied and perhaps inconsistent, my path since graduating college has been off beat and interesting, anyway:  from special needs kiddos-> to law school plans-> to miserable, corrupt law office crushing law school plans-> to dogs, dogs, dogs and rescuing-> back to special needs kiddos plans-> and now to TEFL in Soko.  For the past 6 years, each experience has been an unexpected stepping stone.  It hasn't been cleanly mapped out and planned (ie, undergrad-> to grad school-> to career and profession), and aspects of it have been unconventional, but I've definitely followed Ron Atchinson's words "If there's something special you want to do, now is the time."  I feel lucky for that, and I'm happy to truck on in that direction.  What's next in life is a surprise.  Boom.

I'm officially halfway through my TEFL certification course with the TEFL Institute.  Taking this course was a debatable move.  I spoke and emailed with 30'ish different people who are living and teaching in or have lived and taught in Asia.  50% said waste of time, 50% said beneficial.  I decided it was the best option for me.  While the TEFL Institute doesn't place students in jobs, they are a lifelong resource and a guiding hand towards preparing for the application process, referring you to highly regarded and reputable programs, and can connect you with other students in the region.  Not to mention all of the training and resources I am gaining from their course with lesson plans, teaching methods, and networking with other current students.

BUT!  There are still decisions to make.  I don't know where to teach.  There are two options in SoKo:  private schools (Hagwons) and public schools (Ministry of Education).  There are pros and cons to both.  Hagwons provide higher salaries, less vacation time, fellow Western English speaking co-workers, and varied hours. And you get to choose where in SoKo you want to live and work. Public schools provide slightly less pay, more vacation time, Korean non-English speaking co-workers, and regular hours.  And you're placed in a position somewhere in SoKo ala "Surprise!  Here's your home for the next 12 months, love it or hate it."

On the one hand, it would be great to make a higher salary and really save up for some awesome traveling after my year long contract is up.  On the other hand, it would be pretty sa-weet to take some trips throughout the year.  On yet another hand, it will be nice to work with fellow Westerners that I can easily communicate with and quickly learn the ropes from.  On the fourth hand, would be pretty useful of the ol' Sociology major in me to fully assimilate myself; be confused, do everything wrong and be that "silly American girl who doesn't know anything," thereby learning and experiencing much more.

The whole idea behind this Korean scheme of mine is to travel and see the region.  Regardless of whether I explore surrounding countries during my year of teaching or afterward, that's not going to change: I'm checking out that side of Earth.  So, the decision is sort of boiling down to the living location.  There's going to be enough discomfort dragging my pack around for weeks on end during travels, so I'd like the ease of knowing my year ahead of that will be spent in a city that I'm comfortable and happy living in (read: south along the coast, far away from snowy, freezing mountains - I'm from Texas).  Did I just make a decision?  Standby for confirmation.

Happy New Year to all.  Whatever your passions and dreams, do what you can to make them happen.


Meg U. said...

Love that quote. My dad is one of the biggest roughriders fans around, having grown up in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, so we've heard Ron's wisdom before. :) I'm so proud of you for doing this, and am totally loving the blog! Keep it up katorade...

Anonymous said...

I'm right with you with all the questions....why did we wait till 28 to do something!!! Although, at least you know what you are doing about it.

kate said...

Megs, I totes thought of you when I found it. O Canada! And, for the record, you and your philosophy and our Peruvian experience are a lar-har-harge part of my inspiration, and I'm already counting down to our next adventure.

And Ally, we didn't wait til 28 (seuss!)...we just lived and learned for a few years first.

A Single Girl said...

Why do i show up at anonyomous?