Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I'm Thankful for Clarity of Mind

Is it really Thanksgiving already?

It's been two months since I wrote last - a very long, crazy, exciting two months. I guess keeping up with this with everything else on my plate has been a lot harder than I thought (obviously). Maybe that's why I can't really be a "writer" - I always seem to find other things to do instead, i.e. writing my thesis, sleeping, watching Korean dramas, etc.

It's hard to know where to start in all the insanity of this Fall, but I felt compelled to finally write based on a heavy weight that was just lifted off my chest with an e-mail containing less than two paragraphs.

As one could tell from some of my previous posts, after my August trip to Atlanta, my itch to return home or at least move to a city had become a fully fledged emotional rash. Everything in those first weeks back in Washington revolved around my return to Atlanta in December.

But as I became comfortable in my new position as a part-time director of Saint Martin's ESL program, made new friends in both Lacey, Olympia and Seattle, and also had some great West Coast adventures with a few of my best friends on this side of the country - my sureness of moving home being the right decision wavered.

Doubts arose. Could I leave a job I had luckily been given and that, at the age of 26 and with little experience, it might be difficult for me to find or qualify for in a big, competitive city? If I move to Atlanta, what will happen to my passions for rock climbing and skiing - considering these pursuits are more challenging to continue in the South? What will happen to my relationships here in the PNW, my friends on the West Coast - as dramatic as it sounds, how will I get to see them again? What if I'm leaving Washington for the wrong reasons?

Some of these are a bit irrational. Of course moving to be near my family is a great reason. And clearly, I will always find a way to travel and visit my close friends, especially when I remember that they have been spread out all over the world my entire life...

But the job thing. Boy, that one was a doozy.

This is the first time in my life when I have stopped to consider that I might not make it. I may not get a job. The economy is bad. I'm inexperienced and young. Blah blah blah. Normally, my thoughts are more along the lines of - "Whatever happens, I'll make it work!" In fact, one of the greatest compliments I've received (from my good friend Chris) was that in fact, I always do make it work. Nonetheless, these thoughts have been right there below the surface in the last few months.

It's not all bad though. The other reason I've reconsidered moving is that I happen to love Saint Martin's and the people I work with. In fact, I don't know that I've ever so quickly and easily enjoyed the company of my coworkers in any serious job before. I also am excited at the prospect of pursuing program development and administration, particularly in terms of ELL and ESL education at the high school and university level - and this job has been a great initiator for helping me discover that interest.

Back and forth, back and forth. I kept questioning what I should do. And then, a major bomb was dropped on my plans to move home in December.

Sometime in October, around the time I was hoping to receive approval to being conducting the interviews for my thesis, I found out that the school district in which I am going to do my research only reviews proposals three times a year - and the next date was mid December. The same date I planned on leaving Washington. The news, at first, sent me into an emotional frenzy in which I found myself in my mentor's office, crying and babbling about the pros and cons of this new development until I calmed down (she's great for that).

Once I stopped behaving so typically like myself (emotional), I realized that this was the sign I had asked for...

I didn't want to make the decision about whether to ask my bosses at Saint Martin's to consider me for the full-time position as ESL director. I didn't know how to decide, to choose. This development had pretty much helped me realize that, if I was going to have to be here a couple of months longer for research, I might as well give myself the option of staying even longer for a job I loved. Though my immediate reaction did cause some inner concern, I decided I needed to woman up and see what would happen.

I waited until this week to talk to my boss. A strategic maneuver, since last week was the culmination of about two months of serious, nonstop work putting together one of Saint Martin's biggest Fall events, Taste of Culture, of which I was the coordinator. Not only have I done an admirable job (with NO training) directing the ESL program, I also managed - leading an awesome team - to pull off what a lot of people on campus said was the best Taste of Culture yet. I figured, having this behind me, I was more likely to be considered for the full time position.

Still, in the last few weeks, even knowing the job would truly be a great opportunity, I was hesitant. I miss my family. I miss my sister. I miss city life. I also miss the sun - I literally can't remember when the rain began again in Washington, but it has been torrential and unwavering. I still feel in many ways I need to leave Washington for a fresh start in important areas of my life, namely the potential for romantic relationships and the rebuilding of my friendship with Esteban, but the job could be the game changer.

Some days, these thoughts seemed to take precedence over the job thing. Some days, the job was all I cared about. But I had the conversation with my boss anyways.

And today, in less than two paragraphs, he lifted away all my doubts and confusion and helped me see what I want.

They will not make the director position full-time, it will remain a part-time position, whether I want it or they hire someone else. I hadn't even considered that they wouldn't reinstate the director's position as full-time for a non-interim director. They would love me to stay, but as I have told them I will not if it is part-time, then they will advertise to fill the part-time job.


All I feel is relief. Heavenly relief. Clarity of mind. I know, for the first time in months, exactly what I want.

I love this job, but I will just have to figure out a way to work my way up to something similar - or find a new path - starting in Atlanta and ending who knows where (Malibu anyone? South Korea maybe? Back to my first love, Espana?)

So now, I have something huge to be thankful for on Thanksgiving - a long with all the other blessings in my life. Hurrah!