I’m learning that in life that you really CAN have it all, but rarely can you have it all at once— you can have your cake, but you can’t always eat it. I currently feel as if I have a lot. I’m living in my favorite country in the whole world, traveling and seeing a lot. I’m living my dream. But, I don’t have
a lot of hardly any money. I also have a lot of climbing student loan debt, I need to replace my computer and a few pairs of jeans, and I still do not have my own car, which largely determines independence and prospective summer employment. But again, I am traveling a lot, and that’s what is important in my life at this time.
I have no where near the perfect body, although I am finally, finally, FINALLY starting to see my individual beauty in the mirror. I’m chunky and muscular, I’m a little too short for some to see past, you can’t run fingers through my hair, and sometimes even at 24 I still get acne. I also do not have a romantic relationship. But, man, I DO have a strong group of amazing girlfriends, and man, it feels good to be so incredibly independent, confident, and (somewhat) in control of my life choices. I also indulge in a few too many French sweets, but at least I enjoy food.
I’ve been seriously contemplating my next move. It is absolutely certain that I will not be working or living in the United States this coming fall… I just cannot see myself there. I cannot justify
investing wasting money on a car when I could be saving for a plane ticket for an expat life somewhere else. I want to teach, and I want to teach abroad, but the countries in which I want to teach (France, Western Europe), cannot grant me the opportunities I am looking for due to my lack of a French university degree as well as classroom experience stateside. I can’t have my cake and eat it too. I can move home and have a teaching job I like, as well as a decent starting salary in addition to a chance to save some money, while also building that experience that international schools are looking for, but I know I’m just not ready to do that yet (maybe in a few years.) I could also move to a country where I have no interest in living for long-term and teach, but, if I have no interest in being there long-term, why would I? (For example, I’ve been thinking long and hard about applying for a very well-paid teaching program in South Korea. But, in all honesty, I have no desire or interest in South Korea.) Again, I can’t have my cake and eat it too. I can have my teaching job and expat life, but I may not like the location or be interested in the culture. I’ve also been thinking about an opportunity to live and work in Australia, a part of the world that has intrigued me for some time now. However, the job opportunities for someone on a working holiday visa includes the jobs you hope to give up once you’re in your career. For me, I’ve waitressed for eight years and have no desire to ever do that again, at least for a while. But that is the kind of thing I would (probably) have to do in Australia. I can be in an awesome location for up to a year, save some money, maybe start paying off some student loans, and hopefully backpack Southeast Asia afterwards, but also have to work in industries that do not at all interest me (and no I am not a spoiled brat who thinks she’s too good for some fields of work.) I can’t have my cake and eat it too.
My ideal plan for the next few years of my twenties would be to keep living and working abroad, and specifically in France if I can help it. I would love to either obtain a lectrice position in France for next year, or live and work somewhere else next year and then come back to France for a second round of TAPIF in September 2015, because why not. I guess we will see what happens. It’s sometimes hard to put life into perspective at 24, because every decision still feels like an ultimatum, in a way. I also realize that working crappy jobs is apart of a twenty-something right-of-passage, but I also know that traveling and living abroad is more important to me than investing in my stateside teaching career and retirement fund right now. Maybe one day I’ll get to have my cake and eat it too.
Yours “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time,”