This summer was good for me. It gave me the chance (perhaps a chance I didn’t even know I needed) to slow down, reevaluate, and enjoy.
When I catch up with friends and family, the almost inevitably ask me two questions:
“How much longer do you have in Guatemala, then?”
“What happens when you’re done there?”
Sometimes I wonder if they’re working as secret spies for my mom, checking to see if I’ll tell them my hidden plans to never come home, travelling the world forever and ever. Of course, that’s not true. I tell the people who ask the exact same thing that I tell my mom: “I don’t know.”
I thought, originally, that Guatemala would be my last international teaching job. But, I love it. A lot. And that leads me to believe I would love another international location just as much. So I’m leaving the possibility of one more international post open, and I’m keeping an open mind to returning to the States but not to my state, and yet it’s also quite possible that I will stick to the original plan and come home when my time in Guatemala is complete.
I confess, though, that when I came home at the beginning of this summer, I was so enamored with my life in Central America that I was scared—actually afraid—that when I eventually returned to Wisconsin for good, I would feel confined and bored. Living in a place with no mountains to climb, no oceans to visit, a place where winter lasts for too many months and teaching means stress and standardized tests and tight budgets…why would I want to do that?
This summer, I was reminded that, despite “all that,” my hometown is a very nice place to live. Maybe it’s not a top tourist destination. But there are people there who make life worth living, and that’s really, really important. And there may not be towering mountains or crashing oceans, but forested bluffs and clear blue lakes will do just fine.
The trip across country, too, helped me appreciate where I came from. I saw some beautiful sights and stopped in some comfortable towns in Utah and Colorado. There are mountains to climb there, and canyons to explore. But Wisconsin in the summertime is overwhelmingly green, and those bare snow-topped mountains simply aren’t home.
I still can’t give a straight answer about what will happen after the next two school years are complete. But I’m a lot less scared about making the decision. It’s kind of hard to go wrong, whatever I choose.
|Hiking Perrot State Park with friends from out of town|
|DCI show at my university's stadium in July|