Someone didn’t get the memo about treading softly on my dreams it seems. Not even twenty four hours have passed, and my positivity and excitement has been replaced by a sense of fatalism and hopelessness. I hope this will be temporary, but I feel a short pity-party is in order whilst I plan my next move.
So, the bad news is, I heard back from Learn4Life overnight – their communication is brilliant! They are full. It seems the teachers they have already have decided to stay, and new ones coming in October are also long stayers, and basically got in first. It was a very nice rejection. They would take me happily, I am well qualified, they wish they’d heard from me earlier, I will be kept on file as first reserve, but it’s still a ‘No, for now.’ They want to honour their arrangements with people that were made before. Bollocks. This is completely fair enough, but very frustrating. I hadn’t understood that there were no live vacancies, I’m sure it didn’t say that on the workaway website, but then again, maybe they not unreasonably wait to see what expressions of interest come in as you never know.
I’m trying to keep this in perspective. I am after all first reserve, and a lot could happen between now and then so it is still possible I’ll get there. I had a situation a few years ago. I went for an interview for a job I really wanted, but required relocation in the UK (from Leamington where I’d lived for a number of years) to Sheffield, a city I didn’t know at all. I thought the interview went really well, but I was told ‘thanks, but no thanks‘. It went to an internal candidate currently doing the role so again, fair enough. They said I was second choice blah de blah, but I just assumed a miss was as good as a mile and immediately mentally moved on. On that occasion, I therefore thanked them politely, and immediately went into overdrive deleting all memory of the position. I talked myself into believing I never wanted the job anyway, couldn’t face relocation blah de blah. Binned all the documentation (application form, maps, institutional background info). Knock back, move on, forget about it… Good strategy!
Except that 10 days later I got an email, extra funding was now available, would I come up and be interviewed again for a similar role blah de blah. Panic, I had to re-research the job, print out application form again blah de blah. I got it, I got the magically appearing unforeseen extra job. Three weeks later was in a new flat in new city and in a new job. I was unexpectedly reinvigorated, professionally and personally at just the moment I thought it was all lost. It was great. Lovely people, I’m still in the flat, interesting job. So it did all work out, I got ‘the’ job, just not through the expected route. So, I suppose I think that might still happen here. In another attempt at positivity, should a role come up unexpectedly, at least I know the current teachers are having a good time, and that the recruiters are fair to their staff. I have responded positively, wishing them a Happy Khmer New Year and asking them to contact me should anything crop up even if at short notice. I can’t do anything else but move on.
Coincidentally, on Radio 4 today (is there another radio station – oh hang yes, radio 4 Extra), there was an interview with the last man to walk on the moon. I can’t even remember his name, hang on – OK it was Gene Cernan – not a name that trips off the tongue. Here he is. Isn’t he splendid!
So, leaving aside the unfortunate wrecking ball association (Miley has much to answer for), he was great on the radio. He was looking back to his younger self and saying that when he was growing up his dream of flying/ being a pilot was ‘impossible’ enough let alone going to the moon! Yet, that’s what he did. He made the point that he got where he ended up through a great many zigs and zags and not a direct route at all. His trajectory could not be predicted. I think I’m confident I’m not now going to end up as an astronaut (maybe I just don’t want it enough), but maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to my end goal of working in Cambodia after all, just not through the most obvious or conventional of routes. Who knows, perhaps I’ll find the journey to get there just as full of unexpected wonders as my intended destination.
Looking on the bright side. At least I now know that I can get a job in Cambodia, and have a sense of recruitment time scales for the ‘good’ ones. I get to have a summer in the UK, so can do the Round Sheffield Run, and be present for a friend’s 50th Birthday do that I might otherwise miss. I also have time to brush up on my grammar, lose a bit of weight so I can cope better with the heat, and maybe even explore other options. Maybe this is a bubble bursting more along the lines of bursting bubble wrap. It could yet be a therapeutic process, and loads more bubbles are still all lined up waiting for me. That would be good!
Also, having something taken away, helps you notice how much you want it. I’m not relieved by the news, I’m disappointed.
However, one door closes, another opens. A quirk of fate meant that also overnight I got a ‘like’ on my old travel blog about my time in Vietnam ‘Quietly Terrified – Careering off into the unknown‘. It is an experienced TEFL worker, talking about moving to Siem Reap to take up a post in Cambodia, Lani V Cox, Life, the Universe and Lani . Whilst clearly she is massively experienced, and also was travelling with a partner, her descriptions of both people and place are insightful and seductive. Again, she was posting in 2013, so a little old, but three years isn’t so very long is it? I could go and find out for myself…
I am beginning to think some more, I wonder what would happen if I just went? I mean, TEFL is really a means to an end, my aim is to travel, but to do so safely, and with a purpose. But, if it is true that I have qualifications with sufficient currency I can probably pick up work in situ, maybe I should be a bit braver. It’s a risk of course. But it would give me flexibility, and I do have some savings to tide me over. The local salary offered was $300 with accommodation. That is a good salary I’m told, so I’m assuming I could manage OK if I wasn’t too extravagant with accommodation.
I wonder, what if…