Home for the Summer: Revelations


Don’t get the wrong idea! I do love being home for the summer. Thing is, during these last few years in international teaching I seem to have fallen out of orbit with just about everyone I know back home, that is, except for my retired parents. Friends get married, buy houses, have kids, celebrate birthdays and holidays, adopt a pet or two, and pursue corporate careers. Time and distance away take a toll on any relationship.

To some extent, I sense that friends and siblings wonder if maybe I’ve adopted International Education as a way to postpone “getting serious” about life. Mortgages, car payments, outrageous insurance premiums, tight schedules, drudgingly boring routines and the stress everyone seems to be experiencing fit well into what I consider the “getting serious” category. So, to answer that postponement question, I would say avoidance wasn’t my main intention but is certainly one of the many perks of International Education. Yes, I am planning to make a career of this!

I also notice a bit of disconnect when we are together. I talk about adventures at Angkor Wat, Buddhist temples in Thailand, and things like scuba diving the tropical waters of Sri Lanka. After all, that’s been my life these past years. On the other hand, the trials and tribulations of climbing the corporate ladder, or tales of jumping through hoop after endless hoop to get a house refinanced is not of much interest to me. Still, I listen, just as they listen to me, because we do care about each other.

So where does this leave us? Bottom line: I have a history with those back home which runs deeper than the verbiage we use to relate our daily experiences. It’s our inner substance, that unspeakable something that brought us together in the first place that counts. That has not changed. And with that in mind, we’re continuing to make new memories on a tried-and-trusted foundation. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye again, I know.

ISR asks: Do YOU have experiences or revelations to Share about YOUR summer at home?

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4 thoughts on “Home for the Summer: Revelations

  1. Even if you weren’t an international teacher, the same thing would happen. Life is a trajectory. Everyone changes. Sometimes for the better.

    “The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself”- J. Conrad

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  2. People have different priorities, ambitions, ‘achievements’, experiences…that’s the wonderful thing about the world. What people do with their lives (or what opportunities their circumstances/society affords them to do) is up to them.

    Real friendships should be non judgemental, where people support each other and listen to each other. Friendships also have different purposes, depending on context and the time in your life.

    With close ones, sometimes it is difficult to comprehend what another person is doing, without the experience of it. But that doesn’t mean it has any less value. And friends shouldn’t make you feel that way.

    Sometimes there are disconnects – these can be fleeting or permanent. At the end of the day, I always ask myself, ‘Who will be there if something goes wrong and I need them?’ and that’s how I figure out who’s a real friend and worth keeping.

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  3. I’ll take SCUBA in Sri Lanka and ancient temples any day over corporate drudgery and mortgage payments. Don’t let “serious” people convince you your life has less value than theirs simply because you chose a more interesting path! It is definitely kind of a bummer to miss out on friends’ major milestones, but they’re missing out on even more.

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  4. The older you get, the fewer real friends you will have, but I find it better that way. At the end of the day, friends come and go, but nothing is more important than your family, so do try to keep your familial bonds strong and alive. If you are in international education for the long haul, you should look into buying property (either back in your own country to rent out, or if you want to permanently settle down in a particular country) as the older you get, the more secure your financial future will be. And you never know, marriage and kids–if they are meant to happen–don’t require you to go back home to your birth country.

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