A La Mondain Trip to the Unknown

I’ve been passing time these last few weeks trying to complete as much of an inexpensive 160 hour TEFL course as I possibly can before I depart into the unknown. I’ve also been dipping into the recommended reading that appears to be an informational book on the overwhelming pervasiveness of world poverty. I won’t lie, it’s a bit daunting. There’s so much I don’t know about being a teacher, or a world traveler, or a social diplomat. Well, here goes nothing anyway. I’ve never been the sort of person who prepares much for anything. I’ve literally just skimmed most of the emails from WorldTeach that have landed in my inbox in the past few weeks. In the event that I actually remember any of the information beyond my flight departure time, I can’t imagine it will help me much on my arrival to Colombia. I’m more of a kinetic learner. Throw me in and let me hit the ground running. I know what to pack and I know when to show up at the airport. Up until about a week ago, I didn’t even know where I’d be living or what age group I should have been preparing to teach. My parents have loved introducing me to their friends these past couple weeks alongside the fact that I was leaving soon to teach abroad for a year. When their friends asked where and heard ‘Colombia’, their eyes got wide. When they asked what city and I told them I didn’t know, their jaws dropped. When they asked what grade I’d be teaching and I told them I had no idea, they looked at me like I was crazy. It was funny. It reminded me of cliff diving when I was little, when my friends would ask how deep the water was. “I don’t know, but it looks deep enough,” I’d say before jumping. I refuse to let fear dictate my actions. The unknown is where life lies. To die is to succumb to that which is typical; to stop searching for fear of the answers or lack thereof and bask instea in familiarity. It’s difficult to leave that which is familiar. Every instinct tells you it’s wrong, it’s dangerous because you don’t know what’s out there. It could result in failure. Well, screw it. No success in the history of mankind has ever developed without the foundation of a few failures. I have no idea what I’m really doing in Colombia. I’m going to teach, but that’s not why I’m going. I’m going to discover. I don’t know what. I don’t have even a vague shape of what I’m looking for, but I know that it’s foundational. It is something to build on and, in case you can’t tell, I’m putting this stuff together as I go along; stumbling along just waiting for the next concept to hit me. This was one. I wonder what the next one will look like. Perhaps the New Year will show me, or maybe a night in Miami. Perhaps it won’t really come until I get to Bogota. In case you don’t hear from me, I will be out of contact and beyond the extensive scope of the almighty internet the moment I enter orientation on January 2nd until I reach my placement sometime at the end of the month. Hopefully inspiration strikes before my arrival, but you never know. Until then, don’t forget to do something new. Anything you’ve never done before. Make it foundational, but don’t decide what it’s foundational for. Just live in it and really experience it.

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