08 June 2013

Paints, Changes





I've felt a lot that I brought all the wrong things with me to Moscow. I brought work clothes, winter clothes, heavy gloves and boats, and some towels for the bathroom. But what I left were the things that make me me: I left almost all of my wardrobe (the cool one, not the practical one), my watercolor set, my kindle (this was just a stupid decision I can't really explain), things that connect me to myself. However, I've slowly been rebuilding them into my life which has been a strangely therapeutic process. Every time I purchase a new dress that speaks to who I am (and not what I do in terms of work), I feel like I'm discovering my self all over again. 

Well, Ben and I went on a date the other day and we saw that across the way there was an arts and crafts store. I was so excited to peek around, I slammed my mojito and dragged Ben through the glories of clay, mod podge, and scrap booking supplies until I found a St. Petersburg watercolor set. Ben was so sweet and supportive and encouraged me to buy all the brushes I needed and I went home feeling quite accomplished. 

It's been such a wonderful thing to sit in my sun-covered room, listening to music while Ben reads his MCAT book, painting small pictures on the edge of our bed. For a long time I've joked about painting a children's book about robots, but recently a story has come into my head and I think it's time to tell it through this medium. We'll see how it goes, but it's nice to have a space to be creative again. 

In other news... Ben and I were offered a second contract with the current school we are teaching at. The contract offers more money, but it's not as much as we'd like to be making. We started talking about taking this opportunity to travel somewhere else, which at first seemed incredibly daunting. But we put up our resumes on a couple of different websites and were flooded were job listings and interview offers from all over the world--especially in Southeast Asia where we would really like to work. We pushed our way through our clogged inboxes and replied to the jobs we felt would both be an improvement to our current financial situation as well as somewhere we would live to travel to and experience life within. 

One job that has been put on the table that we're excited about is teaching at a Montessori school in China. It was a long shot when I applied for it (you needed a Montessori teaching certificate, but the pay was so good I promised I would get one online if they would just give me the job) so I was incredibly surprised when I got a phone call the other morning from a British man who wanted to talk to me more about it. He said that there was a program Ben and I could get into where we would make more than what we'd be making with our second contract and at the end we'd be fully certified to teach at Montessori schools. He also told me that Montessori schools are in high demand all over the world (including America) and that if this was something we wanted to do for awhile, taking these jobs we be a good career move. 

So Ben and I talked it over and we decided to apply. It's a little frightening to be applying to go live in China, especially since I feel like I just got settled here in Russia, but when something good comes along, I think you just need to go for it (YOLO, right?). It's still a bit of a long shot--we decided we should finish our contract here (which ends in October) and the job offers were for the end of July, so hopefully they can find us something. If not, we'll stick it out for another nine months in Russia and then reevaluate. Either way, I feel like there are the buds of good things all around us and I'm excited about the future. 

11 comments:

  1. What an exciting time for you! China would be such a fascinating experience. Closer to Australia, too. You could come over here for a holiday!

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    1. And we would! Australia is on my must-see list. Oh, that'd be so fun!

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  2. This is so exciting! I went to a Montessori school from ages 2-6 and adored it.

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    1. That's so good to hear! A lot of my friends from college had gone to Montessori schools and spoke very highly of it. From what I've read, it seems like an incredibly interesting approach.

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  3. Wow, how exciting! And enjoy your painting :) It's been ages since I did anything creative - I bought a new set of coloured pencils a while back but have yet to use them...

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    1. My advice would be just to put on a good record, spend some time alone, and get to drawing. It's so relaxing, you just need to get started!

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  4. Lisa, I've been following your blog for some time and enjoy your posts very much. I appreciate how candid you are about your experience in Moscow.
    I have been discussing the whole teaching english/living abroad thing with my cousin recently. I am wondering if you know anything about the educational requirements for SE Asia? I'd be interested in what website you used to list your resume as well if you felt that was okay to share. I do not have a Bachelor's degree so I am thinking my chances are fairly slim. Thanks in advance, and I'm looking forward to your next blog post!
    -Aubrey

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    1. Hi Audrey! I'm glad you enjoy my blog. Every company has different requirements, but I would say most of them would LIKE you to have a bachelor's degree in either teaching or English, or a TEFL certificate (which you can get online). Ben and I used a website called seriousteachers.com and have found a lot of really great listings.

      Some countries are easier to get into than others. The company I work for prefers college degrees, but it is not a requirement. If this is something you really want to do, I highly recommend getting TEFL certified. Hope that helps!

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  5. hey Lisa! somehow I found your blog in the spring and started following along because I loved your perspective on Moscow. I'm a college student here for the summer from the states and so far, I have loved it here. I would love any recommendations for places to visit, if you have any! And thank you for sharing so openly about the joys and struggles of this country. It is truly beautiful.

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    1. Hey there! Definitely go to the parks-they're so beautiful and there's such great energy in them. Moscow is a really expensive city (as I'm sure you have realized), so finding free things to do is always good!

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    2. Thanks, that's what I have experienced! I went to VNDX (the exhibition park) yesterday and it was so bizarre yet awesome- try it if you haven't already! (roller coasters/ferris wheel about 250 r and so worth it!)

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