i am a nomad, a wanderer

Ever since I arrived in Whitehorse, I haven’t felt like myself. Maybe it was the emotional journey I have been on that hasn’t allowed me to be myself fully, but I have known since the moment I got here that I don’t belong here. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed my time here. I have met a few lovely people, though few friends I have, they are quality, I can tell you that much. I have been lucky to be living with two of the loveliest people, who have made this place a home to me. But in the grand scheme of things, I hate the cold. Who am I kidding? I tried it, I lasted longer than even I thought I would. But cold and snow just take me so far out of my element that I just know this is not the place for me.

When I set out to come here, it was to runaway from the pain and the misery I was dealing with at home, and run to a place where I can teach and learn to be alone again. I did not set any expectations of how long I would live here, or what my life would be like here. I came here a blank slate and free to do with it as I choose. And I have stuck by that. I made a few friends, mostly through my roommate and my friend Bryn who was already living here. I tried to make other friendships that just didn’t quite work out. I spent many hours by myself in my room with Netflix and in the past two months I have learned to knit. And I mean really knit. I am not talking scarves, I am talking words in my scarfs, patterns on hats… I have even impressed myself. And that makes me happy. Accomplishments make me happy. I set out to learn to knit and I exceeded my own expectations of what I would be able to do. It may seem trivial to some, but to me, it meant something.

My blog name on a scarf because I can

Made a deer head hat for Bryn

Child sized snowflake hat meant to be adult sized

My first adult sized hat

Hat I sent to the lovely Sarah in NY

My time here has not been negatively looked upon. It has been quite amazing to be able to teach in a few different schools, making friendships with other teachers and relationships with the students. The past few days were spent in the Catholic elementary school here where I had students excited to see me as their music teacher, and who complimented me on my hair, glasses and dress, so much so that I could barely get them to settle down to get the lesson started. I had one of the teachers tell me that she wished I could cover her classes, and that she would take more time off when she felt ill if she knew I was the one covering for her. That honestly made me feel wonderful. Especially after hearing many teachers complain about some substitute teachers around here. To know I am one of the good ones, it makes me proud. And I had the chance to teach high school here, which has been amazing. Even when I am not in the English classes, I just enjoy being at the high school. The students are wonderful. The other teachers are great. And I feel a level of respect I cannot describe.

But alas, my time here is coming to an end. I have spent the last few months applying overseas to jobs in many cities, countries, continents. I had my top choices, which I knew were unlikely to be obtained. But I sent my resume out anyways. After buddha knows how many applications sent out, I finally caught a break about a month ago and was offered an interview for a high school position at an international school in Vietnam. After my initial interview, on Skype, I was asked to have a second interview with the Director of the school about 3 weeks ago. I felt very confident after the interview, but then again I always do. I am confident in my abilities to teach, and I like to think I am personable and come across well in interviews. While I was waiting to hear back from them, they said it would be a few weeks, I kept applying. As lovely as it would be to teach in Vietnam, my initial dream has been to teach in every continent, and I have already done Asia, teaching in Thailand. And Vietnam is similar. But because of that, I also know I would probably love it. So my application process still followed along, and truthfully only ended today.

About a week and a half ago, my friend Ardie and I were texting and he told me to look up the Marshall Islands. I already knew where it was, but hadn’t really looked into the possibility of teaching there. So I googled to find out if they had an international school. Lo and behold, they do. So I looked over their website, did a bit more research about Majuro, Marshall Islands, where the school is located. And I fell in love. It’s not perfect, but the imperfections make it the experience I think I need right now. The island is part of a group of islands (or atolls) that make up the Marshall Islands. I suggest googling it to find out more, as it is rather fascinating. It has only been an independent country since 1986, same amount of time I have been alive. Pretty interesting. Anyways, I decided to apply and see what happens. Within a few hours I received a response with more information about the school and living there, letting me know to read it over and respond if still interested. And after reading through it all, doing a little more research and a bit of thought, I decided to respond. By the end of the day we had an interview scheduled for later in the week. My initial interview wasn’t as long as my Vietnam ones, but felt more through and I felt more relaxed. It was a great conversation and informative and I felt like I really clicked with the principal. She was friendly and seemed like she would be a great person to work for. Luckily for me, by the end of the interview she already scheduled another one for this week with her and two other staff, a panel interview. She then sent me over a bunch of links of curriculums and programs they were looking into for the new school year, to read over for my interview. I spent some time each day on the weekend going through it all and making notes. Tuesday night after work I came home, and went straight to my computer for the interview. The interview was great. Once again I felt like I really clicked with the other staff, they were funny and informative and just all around great people. I was confident the job was mine.

Today, I received an email congratulating me and offering a position at the school! I was in disbelief. I read over the entire email a few times before it really sunk in. I am moving to the Marshall Islands. To an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I am going to live in Oceania. Is this real life? So what does this mean? This means that I have been offered a two year contract to teach in Majuro, Marshall Islands, starting this August. This means I will be leaving Whitehorse, Yukon, probably around June 1. I will be teaching my own class, which grade has yet to be determined, either 3 or 5, hoping for 5, but I will take either one. I am moving to this beautiful island….

Majuro, Marshall Islands
This is where it is located
Cluster of Islands that make up Marshall Islands

So my tentative plans for the next few months until I have to go are…

Spend March working, except for March break, where I will hit up Dawson, YT for a few days, relax a bit and then my parents visit. Then spend April working, and since I have to be out of my house by the end of April, I need to find a place to live here for May. I plan to stay in Whitehorse til the end of May, as I may as well keep teaching since I am working every day lately and making money is a good idea. That being said, I will probably start my drive home around May 31/June 1. My plan for my drive home is to really get the most out of it and enjoy it. My drive here was amazing, do not get my wrong, but I want to really see Canada and experience what my country has to offer before I leave it for at least 2 years (probably more). So I will make my way down British Columbia, spend a few days wandering around Vancouver/Victoria and anywhere else I may have friends I can drop in on. Then head east to Banff and spend a few days taking it all in. The few hours I spent in Banff were just not enough on my way here. Then I will make my way across the Prairies, stop in to visit my aunt and uncle in Sultan, Ontario. And then I will hit Toronto, where I will unload my car, sleep, and keep driving. My plan is to continue my cross Canada tour and drive to Halifax to see my lovely friend Jenna and see the east coast for the first time. I will spend a few days around there and start my journey home again.

After this, I will spend a month or so soaking up all the time with my family (mainly my nieces and my grandma, sorry every one else) and my friends. Hopefully hit up a music festival, eat at all my favourite restaurants and maybe have a big welcome home/bon voyage/happy early birthday party somewhere at some point to get all the people I miss and will miss under one roof. And then tentative plans are to fly out to Australia for a few weeks to visit some awesome people and see some friends I have kept in touch with since I lived out there way back in 2009. If timing works out with my lovely Aussies, if not, I know where I am spending Christmas! And then I will fly to Majuro to settle into my new ‘home’ and new job.

So that’s it, ladies and gentlemen. After a winter spent in northern Canada, which has actually been warmer this past week or so, and many other days as well, than my hometown in Ontario, I might add, it is time to bid farewell and move on to warmer climates and new adventures. Did I mention Bora Bora and Fiji are close to the Marshall Islands? Who’s coming to visit?

This smile on my face right now is never leaving. I am still in disbelief. I am going to be living on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean… I mean after the last year I just had, I deserve this. MY LIFE IS AWESOME! And yes I will brag because I am so happy, excited, tickled pink if you will. Nothing will break this emotional high right now. Okay I am done. That is my news.

2 thoughts on “i am a nomad, a wanderer

  1. Sara, this made me tear up a little because I am SO FREAKING HAPPY FOR YOU!! You are awesome at life, haha. I am seriously envious of everything that you've accomplished in the past year and your travel plans for the future, they sound UNREAL!!! Clearly not getting a job on the TDSB was for a reason and that's because you're a traveller my dear. You belong elsewhere, and that is amazing!! I am so so stoked for your next adventure…I hope to drive across Canada one day too and you seem to make everything look so easy. All the things I think “I could never do that” well…you're doing it…and well!

    You, me & Megs will have to get some solid time in before you leave, like old school sleepovers!

    SO HAPPY FOR YOOOOOOOU (I could have written this whole post in CAPS lock but I decided against it because it would be obnoxious – BUT that's how happy I am for you miss!)


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