In the days between leaving his first meditation course and beginning a vipassana retreat, I told my boyfriend of my intention to follow up on the possibility of securing employment in the UAE.
He reacted as I knew he would, that is to say, calmly and without jumping ahead into a future which had barely even begun to exist. He knows me well enough not to start planning; the TES jobs site is frequently my most visited. Even when I am happily employed I cannot help but look at what I think is the teachers equivalent to Instagram – all those jobs in inspirational destinations with aspirational perks.
Teaching in the UAE has always been in the back of my mind since I graduated however I had never really pursued it with any intent until now. It probably has something to do with me approaching thirty and feeling like I need to secure a post in which I have the opportunity to put away some savings.
Generally I am a good saver and good financially. I don’t take risks, I rarely purchase anything that I consider “excessive” and I budget meticulously. Being as self-critical as I am means though that I never feel I have done enough and the pressure I feel to have my own home is such that I carry a heavy weight of disappointment with me.
I cannot claim to be a victim in all this. In not having my own house I have travelled and worked abroad extensively and I have said it before on this site that I do not regret those choices. However it seems that going to the UAE kind of marries together the emigrant life that I enjoy with a realistic opportunity of settling and beginning to build a home and future for myself.
There are snags of course, as there are with any seemingly easy decision.
I am unmarried, for one. We’ve talked about it but, obviously, discussions (or arguments) haven’t generated any concrete plans. That’s an issue. I feel as if I can’t even write about it because my brain has thought through the varying scenarios – positive and negative – in such detail than when I even broach the subject now every thinking part of me goes into shut down. Not this again.
The distance doesn’t bother me, the potential culture shock, the change in climate, all of that doesn’t dissuade me whatsoever. These are the things that I enjoy about emigrating. Besides, I don’t think you ever experience culture shock to the same extent as you do the first time it hits you.
What bothers me is that it might be a mistake. Not necessarily moving to the UAE, moving anywhere again. In the last three years a number of things have happened which have resulted in me feeling let down or upset and I do wonder how much of that has contributed to me being here, at home.
Perhaps I feel a little scared of the outside world and of the very real possibilities of mistakes should I venture out there again. All of which is very normal, very human but as I said already, you would be doing well to find someone more self-critical than I.
Five years ago I know I would have jumped at the chance to go to the UAE. I am still excited by the prospect of it but it comes with feelings that have not been there before whenever I have contemplated moving away. I am a lot better off than I was then: I have a relationship which has changed the course of my life and a career which has opened up so much in terms of opportunities on that course. I am more fulfilled by but conversely more wary of, emigration and travel.
When my boyfriend gets out of vipassana I know I will have to have a conversation with him about this possible future plan and that doesn’t excite me simply because along with imagining a positive reaction, a fairy tale beginning, there is room for error, and unintentional hurt.
With all the “what ifs” banging around in my head I wish it were me in the silent retreats.
The next week promises to be an interesting one.