While the decision to go abroad (in my case, to Abu Dhabi as an Elementary Principal), to move 7520 miles away from family, to walk away from the known into the unknown, to shed the familiar, to embark on an adventure, and to embrace and acclimate to another culture is exciting, it can also be a test of independence and perseverance. My personal journey will differ from others in that I am not traveling with my husband or children, which demands a great deal of persistence.
Many make the move with family in tow. They bring their circle of support with them.
Some make the move and life-changing transition without the ties of spouse or children. They are flying solo with support of other ex pats in the same position.
In my case, my youngest is a high school senior and my spouse is working on a degree in Music Administration. Both whole-heartedly endorse this, our family “adventure”, which serves to inspire them to reach their academic goals and inspires me to hold fast to a life-long dream. Their support, however, does not reduce my personal anxiety about leaving or diminish the second-guessing.
The hardest thing is the waiting. I applied for this amazing experience in February . . . interviewed in Chicago in March . . . and waited to hear from the recruiters. There was some back and forth about one position in April and then more waiting. That position was filled but the potential for another placement was possible. More waiting. Authenticated my teaching / principal license and highest diploma at the state and national levels at the beginning of June, sent them in and waited. After a few more weeks of waiting, with on-going communications from recruiters, I received a call indicating that my name was being moved forward for security clearance. A few days later, I received an offer letter and given 24 hours to decline or print, sign, scan and e-mail acceptance. One week later, I submitted a travel form, indicating my passport information and lodging needs (single).
This week, I attended a Pre-Departure seminar. And, now, I wait for my work Visa to be cleared. Once this is done, I will receive my travel date and departure information.
The “waiting” is a solitary torture. No one else can experience the insomnia or gauge the anxiety that ebbs and flows.
Even so, I know that my family (spouse, children, siblings, cousins) and friends (you know who you are) are going on this journey with me, if only in spirit and via blog. Some are planning to visit!! And, although I possess an independent spirit and have a great deal of perseverance, I couldn’t do this without you. I’ll keep you posted!