Sixteen Days

Sixteen days. Sixteen days between graduation and departing on my first adventure as a TEFL-certified teacher. Sixteen days to worry, to shed silent tears in stranger’s doorways fearing that at 27 years of age I will fail miserably in the face of the one career path that fills me with joy. Sixteen days to feel selfish in my concern about the next job when there are earthquakes and tsunamis and death happening elsewhere. Sixteen days to approach, with disheveled hair and genuine love, the stoops of dear friends housed in foreign countries and to explore, explore, explore, explode.

Sixteen days.

Sixteen days to dance under ceilings of lightbulbs, to watch independent film screenings and to stumble—filled with Guinness and laughter—through the streets of London.

L to R: AJ, Melanie, Um, Naomi

Sixteen days to gaze, with happiness and loneliness, upon the faces of old friends, upon the faces new friends…

L to R: Um, Tim, Aysh, Andy

…upon the faces of only-see-you-every-once-in-a-while friends.

Sixteen days to find nooks and snuggles that feel like home. Sixteen days to search out work, work, work, worry.

Sixteen days to come back to where the adventure started and to feel as though you are closing a chapter in a book that you’ve only just started writing.

Sixteen days to reflect:

I am ducking down lowlit alleyways, finding intense joy in turning a corner to find a wall perfectly spray painted with ironic images, sitting solo in the dampness of misty mornings with my notebook and pen, wandering aimlessly across cobblestone paths. I am  nervously thumbing the pages of phrase books wishing I knew how to ask directions and hoping the poor soul who has to decipher my broken words will greet me with a kind smile and not a scowl. I am experiencing the strange and frustrating feeling of people judging me based purely on my nationality and the extreme love of being lost in a sea of businesspeople dressed in crisp suits and cycling shoes. I am learning to accept the help I am offered and feeling like a burden at the same time. I am getting lost in my own predisposition to expect to much of myself in too little time, bumbling through hallways of modern art and falling in love with men gazing upon works by Mondrain and finding solace in Jack Kerouac.

Wednesday I embark on chapter two—32 days to do…well, I’ll keep you posted.


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