It feels as if I’m standing on the edge of a cliff.
My toes are hanging over the side and it’s just like in the movies where small rocks break off and you watch them fall down, down, down, never seeing them hit the bottom. I feel a mix of emotions: fear, nervousness, excitement.
No, I’m not at the Grand Canyon, nor have a magically discovered some cliff in the middle of Normal, Illinois. It’s all a metaphor, you see, wherein the cliff represents life as I’ve known it the past 23 years. And just over the edge of the cliff? That’s the deep, dark abyss of adulthood.
Geesh, could you be any more dramatic?
Don’t try me, you snarky blog voice!
But why the theatrics, you ask? Why this ominous metaphor? Well, if you remember the cliffhanger (haha, get it?!) of the last post I left you with, I guess it just makes sense to start from there.
Finally arriving to my house from Spain was incredible; the feeling of familiarity and safety washed over me, and a hug from my mom and cats was all I needed to feel at home. However, that feeling didn’t last long. After a mere 17 hours, I was back on another flight, this time to New Jersey. You see, time was of the essence; my Skype interview in Brussels had gone well, and the principal wanted me to do a demo lesson. The problem was, she was going on vacation and wanted someone to recommend to the board ASAP. It was a huge risk. First, I didn’t have long to prepare an outstanding lesson, and second, it was going to be hella expensive to fly out on such short notice. But, considering I didn’t have any other job leads at the time, it was a risk I had to take.
So, before I knew it, I was in New Jersey and thanking my lucky stars I had such an incredible boyfriend who took care of my accommodations so I could focus on lesson prep. And in the blink of an eye, it was all over. I had taught my lesson on story structure. I walked out of the school feeling relieved (it was all over, it was out of my hands), but despite the lesson having gone well, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t good enough. Did it “wow” them? Was it rigorous enough? Had I interacted with the students enough? Were they even engaged? These questions ran through my head for the next hour.
And then the call came.
Yashas and I were at the train station and the connection was bad, so I had to run outside. My heart was pounding in my chest. Surely they couldn’t have made a decision this soon? They must be deliberating about other candidates but knew I was out. I held my breath.
“We’d like to offer you the job.”
The smile that spread across my face was immediate. I was in utter disbelief, and I’m pretty sure I asked her, “Really?!” She proceeded to give me some details, but I barely heard a word because I was so excited.
The rest of the weekend felt like floating on air. Yashas deemed it a weekend to celebrate and treated me to a night in a glitzy hotel (hello Ritz Carlton robes!). We had lots of fun exploring NYC and seeing Chloe and celebrating with delicious food.
Since then, we’ve apartment hunted online, Yashas apartment hunted in person, we agreed on a place, we signed a lease, I flew back out to New Jersey, filled out some paperwork, we got the keys to our place, bought a bed, and now I’m back in Normal trying to scrounge together all the things I need to bring for my big move.
So, back to my cliff metaphor. That cliff represents Normal, Illinois, the Midwest, my time with my family. It represents my childhood, growing up, my oldest and dearest friends. It’s life as I’ve known it. But that abyss into which I’m about to dive head first? It represents my new 5th grade teacher position with a fantastic co-teacher at Central Elementary School in East Hanover, NJ. It represents a gorgeous new apartment in Montclair with my new roommate, who also happens to be my boyfriend. Next week, I’ll be starting something brand new.
That abyss terrifies me and excites me all at the same time. I have no idea what my life will look like a week from now, a month from now… But I do know I’m lucky. I’m lucky to have my family and my friends supporting me. I’m lucky to have an incredible boyfriend to call home. I’m lucky to be doing what I love, which is teaching. I can’t wait to feel the rush of adrenaline as I finally step off that edge and plunge into this new life.
(PS: Here are some pictures of some things from this summer)