Posts Tagged With: tefl

Return to Slovakia and the Hills of Nitra

Bratislava Castle from under the UFO Bridge

Bratislava Castle from under the UFO Tower of the New Bridge

After some time at home, it feels great to be back in Slovakia with my expectations even higher and my backpack even lighter than before. My flights from Buffalo to Budapest all went off without a hitch (something unheard of for about the last five years of my life). And although I’ve already passed through it before, I finally got my first view of Budapest’s stunning cityscape before moving on.

Art in the bus station under the New Bridge

Art in the bus station under the New Bridge

From Budapest, I headed to Kosice, Slovakia – one of 2013’s Cultural Capitals of Europe, for those who haven’t heard – to check in with HQ, and then onto my beloved Bratislava for the weekend. Since I’d already been to Bratislava a couple times before, I checked out some places outside of my usually old town rounds.  Chris and I took a bus up to Slavín, which is a looming war memorial honoring Soviet troops who died liberating Bratislava from the Germans during WWII.  The memorial itself was worth seeing, but the view of the city below and the residential neighborhoods we passed through on the ride up were even more interesting. Huge and strangely modern private residences are mixed amongst ambassadors homes and embassies. The American ambassador’s home is actually quite close to the memorial and in a moment of need, we briefly thought about asking to use the bathroom. That’s within our rights as American citizens, right?

A child plays beneath the Slavin memorial

A child plays beneath the Slavin memorial

After returning from Slavín, Chris and I, and our new co-worker Ryan, hit up brewpub and restaurant Meštiansky Pivovar as per a local’s suggestion. The place lived up to its hype with a warm atmosphere, good beer, absolutely scrumptious, reasonably priced food, and exceptionally friendly service, which is something that can be hard to find in Slovakia.

Overlooking Bratislava from Slavin

Overlooking Bratislava from Slavin

The next day we headed to Nitra, where we would be teaching for the week.  Although it is the fifth largest city in Slovakia, I didn’t know much about it beyond its emboldened name on the west side of Slovakia’s map.  It turns out Nitra is one the oldest cities in Slovakia.  Sprawling down and around Zobor mountain, Nitra has anything you could possibly want as far as modern conveniences, from malls to cinemas to bowling alleys, in addition to a church older than the United States around just about every corner. This is quite logical seeing as the first Christian church in the Czech and Slovak Republics was founded here in the 9th century.

Nitra and Calvary Hill from Nitra's "Castle"

Nitra and Calvary Hill from Nitra’s “Castle”

While the town proved to be a very pleasant place to spend a week teaching (and this, of course, is largely due to the students and teachers at the school) it might only be worth a day-long stopover for backpackers or tourists. Beyond the churches and the city’s castle which is basically, surprise, surprise, a church, the two biggest attractions are Nitra’s hills: Calvary and Zobor.

My fellow teachers on top of Calvary Hill

My fellow teachers on top of Calvary Hill

Calvary immediately grabs your eye, easing gently upwards through the stations of the cross on one side with a jutting, rocky face on the other.  A small chapel and three crosses sit atop the hill, making for dramatic silhouettes with the right lighting. It takes only a few minutes to walk up after you reach the base, but provides an excellent view of the city.  The best views, however, are taken in from the city’s other hill.  The center of Nitra lies in the shadow of Zobor mountain, or perhaps more accurately, Zobor hill, while some of its nicer residential areas creep up the side.  If you take bus number nine from the center you will be taken about halfway up the hill to where a network of trails begins.  Take the blue and then the green to Zobor, to reach the summit of 588 meters.  From here you will get a close-up look at the mountain’s transmitter, which looks like it could be something more exotic from a further distance.  You’ll also see the whole of the city, the course of the Nitra River, expanses of farmland and a nearby mine.  I’ve been told, on a clear day, it is possible to see 40 km or more, but we were just fortunate enough to get some golden haze through the previously overcast afternoon. The views were fantastic none the less. While you can hike to the summit of Zobor and back to the bus stop in about an hour and a half, a network of trails on the hill could easily keep you busy for an afternoon or longer.  Continue reading

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View from Zobor – Nitra, Slovakia

View from Zobor - Nitra, Slovakia

The weather broke just in time for a view from Nitra’s highest point. It’s good to be back. More to come soon.

Categories: hiking, photography, TEFL, tourism, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fun and Easy TEFL Activities Your Students Will Love

Future progressive, the second conditional, phrasal verbs.  You have to sit your class down and teach these things at some point.  But sometimes kids just need a break from formally learning English so they can have fun actually using English. Games keep classes excited about what they are learning, and can trick students into speaking before they realize that they really can.  Based on a semester of trial-and-error with games in a different school each week – here are four fan favorites from my students of all ages and abilities.  Each game can be used to enforce new vocabulary or concepts taught in previous classes, and I guarantee you will be able to use them as good-behavior bribes once students try them. Most importantly, they require little before-class preparation and only basic classroom materials (and a deck of cards). So play away! I wish I’d had this list my first day.

Some of my Slovak students at the zoo. But because we can't take field trips everyday...

Some of my Slovak students at the zoo. But because we can’t take field trips everyday…

Fruit Salad

This game requires some physical activity and usually energizes even the most subdued students. You’ve been warned. To begin, create a large space in the middle of the room. If necessary, have students push desks or tables against the walls.  Then have all of the students bring their chairs and form a circle in the open space. You will not need a chair for yourself because there should always be one less chair than there are participants. Have each student sit in his or her seat while you take your place standing in the middle of the circle. Start a sentence with “Stand up if you’re wearing…” and finish it with something that applies to several of the students, such as blue jeans or the color orange.  Any students who fit your description must stand up and take (read: run to) a new seat, but never one that is directly on either side of them. The person in the center of the circle (in this case, you) must also hurry to find a seat.  The last person standing takes over the position in the center of the circle and makes a statement of their own.

While this game sounds very simple, students go absolutely crazy for it. There is competition and movement, so it keeps everyone engaged.  It is a great way to review vocabulary and it doesn’t need to be limited to just clothes.  You can also have students use “Stand up if you have…” or “Stand up if you like…” The possibilities are endless.

Crazy Cards

You can squeeze a lot of entertainment out of a little deck of cards with this game. Start by arranging the students in a circle. Stand in the middle of the circle with the deck of cards. Pick two students to begin with, approach them and flip over the top card so they can both see. The students must come up with a word that begins with the same letter as the first letter of the card. For example, if the card is a five, five begins with f. Therefore, the first student to say a word that begins with an f, such as father, gets to keep the card and move on. He or she will then face the next student in the circle. The student will continue to move around the circle and collect cards until another student defeats them. Then, the winning student will move on and the defeated student will stay in the same spot in the circle until the teacher and the deck cards come back around. It should be noted that once a word is said, a student should write it on the board and it may not be used again during the rest of the game. Also no numbers, proper names or the name of the card may be used. For example 30 is not allowed for three and queen does not count for the queen card.  The student with the most cards when the teacher runs out is the winner. I prefer to make it dramatic and have students with less than two cards sit down, then less than five, etc. until only the  final student is standing.

If the students prefer team games, divide the class into two groups. Write each teams’ name on the board and number from one to 30, or whatever your desired number may be beneath it. Have both teams form their own line so that one member from each will approach you at a time in order to face off for a card. Whichever student wins a particular card goes to the board and writes their word next to a number rather than keeping the card. Whichever team gets to 30 first wins the game. Playing this way will keep weaker students who may not normally win any cards involved. Continue reading

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Looking back – the best of 2012

I started 2012 (and also Incurably Stir Crazy, which is nearing its one-year anniversary) with a mission. I wanted to spend this year seeing new places, chasing new experiences and packing as much life into 366 days as possible. Looking back on the year, I’d say things went pretty much according to plan. I hope it is just one of many adventure-filled years to come.  Below is a list of some of the  highlights, as a way to remember, and to be honest, a chance to share some of the stuff I’ve slacked on posting. But that’s what new year’s resolutions are for, right?

1. Skiing the Swiss Alps

Ok, so Christmas 2011 doesn’t exactly fall into 2012, but its close enough.  Plus pictures from this trip have not been documented besides in my header photo.  Although I’ve been skiing since I was five, this was my first opportunity to take on anything bigger than the mountains of Vermont.  While a week prior to the trip we were planning on changing it from a skiing vacation to a hiking vacation thanks to lack of snow, mother nature took care of us just fine. Davos, Switzerland got pounded with snow to the point of avalanche warnings and my siblings and I got our first taste of real powder skiing. This week of family bonding and fantastic skiing won’t soon be forgotten, but hopefully soon repeated.

The first day of skiing - perfect conditions.

The first day of skiing – perfect conditions.

Not every day was so ideal however, with avalanche and wind warnings cutting one of our days short. But we still felt very intense being the last skiers left on the mountain.

However, not every day was so ideal with avalanche and wind warnings cutting one of our days short. But we still felt very intense being the last skiers left on the mountain.




On the slopes

On the slopes

Valley in Davos

Valley in Davos

View from halfway up Jakobshorn, Davos

View from halfway up Jakobshorn, Davos

2. Exploring my own backyard

My final semester of college made any substantial amount of traveling difficult, but it did give me an opportunity to visit some local places that I had always meant to get to before.  This included several trips to nearby Allegheny National Forest in winter, spring and summer, and my first visit to Griffis Sculpture Park, which I’ve been driving past my whole life.  Not being able to go elsewhere made me appreciate how much there is still to see within day-tripping distance of my own home.   I’ve got several new local destinations slated for the new year already.

My hiking boots are laced and ready on one of my several trips to Allegheny National Forest.

My hiking boots are laced and ready on one of my several trips to Allegheny National Forest.

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Salaš Krajinka – An Education in Cheese and Hospitality

View of the hills surrounding Ružomberok

View of the hills surrounding Ružomberok

It’s not difficult to find a place to rustle up a plate of bryndzové halušky anywhere in Slovakia, or a really good plate of it for that matter.  But when an opportunity comes to sample some halušky from the restaurant featured in the sheep cheese section of the trusty Lonely Planet guidebook (yes, there is a sheep cheese section), you must not pass it up. At least, that’s my philosophy.

Salaš Krajinka, a rustic, traditional Slovak restaurant, is two kilometers outside of Ružomberok in the Liptov region. I assumed in a country with an extensive public transportation system, getting from the town to its famous restaurant would be no problem.  But when I called for instructions the man on the other end of the line informed me few buses run there from Ružomberok, making life difficult for the car-less, such as myself and my traveling cohort.  Chris and I resolved to bite the bullet and call a cab, as the restaurant visit was supposed to be the main event of our Saturday. But before I could hang up to make the call the mysterious man on the phone offered to pick us up in town, an offer too good to refuse.

Twenty minutes later we were in the backseat of a Volvo, zooming between the rolling Low Tatra Mountains with our new friend Joe, discussing all of the nitty gritty details of Slovak cheese business.  Joe, whose family has been producing cheese for generations, appeared to be in his mid-30’s and was dressed casually with a frayed red and yellow Yankees hat atop his head. He seemed to be the face and unofficial (or maybe official) public relations man for Salaš Krajinka, and a good one at that. He had travelled extensively and proved to be an excellent conversationalist with his easygoing manner and perfect, accent-less English.

As we moved along the winding main road leading to the restaurant, I explained that we were extremely interested in behind-the-scenes information about our newfound love of bryndza, and its link to Slovak culture.  We really lucked out as Joe proved to be a walking encyclopedia on all things sheep and cheese, and being a very big advocate of understanding what you’re eating and how it was made, he was eager to share all he knows.

The beloved Milka cow, apparently great misleader on realistic cow coloring

The beloved Milka cow, apparently a great misleader on realistic cow coloring

“Kids today think that cows are lavender and white because that’s what they see on the chocolate bar wrappers,” Joe said, referring to the popular Milka chocolate bars sold throughout Europe. “They have no idea where what they’re eating really comes from.”

The truth is if more of today’s generation did understand how their national food was produced, they would realize it is a process that pays respect to generations of Slovak sheep farmers and mountain culture, and therefore one to be preserved. Joe’s family and many other farmers throughout the country pride themselves on keeping up the tradition and quality of both sheep and cow cheese production, which has been a part of Slovakia’s culture since it became a staple in the 17th century.  “How we make it is the way it always has been made and the way it always will be made,” Joe said.

Before we knew it, we were pulling into the restaurant’s driveway.  As we ascended the hill that the Salaš sits upon, we passed one hut selling the homemade cheese and another selling tea and freshly baked pastries.  The space between the huts and the parking lot is spattered with quirky wood sculptures and a few strutting chickens. The restaurant itself is a sprawling one-story building, reminiscent of the traditional Slovak log houses seen throughout the countryside.  It was here that Joe apologetically left us for a work engagement, but promised to return in a little while to give us a tour of the in-house cheese production.

Since we had some time to kill, Chris and I thoroughly explored the property.  This included taking cheesy posed pictures with the sculptures, failed attempts to capture some of the resident rabbits, successful attempts to communicate with local goats, sampling some scrumptious blueberry-filled pastries, and finally heading to the restaurant for our main event.

Some of the farm life in action

Some of the farm life in action

The inside of the restaurant is as charming as the outside with wooden beams and a huge clay stove.  Of course the real selling point is the back wall, which is made entirely of windows looking out onto the fluffy sheep that produce the diner’s cheese.  The snappy service must be necessary to handle the constant flow of people coming through the double doors. Even at 3:30 p.m. in the “off-season” Chris and I ended up sharing our table with another couple, a practice which is much more readily accepted in Slovakia than I imagine it would be in America.  We ordered the legendary bryndzové halušky with extra smoked sheep cheese on top rather than the traditional fried bacon fat. (We figured if there was ever a good place to double up on cheese, this was it.)  Even though our dishes came surprisingly quickly, the plates of potato dumplings smothered in gooey sheep cheese were nothing short of perfection. Continue reading

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Looking Back on Bratislava

Thus far, in my three months teaching in Slovakia, Czech Republic and Austria, my path has crossed both Prague and Bratislava twice.  I spent this past weekend soaking in the holiday spirit in a much more decked-out Prague than I saw in early October. The weekend before that, I revisited Bratislava as its Christmas decorations and festivities first came together.  While Prague was undeniably a scene of seasonal perfection, with its traditionally decorated tree and softly twinkling lights. However, the masses of people bottlenecked among the main markets reminded me of just how much I love the much lower-profile capital city of Bratislava, and yet how little I have mentioned it here.

The "Man at Work" Statue. Allegedly is the most photographed thing in the whole city.

The “Man at Work” Statue. Allegedly is the most photographed thing in the whole city.

On both of my visits to Bratislava, I have been struck by how livable the city feels.  As you walk through the old town, the buildings and cobblestone streets look similar to those of Prague, but you can’t help but notice how many more locals dine next to you in cafes and how much more elbow room you have, even in the main square. You feel as though you are seeing a snapshot of the city’s everyday routine.  Dogs are being walked, groceries are being carried, lives are being lived.  Despite having low expectations for the city based on lack of hype from other backpackers, I found myself having to pry myself from it both times Sunday afternoon called me away.

Low quality phone picture. High quality Christmas Market experience.

Low quality phone picture. High quality Christmas market experience.

If there was ever a question about how I felt about the city, the Christmas market confirmed my affection. While it held the same smoky huts filled with sausages, crepes and mulled wine, and the space was crowded without a doubt, the feeling was entirely different. Few words of English could be heard and the giant crowd dancing around a man with an accordion could sing along with each word of the Slovak folk songs.  The small gifts sold in stands did not all proudly bear the name of the city, unlike those in Prague, most likely because most people would not be nearly as impressed. But to me, that made them much more appealing. The electric blue flashing lights on the tree may have been a little over the top, but the overall experience, like most of mine in Bratislava, just felt authentic.

Looking out from Devín Castle onto the Morava.

Looking out from Devín Castle onto the Danube.

This is not at all to downplay the impressiveness Prague.  The city left me in awe and I had a fantastic time each time I was there. There is a reason people flock there and I will go again the first opportunity I have.  But when I look back on my time here, Prague will be a highlight, but Bratislava will be my soft spot. So here are some snippets from the not-nearly-enough time that I spent there. Maybe you’ll be inspired to check it out yourself.

(P.S. If further inspiration is necessary the city’s Shtoor Cafe, pictured further below, is the home of 1.30 Euro bottomless coffee in a continent of baby-sized instant Nescafes.)

The mighty Danube flowing below the castle.

The mighty Danube flowing below the castle.

After climbing up the castle walls, Chris strikes a risky pose.

After climbing up the castle walls, Chris strikes a risky pose.

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Views From the Wonderous Wolkersdorf Wanderpuzzle

I’ve liked Wolkersdorf from the start. From the moment Chris and I stepped off the train, people have been extremely friendly and have gone out of their way to be kind and polite. (A free ride from the train station is especially appreciated after nearly 24 hours of travel with 50-plus pounds of luggage.)  The quaint town is impeccably clean with the perfect combination of preservation of the historic and introduction of the modern.  The scenery, both in the village and on the countryside is stunning, and you can’t help but notice that none of the bicycles contributing to the high cycling-to-driving ratio in this town are ever locked up.

As though I wasn’t already contemplating ways to make a semi-permanent move here, we came across Wolkersdorf Wanderpuzzle, a network of biking and walking trails throughout the Wolkersdorf village and countryside. The trails led us through charming neighborhoods and up hillside vineyards to a view of Wolkersdorf’s pride and joy: their windmills.  Although I’m not normally a fan of the rotating steal monsters, in this setting I see them for the majestic, powerful, looming giants others claim them to be. It may be partially because clean energy they provide fits in so organically with this pedestrian heavy, environmentally conscious and seemingly pollution-free town.  While I know this first location is setting the bar high for things to come, it is always nice to start out on a good foot.

View of Wolkersdorf and its windmills.

Victoriously biking up the giant hill

Chris becoming one with the willow tree.

Apparently what Austrians keep in their garages?

Practically an Austrian Hobbit Hole 🙂

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Four Seasons in Four Countries in Under 50 Pounds

Since returning from my TEFL Certification course in Costa Rica in mid-July, searching for teaching opportunities abroad had become my new full-time job. However, within one week I have gone from frustrated and unemployed to frantically preparing for my new position as a traveling English teacher in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary.

ImagePacking strategy, which is not my strong suit, will be key for this position, requiring weekly travel to countless cities within four countries over four seasons. Fitting 10 months of professional, casual and active clothes, not to mention shoes, into one checked bag and a carry on proved to be a daunting task. But, a few painful elimination rounds later, my bags are packed and en route to Budapest, Hungary (along with me, of course).

This may have been my greatest packing challenge so far, but it’s not my first. Between a semester abroad and a few other lengthy trips, I’ve made note of some items that I shouldn’t have left behind.  It didn’t help much with dilemmas like only having room for two pairs of jeans, but it was helpful to remind myself of items I longed for last time I lived out of a suitcase.

1. Watch – Carrying my iphone with me at all times and all places just for the sake of telling time proved to be stressful and just plain annoying. I was constantly afraid of it being stolen or lost, and I had to dig to the bottom of my bag whenever I wanted to check the time. This resulted in me constantly pestering the wise watch-wearers, whose ranks I have now joined.

2. Quick-Dry Backpacking or Camping Towel – Nothing is grosser than a mildewy towel, except for a mildewy towel that then needs to be put back in a suitcase with your clean clothes. My biggest mistake on my last trip to Costa Rica was packing just one regular towel.  Anytime I traveled anywhere for the weekend or went to the beach, I had to use a t-shirt to dry off until I could laundry again because packing my damp towel for my return left it smelling like a dead animal.  My new backpacking towel may not be as fluffy, but it’s much more practical.

3. Band-Aids and Antiseptic – Every trip I convince myself I won’t need them.  Then the largest sightseeing-imposed blisters of all time pop up on my heels, or I become a gruesome casualty of the treacherous San Jose sidewalks.  I like to be optimistic, however I feel it’s wise to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst in order to avoid bloody and embarrassing trips to the pharmacy.

4. Rain Boots – The only thing worse than wet towels may be wet feet on a cold day.  I found out the hard way that rain boots aren’t always easy to find or cheap to buy, and certainly not cheap to ship.  Two separate packages and two weeks after my first near-frostbite experience in Switzerland’s rainy February (thanks Mom!), my feet were finally dry.  Unfortunately, my rain boots didn’t make the cut this time, and I am already feeling regret in the pit of my stomach and damp numbness in the end of my toes.

5. Budget Notebook – I’m all for living on the edge (that’s part of the reason I love to travel), but wondering whether or not I am about to overdraw my dwindling bank account at each ATM visit is not the thrill I’m looking for.  When access of your balance is not always accessibly, it’s reassuring to have record of exactly how much cash you have to work with. An added bonus is that $6 impulse gelato purchase will be harder to make when you know you have to write it down later.

6. Deck of Cards – It is crazy how much transit and wait time you can pass with these 52 little pieces of paper. Also, I feel like the possessor of a deck of cards has a built in way to meet people.  Because, really, who doesn’t love a good game of Euchre, War, or even Go Fish on a three hour train ride?

Even now, as I sit in the airport awaiting my transatlantic flight, I already have a mental list of all of the things I regret leaving at home. But really, if I wanted the comfort of having everything I’d ever need with me all of the time, I should have just stayed home. So here’s to learning to live with a little less for while, and also to Swiss Air letting me sneak on the plane with my quite oversized carry on…

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Five Legitimate Excuses to Live Abroad

While I’m by no means an expert or even experienced, I have conducted my own informal research Imageproject on working opportunities abroad.  Scouring for ways to travel long-term and still generate an income has been my favorite procrastination method.  It hasn’t all been in vain.  I do plan to pursue teaching English abroad. But in order to put my hours clicking through possibilities to good use (and procrastinate in studying for finals), I will share my findings.  Perhaps another irresponsible student with a case of wanderlust will be inspired.

Teach English – Teaching English abroad is a popular way to get overseas, and for good reason.  A high demand for native English speakers to TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) means new positions are opening all the time.  TEFL teachers don’t need a degree in education.  A Bachelor’s degree in some discipline is usually necessary and most (but not all) language schools require a TEFL/TESOL certificate. Certification can be obtained online or in a classroom setting through a variety of programs, some of which occur abroad.  Pay varies widely depending on region.  While you can make enough to break even in Europe or South America, teachers can save as much as $1,000 a month in Eastern Asia, where demand is highest.  Africa and Central Asia also offer opportunities, but usually on a volunteer basis.

 WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) – As funny as the acronym sounds, WWOOFing provides serious hands-on experience on organic farms around the world. The volunteer technically aren’t paid, but WWOOF farmers provide food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles.  WWOOF farms in the U.S. provide opportunities for those who wish to stay closer to home.  However, there are also farms in over 30 countries with diverse environments.  Volunteers can find farmers in need searching help in places as diverse as Switzerland, Sierra Leone, Argentina and Bangladesh.  Volunteers will mix cultural immersion with sustainable development so both parties benefit.

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To Begin…

Then what?

As a college senior I am sure I am not alone in thinking that these two words have become the most terrifying, stressful, and frankly just plain irritating phrase that has been bombarding me from all directions recently.

Even for those who are sure of what they would like to pursue, the answer must be tough, because the economy and job market don’t seem so sure that there will be an opportunity for them to do so.  And for those of us who aren’t sure, “I’m still figuring that out,” doesn’t seem to satisfy or impress the interrogators when graduation is a mere 100 days away.

Usually I would make something up.  Whichever of my most recent life-plot musings seemed like it would please the asker most. But as of today, I am finally excited for someone to ask me that question, because as of today, I finally have a concrete, in-motion plan.

This summer I will be setting out on a trip to Costa Rica to become certified in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and then actually teaching abroad.

This is something I had thought about for the past year or so.  A few months ago, I told my dad to brace himself for yet another one of my brilliant life plans, which are proposed to him and my mom on about a bi-weekly basis.  When I told him wanted to teach English abroad after I graduated, his response confirmed I might be onto something.

“Well if you’re going to go off and be a gypsy, at least you have a way to support yourself while you do it.”

To some people that might not sound like the go-ahead, but coming from the one who has always been the first to put my ideas in check (and for good reason since they are usually ridiculously impulsive and unrealistic), this was overwhelming consent.

So I began further research on the best means follow through on my plan, and for once, instead of just talking about it, I took the initiative and put my idea into action.

I’m not naïve enough to think I’ve figured it all out.   I’m unsure of what career I hope to find myself in 25 years from now, or maybe even five years from now, but I’m not sure that’s really the most pressing matter.

Photo credit: nationalgeographic.com

Someone whom I respect very much recently told me the most important thing isn’t to start in the perfect place or in the perfect long-term career; it’s just to start somewhere and to always keep moving forward at full speed from that point.  I was struck.  What if we’re all so concerned with trying to figure out how to get where we should be 10, 20 and 30 years from now, that we are too afraid to pick somewhere to start now, in case it’s the wrong place?

In reality, the “then what?” question probably won’t be going away anytime soon.  In fact it will probably be looming overhead for my entire life. But, for now, I’m happy to have picked somewhere to start.

So to begin, Costa Rica. Well, completing this semester of college, then Costa Rica. And after that, full speed ahead, wherever that may be.

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