I feel kind of like the Canada Geese I still see hanging around the fields near my small town. I happened to drive home as a flurry of them drove over my car the other day, and I was baffled they were still here. We had a bout of surprisingly warm weather, so I suppose they’re unsure what’s really going on. They know they have to go, want to go, but the conditions have to be right. They’re stuck, waiting.
This idea came to mind as I’m finding it hard how to describe what the past few months have felt like for me. It’s definitely not the same as when I came home from Australia, because I was only gone two months, not a year. Most of the conditions were the same when our trip ended, so I more or less knew what it was going to be like. Still, we’re middle of November and it’s a weird sensation when your mind feels caught between where you want to be and where you are. If any of you read this, you may have known that I took a 0.5 contract at my school in September. Woo- benefits! The unfortunate part of it is not realizing how drastic of a pay cut it would be for me. I came home with a fair chunk of travel debt, and told my few close friends that “it would be paid off and I’d be moved out by November”. Well, November’s here, and neither of those situations look to be changing.
I don’t want anything to think that I haven’t been trying, or I’ve been complacent about my situation. On the contrary. I made a bunch of posts to tutor French in my area, since I know this is good money. However, it also occurred to me that serving and retail in the next town over would also be wise. Just to my luck, the first restaurant I went to offered to hire and train me. They would also work around my mornings at the school. Tutoring in the evenings, with a constantly changing schedule wouldn’t work, so I had to let those contacts go.
Fast forward three weeks. I took up curling this fall to meet new people…my team is an older crowd, but oh well…and my first match, I’m sweeping on the ice, my feet fall out from under me, and I’m lying on the ice with two broken teeth, a split lip, and a lot of blood. I was off work for a few days, and couldn’t go into the restaurant. The manager was kind, or so I thought – told me to call when I was healed to re-schedule our training. Last week I called on the given day, but I was instead told that “Unfortunately the timing was off, but they had hired me to be ready earlier, and I wasn’t.” So they let me go. Back to square one. I know on probation, they can remove you for any reason, but it seems doubly cruel.
So here we are again. I just got paid this morning, and went to look at my account. I still owe basically the same amount as 3 months ago. I don’t even know how it’s possible. It feels so frustrating, so infuriating. You feel like you’re doing something wrong, or not enough. My parents are kind to let me stay, and I’m not out blowing the money I do make, but I do still like seeing the odd friend, making meals at home, etc. I’m at a point where I just wish I could do something to be working full-time and start being in the positive with cash for once.
And this brings me to my Giant Stress.
In Ontario, contract teacher is like the Ultimate Holiday Destination – you want to get there, and stay there. It can take years to get to contract, so it’s a big deal here when you get 1.0 with the board. However, given my current situation, a few things come into play. Since Mady and I visited Scotland this summer, I knew, a few days wasn’t enough. From the minute we landed it seems as though the cogs in my brain were plotting a scheme to get me living over there. Why not? No dog, no house, no man, and my social circle here is pretty small. I started research weeks ago into the visa, teaching opportunities, flat prices, transportation. I feel the same way I did last year when I began researching our trip through Europe – like it was a lifeline, a buoy, only of the only things keeping me afloat all year, and giving me hope — the thought of getting away.
Is that bad?
I have 3 close girlfriends, but they don’t live near me. They all have their own stuff going on. I know they’ll be there for me, always, but in my own city, I feel pretty lonely. I’ve tried online dating, and it doesn’t work. If good things come, I will embrace them, but somehow, this idea of moving to Scotland is the only thing I feel sure of these days. Not a day goes by that I’m not thinking of it. Coming back to the contract…It’s something great, if you intend to stay in the city, stay in the board. I know now that the idea of staying a whole other year to be granted leave of absence from contract status is unthinkable, unbearable even. If you’re thinking ‘melodrama’, that’s your right, but I know how I feel. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense for me to stay in a contract if I’m thinking of leaving this summer. The other factor is salary. I will never get out of this debt, or save any money, if I continue at this level. I get supply teaching offers from the closest school to home every day it seems… full days. Because my current school starts so late, I can never seem to do afternoon supply teaching anywhere, except at my current school. The admin tries to be nice and get me work, but it’s hard. If I was supply teaching, I wouldn’t have to drive downtown every day, but instead head 10 minutes north and be working in the old school I went to as a child.
Of course, I’m deeply apprehensive. I love my students. I have a really great gig, don’t get me wrong. If I left, I would miss them, and I would worry they’d feel betrayed. I don’t know if this is silly or not. More than that, I know I’d be burning a bridge with my employers. I don’t think they’d ever hire me again. It’s a hard pill to swallow. Still, I believe it’s something I’d have to life with. If people will judge me on my personal choice, rather than my performance, perhaps that says enough for itself.
So, that’s my big issue right now. I haven’t posted in awhile and thought, if even for myself, it will be interesting to come back in 2 months to this post and see what I’ve decided, and how it’s affected my life. I think by vocalizing it, I’m already sure what I will do. If I keep contract, I keep benefits, and needing 2000$ for crowns in a few months will be rough, but I won’t know until I cross that path…
So, that’s my life right now. I socialize when I can, trying to learn a bit of Spanish, curling, doing an online course. Class is about to start soon. I hope I get more direction, and can start building my dream into a plan. It’s time this girl gets traveling again.