I had stepped off the plane less than a week prior, and already I was employed. It seemed like a dream, easier than I could ever imagine. I was a fundraiser for various charities, which seemed right up my alley since I was a rockstar at drumming up (non-monetary) support in my last job.
Despite some signs, everything seemed okay. The interview, the first day of training–everyone was super friendly and genuinely passionate. It was obvious they were disorganized, but I’ve never seen any org run truly smoothly so I wrote it off. And then I showed up to the second day of training and it all went downhill from there. As I was introduced to my team, the only fellow American decided to nickname me Ketamine, which was…undesirable. To say the least. We had met in a coffee shop and the supervisor wanted to make sure we all had beverages in mugs because we were meeting with the environmental charity reps and it would “look bad” if we walked in with paper cups. While that’s true, wouldn’t it be better to, ahem, actually live green, especially if you’re passionate enough to fundraise for an environmental charity?
Later that afternoon, I found out that I was not allowed to about the charity we were fundraising for, and instead compliment people and chat them up about random chitchat topics, convince them to like me, then ask for the money. Suffice it to say, that was the last nail in the coffin for me.
Despite getting 4 interview offers during the first week, the next few weeks led to nothing. I put the search on hiatus because we were running out of time to find a place to live, and then I was busy cleaning and setting up our new place.
I’ve never been okay not working. Prior to graduating from university, I rarely had less than 2 part time jobs. I jumped straight from graduating into my first full-time job and another one immediately after that. While we spent the summer in Canada, I wanted to work despite being in French class 30 hours/week. Even in New York, I couldn’t wait to work; I was itching to do something.
Ironically, we’re in one of the most gender equitable countries in the world, and I’ve decided to do something I thought I would never do: become a housewife. In my head, it’s totally fine to be a stay-at-home parent, because that’s a huge task, but in comparison, all I’m doing work-wise is cooking, cleaning, paying bills, and shopping. Some of my more non-traditional duties include planning travel, which Alan is still pretty averse to doing himself. I’m also going to do a better job of documenting our life, both online and off. My goal is to take more 35mm photos and get to 100% manual mode on the DSLR.
Most people wouldn’t know it, but I’m super introverted. While I was working, I would barely have the energy to do anything. My job was to be “on” almost all time, working directly with patients/students. We didn’t really do much exploring day-to-day while we were in California because I was exhausted. At the time, it didn’t matter because I loved both my jobs so much.
But now that I’m realizing what it’s like to live without my energy being depleted, it’s making me want to avoid jobs that require a lot of social energy, which is essentially most jobs I would be able to get here. So for now, I’m going to be doing my thing and doing some childcare on the side, which is still fulfilling, shorter hours and oddly not nearly as tiring. I’m going to plan daytrips while we’re in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There is so much to do here, that it probably couldn’t be done during a full year of non-stop holiday. The more decided I’ve been about not finding a job, the more I’ve enjoyed my days of writing and editing photos and planning the week out.
Most importantly, I’m not going to forget my career. I’m already tutoring Sudanese refugee students in English, which I’m loving so far. It’s helping to solidifying for me that teaching English is a definite option for me.
But all good things must come to an end, and I knew I wouldn’t be happy doing this for long. I need to be doing something meaningful and it needs to take up a large chunk of my life.
I had so many plans for life down under. I was going to take French classes, read books for fun and for work. I was going to travel everywhere and drag A around in a campervan for a bit. But in reality, the only true goal was to live in Australia, and I did that. It was a great break but I learned a lot about myself and what I want out of life. I fulfilled a long held dream and I’m glad we came for that reason alone.
When a wave comes, dive deep. This has been my mantra for a nearly the entire time I’ve been here and I’m so glad I embraced this uncharacteristic change of pace instead of hating myself for it.