Anyone else play Where in the World is Carmen San Diego as a kid? No, just me? Did I just solidify that I was a 90’s child through and through? Imagine an an 11 year old Rachel saddled up to the computer playing a quick game of Oregon Trail, once I killed off all my family and friends to either a rattlesnake bite or typhoid fever, I would grab the next floppy disk and try and find that ever elusive Carmen San Diego. Unfortunately, you aren’t going to be chasing the lady in the red trench coat around this blog post, instead you are going to have me as your tour guide to learn Where in the World is Kuwait!
Let’s start out nice and wide and zoom on in. Now let’s take it in a notch to just look at Europe, Africa & Asia. …and even tighter now as we focus more clearly and narrow in on the Middle East.
Now we are getting our first glimpse at Kuwait. Check out that little chunk of land tucked between Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran…that’s our new home!
We are hoping to get to explore quite a bit of the Middle Eastern region this year, especially Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and Dubai & Abu Dhabi in the UAE. From this view you can check out how quick of a plane ride these trips would be.
Kuwait City is a coastal city…YAY! We are hoping to get into scuba diving and snorkeling. We made it to the end of our tour; Kuwait City, Kuwait. Home to 3 million people and for the next couple of years us.
Today we pick up our bags and step out into the unknown.
Today we hug our families goodbye.
Today we take a risk.
Today we get on an airplane and hope we are making the right decision.
Today we are full of excitement.
Today we are full of nervousness.
Today we leave.
“In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.”
Because one day at the lake just isn’t enough….and the pictures are just too good not to share.
We quickly accepted another invitation from our friends Heidi and Brannon to spend another day out on their boat. This time though they invited all the kiddos.
Our friends seriously have the sweetest kids. I don’t know what their parents have done but they are all so much fun and easy to be around.
The little kids waited while the big kids played. Henry watched with some serious concern, he kept thinking we were going to leave his Mom or Dad just floating in the water.
The older kiddos entertained the littlest ones. Then Hailey girl showed us her stuff! She has been wake boarding for a couple summers and is getting up and outside of the wake now! Tyler could have wake boarded all night. A couple more years for you little buddy…
You know you are getting older when the cup holders no longer are holding beer bottles but rather sippy cups.
Moving overseas is an awesome adventure, but behind this awesome adventure came a ton of work, 14 months of work to be exact! I thought it was an important enough part of this process that I needed to take a few moments to document what I learned along the way. Clearly I am not an expert, because this is only the first time I have received an overseas teaching job, but I made enough mistakes along the way to learn a few things.
- The job hunting process starts early, really really early. This was a lesson I learned the hard way. When trying to get an overseas teaching job you really need to start the process the fall prior to when you want to go. What I mean is that I wanted to start a job overseas in August of 2014 so what that really meant is I needed to start the application process in October/November of 2013. It feels crazy early but you have to start applying early.
- Go to a job fair. I went to the University of Northern Iowa’s overseas recruitment fair, twice, and loved it! I chose UNI’s job fair for two reasons 1.) I read that it is the largest overseas teaching fair in North America 2.) I live in Minnesota so it was super close and cost effective for me to get there. Going to the job fair was truly an awesome experience. Hundreds of administrators, representing schools from all over the world, gather at this job fair searching for candidates. It is the only chance I would have had to speak face to face with that many administrators. Let’s be real, Skype interviews are weird and awkward so the more time you have face to face with administrators the better.
- The more contact you make with schools before a job fair the better your chances of finding a job. Once you are signed up for the job fair you will have access to job postings and contact information for a zillion schools. You will be able to look through the jobs (which change on a day to day basis) and make contact with administrators before the job fair begins. This was a huge mistake I made the first year I went to the job fair. I didn’t realize how much work needed to be done on the front end of the job fair. When I got to Iowa, I quickly realized how many interviews had been arranged prior to anyone arriving in Iowa. This year when I arrived in Iowa, I had done at least 12 Skype interviews, had a couple of job offers, and had multiple first round and second round interviews scheduled for my time in Iowa. The difference between the first year I went to the job fair and the second was night and day, and making contact with schools prior to the fair made all the difference.
- Be open. The world is a big, big place. Be open to living and working in a whole variety of places.
- Take every interview that is offered to you. I decided that I was going to use the job fair to connect with as many schools as possible and that meant some really long days of interviewing. You never know where you might find the perfect job.
- Talk to everyone. The job fair is a fantastic atmosphere. It is a large group of people who love travel and exploring the world. Some of my favorite moments were having lunch with complete strangers who had lived in amazing places like Turkey, Eqypt, Peru, and Taiwan!
- Don’t give up. I didn’t get any job offers the first year I went to the job fair, but I used the opportunity as a learning experience and to develop a new strategy for the next year. The second year I went I had multiple job offers, so my new plan must have worked! It was so much fun to talk to Mitch and pull out a map and decide where we wanted to spend the next two years of our life.
Yesterday, Mitch and I went to Happy Hour with a group of people he works with. While we were there a woman Mitch works with asked me two questions about our move to Kuwait:
1. What are you most excited about?
2. What do you think you will miss the most?
I answered both questions with little hesitation. I am most excited about the travel opportunities and I will miss my nieces and nephew the most. Once I answered her though, I got to thinking that I really am going to miss quite a few things from once we move – so I started to jot them down – and realized how scattered and all over the place this list is. So, no judging, but here are a few things I am most positive I will miss next year:
Stitch Fix: It has only been in the last couple of months that I discovered this online clothing styling service, and let me tell you getting those little blue boxes in the mail will be greatly missed. Basically you fill out an online style survey and then you get clothes hand-picked and sent to you. To read more about Stitch Fix and to give it a try, check out this link. Full disclosure, if you sign up under that link i will receive a referal credit of $25 and you will be participating in feeding my addiction to these cute clothes!
Family Gatherings: I already know I will experience homesickness, especially on those days when I know our families will be having special events or celebrating holidays. I am also sad we will miss family traditions, like signing the table cloth at Thanksgiving or the annual boot hockey game at the Johnson family Christmas party. I will also miss not being at the triplets first birthday party, or other family gatherings. I know these days will be amongst the hardest.
Chipotle: This will be missed. Seriously, seriously missed.
The Library: Even though I have a nook that is significantly overstocked with books, being able to walk into the library and grab a physical book will not be something I am able to do. As much as I love technology and the ease of traveling with e-books, I will miss holding books.
Meme found here.
Snow: I love Minnesota and all that is has to offer, including the winters, (well maybe not when it is -40, ain’t nobody got
time a big enough down jacket for that)
Kelsie, Carter & Cora: I was right when I said that I was going to miss these three….a lot.
Our long Minnesota goodbye continued the other night with an awesome evening of boating with my work friends and their hubbies. It was the kind of night Minnesotans dream about during the winter months when the temperatures can reach 40 degrees below zero. The lake was calm, the water was warm, and the sunset was amazeballs.
Thank you Heidi and Brannon for a great night! Thank you Steve, Katie, Josh, & Sarah for coming out, I will miss you ladies more than words can express. Your friendship has brought so much fun and laughter to my life.