Life has somehow managed to whoosh by again and Jack and I will be whisked off in a different direction coming this September.
Both of us thought we’d be staying in the UK for two years, but even with the past year being full of so many different experiences and travels we’ve both come to the conclusion that it’s time to move on. This decision comes after consideration of a number of factors: work-life balance, travel, life experience and the big picture.
Work-Life Balance: I’m pretty sure that all beginning teachers struggle with finding a work-life balance, but being a novice educator in the UK is tough. I can’t say that teaching is downright awful in the UK, because teachers everywhere will have struggles in different areas, but there are a number of factors that combine to make teaching in England particularly stressful to Canadian-trained teachers. We definitely left behind a few Canadian friends who decided to stay for another year (kudos to them!) but we are looking forward to experiencing another culture and another educational system.
Travel: If we were going to stay in England for the coming year it’d be mostly to travel and see more of continental Europe. That being said, we’ve both decided that the attraction of seeing more of Europe wasn’t enough to keep us in England for another year. We’ll keep traveling, to be sure, so stay tuned for updates on our future travels.
Life Experience: Moving out of the country right after marriage proved to be an amazing thing, and we have no one but God to give thanks to for that. Although life would likely have been more comfortable if we had stayed in Canada, we definitely couldn’t have had the same experiences and lessons that we learned this year. The changes and stresses we faced this past year taught us to pray together and to rely on God and each other, thus strengthening and cementing the first year of our marriage on a strong foundation.
Big Picture: Finally, our decision to leave England and move on really comes about because of the bigger goals we have in our marriage and life. We do want to travel more before we have kids, we do want to experience teaching in different cultures and we are going to follow where God leads us. The path we’re now taking towards our new destination has been made so smooth that we know God’s hand is in it, and while there are probably a ton of new obstacles up ahead we’re looking forward to seeing what happens.
So where are we going? Since we’ve already said we’re done with Europe (for now) we’ll be in… Asia! More specifically, we’ll be teaching in Zhenjiang, China; a city located about an hour’s west from Shanghai. Just about all our paperwork has been completed at this point and our focus right now is to catch our collective breath and appreciate the family and friends we have. That being said though, we anticipate sharing more of our travels and eats with you along the way!