Crazy, right?! Here’s how that happened…
I recently visited India with a travel group that I am a member of. The sights, the food, and the people had me in this state of suspended animation. It was as if life stopped for me and I was able to enjoy every moment without my thoughts being carried away. I walked the Taj Mahal in bare feet and touched the marble as I observed and took it all in. Dancing and drinking with an Indian family during Holi was one of the most amazing experiences of my adult life. The warmth and acceptance with which we were treated, I still carry that feeling with me today. I was able to be present and in the moment. That seemed to be a luxury these days.
On my journey home, I met a woman living in Mumbai with her two children around the age of my son. I got to know her family and even became Facebook friends with them. In the cyber stalking that ensued, I discovered their photos of Thanksgivings in Sri Lanka and Spring Breaks in Oman. I wanted that life with my children. I wanted them to know what countries accepted the Rupee and what is the official language of Laos. I wanted to give my son the invaluable education of being a world traveler. So, on the 14-hour flight home I made the decision that I was going to move abroad.
The last couple of months have been very challenging. However, my social media support system has been overwhelmingly excited about my intent to move with my son abroad. I was given access to educational databases to apply for jobs, have people connect me with others abroad who have made the transition, and those who have information on employment. I have also encountered an amazing amount of support and a wealth of knowledge in all of this. But with all that support, there was opposition. Among the many fear-driven comments and questions about the safety and stability of my choice, potential employers were discouraging as well.
One day, I received an email from a school in Doha, Qatar. They were excited to read my CV and didn’t hesitate to contact me for a Skype interview. We met and I blew the interviewer away, who was also a psychologist from Venezuela, with my extensive knowledge and insight into special education and English language learners. When I mentioned my child who would be accompanying me, the excitement didn’t fade. She spoke of how he could attend a sister school tuition free, they could find private accommodation for the both of us, and they would fund his plane ticket as well. I ended the interview with an enormous smile. However, this feeling didn’t last. The next day, I received an email from the school, asking questions about my marital status, whether I had “permission” from my son’s father to bring him to Qatar, and if I was permitted to leave the United States alone with him. (yes, they asked that) The end result was the school rescinding the job offer, for fear that my visa wouldn’t get approved. That broke my heart.
I didn’t really want to move to Qatar. To be honest, I had to Google where it actually was on the globe. But the idea of being rejected solely because I was a single mother was completely disheartening. I was trying my best to break from that stigma, and I was again being judged for it.
But it all worked out. Determined to move abroad, I continued to send out resumes and eventually accepted an offer with a school in Phnom Penh. It’s crazy. The boy and I are moving to Cambodia in August.
It’s still hard to say that out loud and not have a beaming smile on my face. But it’s real. And to be honest, completely scary and nerve wrecking to think about doing something this daring and courageous, but I am doing it. There are two kids of fear: one that says you are crazy and can’t do this and the other that says you are on the brink of something incredibly amazing. I know this is the latter.
Stay tuned to my adventures in raising this vagabond I call “the boy”.