I am a first generation Canadian, having been born shortly after my parents arrived in Canada from the Netherlands. I inherited my parents’ gypsy spirits and encouraged by them, went to live on a kibbutz in Israel for 6 months before I turned 18. Apart from a visit back to the Netherlands when I was a child, that was my first foray overseas, to visit and live in a land with a completely different culture, language, religion and history. I was entranced, captivated, and fulfilled.
But….as happens to most of us, when I returned home, I became immersed in the need to “be successful”, to earn a living, to be married, have kids…..to “grow up.” I did all of the above. I earned a living (after many attempts at a variety of careers, settled on teaching), got married (my first husband was blind which led me to discover, become immersed in, and fulfilled by the whole new world of people with disabilities), didn’t have kids, and thought I had finally grown up. NOT! After 16 years of marriage, and 15 years of teaching, I was burned out and thought separation and divorce was the answer. It wasn’t the answer but it did send me in a totally different direction from what I had ever anticipated.
A dear friend had gone to teach overseas in Bahrain, a tiny island off the coast of Saudi Arabia, in the Arabian Gulf. I so much wanted to go but couldn’t quite extricate myself from the life I was then leading and it wasn’t until she had been there for two years and going back for her third, that I was able to join her. WHAT AN ADVENTURE awaited me!
My first year overseas brought me:
- a whole new teaching experience
- an entirely different culture
- a trip to Egypt
- new friends
- a safari in Kenya, a holiday in Zanzibar…..
- AND….a new, unintended relationship. Mikal and I first met in the library of the school we were to teach at on the first day of school (which happened to be the second day we both arrived on the island). Was that a coincidence or ????
It was a full year in every sense….teaching, traveling, love. The overseas part of the adventure continued for another ten years and currently continues from our base in the USA.