Saturday, December 5, 2009

It was a tough week, but I made it through!

Well, its been an 'interesting' and exhausting week, but I survived.

The good news is that I started some evening tutoring with an 11 year old Turkish/Spanish girl. I met her mother a week ago at the meditation group a friend and I started, and she asked if I could do some intensive English tutoring with her daughter. Its good pay, and it should be fairly enjoyable work, so I'm happy about that. It also takes off some of the financial pressure we've been under, so I think now we'll be able to take a sigh of relief, at least for the moment.

It was a particularly busy and stressful week though, and I'm pretty tired today. I don't like to sound all negative or anything, but I'm really feeling the strain of all this new living experience and the stress of teaching. I feel like I've been through a bit of an emotional whirlwind for the past month or so. The teaching job I have is quite challenging, and it really isn't what I expected. Class sizes are huge, students have very little motivation, resources are scarce and there isn't very good support for teachers. And unfortunately, the university I work for seems more interested in making money than providing quality education for students. With the cut in hours and pay that happened a couple of weeks into my 'contract', I'm earning very little money in comparison to the number of hours I'm working, and in comparison to the wages offered by other language schools in the city.

I don't know what to think of it all. I guess no matter where we went, I would probably feel this way at some stage. It is difficult to live in a place where you can't speak the language and communicate easily with most of the people you meet. I think adjusting to a different culture and way of life is always difficult, but I also know that its a valuable experience, even if it doesn't always feel like it. I'm trying to stay as open minded as possible during this emotionally trying time, and to use this as an opportunity to better understand what life is like for other people in the world. So many people in the world have to leave their homes in search of work, better opportunities for themselves and their families, to escape all types of disasters, persecution and suffering. They don't always have a choice in the matter, and they have to go through all the trials of adapting to life in a new country, learning new customs and cultures, struggling to learn new languages while trying to make a living. And often they are treated poorly in the countries where they relocate, facing racism, prejudice and lots of uncertainty and financial insecurity. It must be so difficult to cope with so much change and challenge. And many don't have the option of returning home because things are too hard in their new country.

Richie and I chose to come here, and this is only for a year or so. We know we can eventually return home and settle down into good jobs and have our old life back, more or less. We also get to look forward to some travel and adventure in the summer. Even though we don't have tons of money at the moment, we're not really in really bad financial trouble. And we know that if for some reason, things don't work out, we can return home and we have family and friends to help us. I realize how lucky we are. I am dealing with just a tiny fraction of the difficulty that many other people face every day, and my heart goes out to all the people in the world who are trying to survive and cope in a new place, facing difficult odds, and who don't have any other choice.

Well, on another note entirely, I should have my residence permit sorted out this week. That will be one less thing to worry about and it will mean I won't have to do a 'visa run' once every three months.

I think this year, at least until June when my job is finished, will be hard work, and we won't really be able to do much travelling or anything, since Richie's working weekends at the moment and I'm working the other five days of the week, but I've decided that to help me get through it, I'm going to really plan for about a month of travelling around Turkey and maybe some of Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, etc., when my job is finished. I really want to get out there and see some of this amazing country. Having that goal in mind should help me stay positive throughout the next six months or so.

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