Globejotting Headquarters is Moving to a New Country!
By Dave Fox
We’ve just survived another November.
For the last three years, November has been the most stressful month for Kattina and me. It’s our annual month of deliberations as to whether or not to extend Kattina’s teaching contract and stay in Singapore.
We moved here from Seattle in 2011, wanting to live in a part of the world that was new to both of us. Kattina took a job as a middle school science teacher at an American school here. Singapore has been our home ever since.
We came thinking we might live out her initial two-year contract, then move on. “Moving on,” however, isn’t as simple as those two words make it sound.
Her contract – two years initially, and one year at a time after that – requires we decide by November 30 whether to extend for another August-to-June school year.
Most international schools don’t post jobs for the following year until January. So not renewing in November would mean a nail-biting December, a finger-nibbling January, and if a job wasn’t lined up by then, a wrist-gobbling February at hiring conferences in Bangkok, London, and North America.
Or, there’s been the easier, more secure option: Stay in Singapore. Kattina could continue a good job and an easy life (other than the fact that her husband’s a little weird) at a highly-respected school, while I’d keep working as a freelance writer and writing coach – a job I can do anywhere.
In 2012, our decision to stay came quickly. Last year, our choice was harder.
I wasn’t happy here with local freelancing opportunities or my social life. But I wanted to stay – because I was seeing new possibilities, and because I didn’t want to have lived in a country for three years and leave with a bad attitude.
So we stayed, and we’re glad we did. We moved to a new neighborhood and met new friends in a more down-to-earth community. I found new work opportunities. Kattina started playing Gaelic football, an Irish sport we had never heard of before coming to Asia. I joined a band, fell in with a crowd of musicians, and became, in my mid-40s, the rock star I dreamed of being as a teenager.
Then another November arrived, and our annual discussions began again.
“Maybe just one more year?” we were saying. It seemed safer than leaping into the unknown.
We had lots of unfinished conversations in which one of us would say, “What do you think?” and the other would say, “I don’t know. What do you think?” And then we’d turn on the television and open some wine and try not to think about it.
“If only a really cool job could come along before the end of the month,” I kept whining – as if that was going to happen.
And then, it happened. Very fast.
Thursday evening, a week ago, a major international school in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), one of our favorite places in the world, posted a job opening in Kattina’s area of expertise. She applied Friday, interviewed Saturday, and received an offer Tuesday.
As much as we love Saigon, going for it was not an easy decision. We had financial considerations, and work opportunities we’d be leaving behind. And, damn it, I was finally becoming a rock star.
But this was Saigon – a place we both love, a place where we have great friends, a place where, in some ways, we already feel more at home than in Singapore.
I’ll spare you the minutia of our deliberations. After a dreadfully anxious week, our decision feels right: This summer, we are moving to Saigon, and we’re thrilled.
I’ll have more thoughts about our move in the next week or two. In the meantime, thanks for reading this far.
We’re excited for our journey to continue.