So I’ve decided to stay here in Georgia for another semester. Things are working out really well, I enjoy teaching English, and for the full experience I think it will be better to stay for a full year.
I’m not sure if I’ll stay in Kutaisi yet, though. It’s a convenient place to live, but I have upwards of 30 kids in my classes, which can be a real challenge. I’d kind of like to spend the next semester in a village or small town, where I can know all the kids by name. Then again, I really like it here in Kutaisi, and I’m doing so much where I am that I’d kind of like to stay, just to see how things turn out.
Currently, I’m teaching grades 1-6, 9-10, and 12. It sounds like a lot, but I’ve got great co-teachers who help out a ton. I teach 18 class periods per week, which is enough to keep me busy but not so much that I feel overwhelmed. My favorite grade to teach is probably 4th or 5th, where the kids know enough to surprise you but don’t have all the issues that come with teenagers. There are different things I enjoy about each grade, though, so it’s good to have a mix.
The second semester doesn’t start until September, so that’ll give me a few months off to do whatever I like. My current plan is to come home and work on getting print editions of my books out. TLG will pay for my flight out and back, and my parents will let me stay at their place over the summer, so I think things will work out quite well.
As for what to do in December once this tour is finished–that’s an entirely different question. I could probably leverage my experience here in Georgia to get a much higher paying job in Asia or the Persian Gulf, but all I’m really looking for is a job situation to tide me over until my writing career takes off. That, and an awesome cultural experience.
What I’d REALLY like to do is find some remote desert village in the Middle East, where the locals will pay for room and board, my book royalties will pay the rest, the cultural experience will give me a chance to practice my Arabic, and my teaching skills will make a real difference in the local community.
Towards that end, I found this site called Workaway. A friend of mine used it to get a short-term job in a Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum, and there are TONS of other opportunities listed just like it. I freaked out a little when I saw it, because it looks AWESOME. When I was in Jordan, I used to fantasize about spending some time in the desert with the Bedouin, so getting the chance to actually do that would be amazing!
TLG will pay for my flight home at the end of the second semester, but I can opt to go anywhere else, so long as the ticket price isn’t any more than Tbilisi to JFK. Since this is the year my sister’s get together with their in-laws for Christmas, it might be better to go straight from Georgia to my next job at the end of December.
I was thinking about it as I walked around my neighborhood earlier today, and it made me wonder: why did I wait so long? There are so many awesome opportunities overseas–if you don’t have any debt or anyone you need to support, you could spend years hopping from one random adventure to the next. I could spend years doing that. And with epublishing, all I really need is my netbook and periodic internet access to put up new books as I write them–everything else more or less takes care of itself. It’s fantastic.
In any case, that’s the plan for now. I’m taking the night train to Tbilisi tonight, so I’d better go get ready for that. See you around!