Limbo [lim-boh]: Latin- on the edge, on hell's border; an intermediate, transitional, or midway state or place
As an expatriate international teacher you have an odd expectation. The year you choose to leave your post you are expected to give notice to your school quite early. No, I don't mean a two week notice, or even a two month notice. Most schools expect you to give your notice (by not re-signing your contract) in December, or even for some as early as October. October!!?? The school year has barely started and you're having to make decisions for the coming year! It seems absurd that many schools have already posted, interviewed, and filled vacancies for the next school year before half term.
For us teachers, that leaves us in a strange state of not-belonging. By October you've joined several databases to view school vacancies, perfected your resume and (several versions of your) cover letter, and probably applied to more than a dozen schools. Yet, it's the end of January and we still don't know where we will be next year.
It took time, about 30 job applications, and a personal commitment to do whatever it would take to get our applications noticed, but we've finally nailed down some interviews. In fact, we have nailed down interviews with 7 schools almost all in the past week. It has been damn exhausting.
We are now hovering on this border of belonging somewhere, choosing our next home, but still not knowing where that path will lead. No more are we refreshing our Search Associates portal every half-hour to see if new jobs have been posted. We're beyond that at this point (although I do check a couple times each day). Instead we're sitting here with quite a few rather decent potentials for next year, but still no definitive answers. I don't know how else to describe it other than painful.
We had our priorities in the beginning. We were going to only apply for jobs in Africa or South America, because we wanted one of those continents for our next travel hub. Of course we wanted a school with a good reputation, a good package, and decent savings potential. Why live in these destinations if you can't enjoy them? Western Europe? Never. Back to Asia? Not ideal. Middle East? Also a no. Where do we stand with those seven interviews (actually nine if you count two previous schools that didn't work out)? Two schools in Asia, two in the Middle East, three in Western Europe, one in the USA (gasp), and one in the Caribbean. Life has its own way of showing you that you cannot plan for everything. Africa/South America goal not met. For a teaching couple who need two specialized positions at the same school we really have to just see what comes available and weigh our options. So far, these are what we have.
We are excited, but I think a better word to use would be "anxious." We know that the choice we make over the course of the next couple of weeks will determine the next chapter in our book of life. We're going to be okay, but until we know something for certain we're just hanging out... biding our time. Trying to enjoy our last few months in Ukraine and refrain from eating too much junk food while I peel my nails to the quick.
I'm finishing with this absolutely beautiful rendition of "Africa"... because we, too, seem to have missed the rains. Watch it. I cried.