Monday, July 12, 2010

More questions answered

Now that summer is definitely in full swing and we're seeing some friends/family for the last time for a while, we're getting a lot of the same questions. I thought, in the absence of any news on the visa front, we should take some time to answer those questions for those of you we don't get to see face-to-face:

1. When are you leaving? This one's a frustrating one, because the answer is still "We don't know." It's JULY. Why don't we have a departure date!? I've been pestering our new boss for any sort of news about how the process is going, but I just get the same answer: no news. We're still hoping to leave by mid-August so we have the chance to travel around some of Europe before we arrive in the "big sandy," as our friend Kimmie has dubbed Saudi Arabia.

2. Where in Europe do you want to travel? Well, since nothing's for sure, we have not really solidified any plans for Europe either. We know we'll be going to Amsterdam, a city I've never visited and the Mister has only seen the airport. We'd like to spend about a week there doing the touristy stuff, and then head to Belgium. I think Belgium's one of those random countries that isn't really high on anybody's lists of places to visit before they die. At least, that was its status on my list before this whole process started. The Mister wants to visit some WWII battle fields and historic sites. And of course we have a few Trapist breweries to visit, as the Mister keeps reminding me.

3. Are you getting scared or excited? I'm DEFINITELY getting excited. I think restless would probably be a better answer. Now that we're in temporary housing mode, I really want to just get on the plane and go. My teacher friends are starting to get their classrooms together and I've usually got at least the first week of school planned by now. But this year I'm just kind of waiting for paperwork to process. I have no idea how to begin planning for this school year, and I won't have even left the country by the time America goes back to school. So yes, I'm excited, and restless, and only moderately scared.

4. How are you getting all your stuff over there? Well, here's the beautiful part: The school is providing us a furnished apartment, so we don't have to bring any furniture, kitchen stuff, and general household items. We've got all our worldly possessions whittled down to 16 rubbermaid tubs and 4 suitcases. We'll be taking 5 tubs and all the suitcases with us and that's ALL! We'll hopefully be able to put the tubs on a cargo ship bound for big Sandy, because that'd save us a lot of money. But if that doesn't work out, we'll just FedEx the tubs and pay baggage fees for the extra suitcases when we leave.

5. So wait, what made to choose Saudi Arabia?! It's not like we set out on this international job search hoping and praying for a position to open up in Saudi. Really, our only preference was that the school not be in North America. Saudi really wasn't on our radar, but after the interview back in February, we really felt like this was the school where we were meant to be. We didn't search out the school, the school found us. We're registered with Search Associates, an agency that staffs international schools. I describe is a being similar to, but for international schools. When we went to a job fair organized by Search, we were able to interview with lots of schools, and the experience was GREAT. We quickly figured out that a lot of schools wouldn't even consider talking to us until we had some international experience, and a lot of times international teachers have to start in the "less desirable" locations. Thus, of the job offers we got, Saudi won! Who knows where we'll go next.

6. So, are you going to just make boatloads of money? The short answer: not really. We'll pretty much be making the same amount of gross income as we made in the States, but the big advantage is there is ZERO tax. And since our housing and utilities will be paid for, we'll have very few expenses. We'll be putting one salary directly into a savings account, and living on the other one, so we'll be set up for a while if we decide to come back to the States after our two years in Saudi.

We leave on Tuesday to visit friends and family and then we head to DC to ::fingers crossed:: work out at least one visa and then continue up the East coast. Here's hoping for safe travels and few delays!

Vicariously yours,

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