Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Vive libre, muere bien.

On the road between Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, Chile

So, this doesn't exactly have to do with jewelry, but since the freedom and independence to do as I please is a big part of why I choose to run my own business, and this new venture I'm hoping to embark on has to do with that as well, I consider the two related.

To everyone who's innocuously asked me in recent years, "So, what are you going to do with that Spanish degree? Teach?" I apologize for blowing you off with a skeptical, "Ha, no way." I wish I could give a clear reason for that automatic reaction, but I'm not even clear about it myself. When I was a kid, my answer to, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" was for awhile, "The coolest bestest teacher ever!" (well, among movie star and secret agent, that is.) Why did that change? Why have I found myself taking part-time or temporary jobs in education, but never making the connection that, "Hey, maybe this isn't the nightmare that you seem to have convinced yourself it could be"? I enjoy teaching. I really do. But I'm realizing that I don't think the teaching itself has been the problem after all.

When I started DSC, I was a 20 year old community college student who'd never officially declared a major, but had enough random coursework to be halfway to about ten of them. I was working a part-time, dead-end job and hating every minute of it. In a nutshell, I had no clue what I wanted. But I did know very fiercely what I did NOT want: to be spending the rest of my life working for someone else (yes, "The Man," if you will), being miserable for 40 hours a week, and scheduling the rest of my time around what was convenient for them instead of looking out for myself. Let me channel that previous version of myself for a second to say, "@#$@# that!"

I did finally find a bit of direction several years later and ended up studying Spanish at a four year university - a subject I'd excelled in in high school and had originally planned to study upon graduation, but had then panicked and backed out of. And then those studies unexpectedly took me to the other side of the globe. To Chile, to be exact. I spent my final semester frolicking lost through a foreign terrain, deciphering an accent that most non-Chilean native Spanish speakers can barely understand themselves, and finding my way through a city so outside my comfort zone that it may as well have been Mars to me.

And I loved every minute of it.

I feel like I'm starting to ramble, but I guess my point is that it turns out teaching isn't what I'm afraid of. What I'm afraid of is the mundane. I'm terrified of falling into a comfortable routine, getting settled and trapped in a career I'm only ambivalent about, and then ultimately never leaving it for bigger and better things.

So what's the point of all this? Basically, the point is that ever since I returned home from those five months abroad, so many of the things I've been doing have almost unknowingly been with the goal of getting back out there again for more of those kinds of experiences. Maybe I'm nuts, but there's something about the freedom of NOT having a steady paycheck coming in, the freedom to just pick up and take off whenever I want, that I can't see myself ever giving up. Due to circumstances, my current job will be ending at the end of the summer, and honestly, instead of panicking about what I'll do next, I'm very much looking forward to my upcoming freedom and the mystery of which path I'll find myself on next.

There is a catch to this blog entry ;) The reason I was inspired to pour all this out was because, like fate, I received an email this week about an opportunity to win a scholarship for a Teaching English as a Foreign Language program in South America. I signed up immediately. Teach AND travel? Really? Don't have to tell me twice. So I whipped up an essay (which is basically a more polished version of my rambling here), and now I'm turning to you guys. I'll make this happen regardless of whether I get this particular scholarship or not, but I thought I'd put it out there to see what kinds of good vibes I may get from it:

If you follow that link, you'll find the short essay I wrote for this scholarship competition. If you're so inclined, please just hit "like" next to my name, as the judging is partially based on how popular each entry is. That's it.

If not, that's okay too though. If you've made it this far, I appreciate your just having read through this long ramble and hope that it's made at least some sense, and maybe even rung true. I know a lot of people who read this are fellow free spirits, and I feel pretty confident that I'm in good company with you all.

Vive libre and all that :)


ImagesByCW said...

I just found your blog through EtsyNJ and followed the link for the scholarship, but it does not work, anymore? Because I would have loved to support it. I am all for going abroad and getting to know other cultures. Good luck with your endeavours!

Deepshade Creations said...

Thanks for reading and for the luck! I guess I should update and remove the link since it ended awhile ago. I wasn't chosen unfortunately, but I'm looking into other programs, and definitely plan to make something happen one way or another. And yes, I couldn't agree with you more! :)

capitalcitycrafts said...

Fantastic story! I wish I had your sense of adventure, best of luck!