In 2009 I'm going to either the Ukraine or Russia to teach English.
That decision came to me during a pathetic bout of self pity in which I locked myself in my apartment for an entire weekend and thought about what I wanted to do with my life.
Self-pity and pathetic introspection, memorable for getting drunk on your own and reliving events in your memory that may or may not have actually happened, are periods not generally associated with making good decisions.
It started on the Friday, and I replayed in my head everything that had led me to where I am now. I was engaged when I moved here from Ontario. My fiance, J, and I had been together for six years. We had met while working at a resort in Banff, Alberta. She was from Nova Scotia, and I was from Ontario, so we bought a crappy '87 Honda Civic and drove from Alberta to the Atlantic. We taught English in South Korea for 2 years, got to travel Asia, experience the Tsunami in 2005, and generally had a crazy life experience.
Next, we lived in Kitchener, Ontario, for a year, then came out to Port Hardy to monitor the commercial fisheries. Our wedding was set for July 2008.
Then she cheated on me.
Thank god that happened before the wedding. She had actually been having an affair with a 50-year old skipper of a fishing trawler for months but she left me in April 2008.
So then I found myself single in a town of 3500 people. I dated a couple of girls, but nothing serious.
So then I started thinking about changing my life (again). Where would I go? Victoria? Vancouver? Back to Ontario? Then a Russian friend of mine on Facebook sent me a nice message, just saying hello.
And that's when I started to think of getting outside the box, so to speak. What's for me in Canada? My friends and family are in Ontario, but they're used to me being gone. I'm 32 and have no assets, and within a few years it will be too late to do the things I've always wanted to do.
I want to see the sights of Europe and the World War Two battlefields. How am I going to spend thousands of dollars for a lightning 2 week tour of Europe?
So I started doing research. Yes, teaching English in eastern Europe is a big industry! It doesn't pay well but if I wanted money I could stay in Port Hardy. It pays enough. And demand is fairly high. And why not?
What a great idea! I'm off to Russia to teach English!
The Monday after that weekend I emerged from the dark recesses of my apartment with a renewed sense of purpose and what felt like a renewed lease on life. Ironically enough it was cloudy and raining outside, but no matter. I quickly made an excuse to hang out with my friend T and 'casually' exclaimed that I was moving to Russia. I couldn't wait to see the look on her face when I announced this ludacrous plan for adventure. I'm such an adventurous guy, aren't I?
To my disappointment she simply shrugged, said "Cool" and continued to talk about her experiences as an At-Sea-Observer on west coast fishing trawlers (more on that later).
Okay, so T didn't bite but she's got her own plate full of problems to deal with in Port Hardy. I know, I'll announce to my other friend, S (who happens to be T's roomate).
S wasn't around for some reason. Maybe she was at work. I felt somewhat deflated that people were going about their usual lives. I was going to RUSSIA! Come on people! Who goes to Russia? Isn't this exciting?
I told about 10 other people over the course of the next couple of days. Some were somewhat sympathetic (or at least acting) but most simply shrugged as if to say "Ya, well I'm going to buy some vegetables tonight. Big deal".
For about two weeks after that fateful weekend I embarked on a propoganda campaign with the goal of forcing people to be wowed by my decision. I think most just grew sick of it.
It's not my fault, really. I had been stuck in Port Hardy for over two years and I was, well, bored. I was getting out of there and off to something completely ridiculous but for everyone else life in this small town would continue, with or without me.
I gave my notice to my boss (again, not much of a response except for a sarcastic "Nas Drovviya") and then prepared to dive back into the world of international ESL.
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