Young, Black, and Abroad
The days were drawing closer. I had worked for it. I had paid for it. I had prayed for it. I was 27 years old and I was moving abroad. I don’t really remember when the desire began, but for a solid few years I had dreamed of living abroad. Somewhere between Michael Brown and Sandra Bland, I found myself in the midst of an inner combat. I felt powerless and angry, scared and ashamed. I longed to leave America. Not only for the outrageous living conditions for black people, but because I just knew there had to better beyond the imaginary wall Donald Trump was trying to build. And I was starting to feel like I had hit a glass ceiling in my teaching career. Eh, more like a glass cell. I had a Master’s degree in education (M.Ed) that no school wanted to pay me for having. Standardized testing and administrative loopholes were driving me crazy. And quite honestly, I was starting to feel like I was the only one who gave a fuck (although not being paid enough to) about the students. I mean the administrators didn’t give a fuck about anything but test scores. The parents didn’t give a fuck about whether or not their kids passed (except for when reports card came out), and the kids didn’t give a fuck about anything that wasn’t on Instagram or Snapchat. So why should I? So I figured, why shouldn’t I move to a place where I can be compensated for my talent and education, learn a new language, and not have to worry about a cop killing me on their day off or mine. More specifically, I wanted to move to Latin America, in order to become fluent in Spanish. And most people think I could of done that in Miami (my hometown), but technically you gotta dive in and get immersed. (get yo’ hands dirty) Anyways, I waited, waited, and waited some more, for what felt like an eternity. Waited for the right opportunity. Waited for the right pay. The right country (its really easy to get hired in Asia). Not sure what kind of sick lesson the universe was trying to teach me. And trust me job hunting abroad holds the same level of difficulty as job hunting in the states. The only difference is you can’t call or show up to handle business. (the way any good HBCU grad would) The job market for ESL teachers in Latin America is not as fluid as it is in other places like Asia and the Middle East. My first hurdle was finding out where to start. That part was somewhat easy, I followed my number one rule, “when in doubt, google it out, until you figure it out.” So googling took me to awesome sites like www.gooverseas.com, www.teachaway.com, and www.daveseslcafe.com. There was lots of sifting and of course you had to do that annoying ass thing where you upload your resume/CV but still have to fill out all of your jobs(WTF for, the world may never know). Narrowed it down to a few, right location, right job, right salary (in contrast to the cost of living). Finally, I found myself accepting a job with a university in Ecuador. I worked my buns off to save for what I thought would cover me until I got paid. I bid my brother adieu, kissed my mama, and made a last minute announcement via facebook. I wasn’t really sure what to pack so I bought one suitcase with necessary toiletries, my mantra board, and my dad’s obituary…I felt ready. I had volunteered in Ecuador during grad school, so I felt pretty confident in moving there. The hard part was over (or so I thought), I had left the people I loved to settle in a country where I had no friends, spent every bit of my savings to dream chase! Then my fantasies turned into reality T.V.
Stay tuned as I keep you up to date with my adventures being Young, Black, and Abroad….