Tag Archives: English

It’s Impossible!

It’s next to impossible and the challenges are close to insurmountable.  That’s the impression websites give as they try to sell their services.  People say the same thing in blogs.  To land an English teaching job in Chile, you are told the best way is to enter the country on a tourist visa, get a job, and then obtain a work visa.  For an exorbitant fee some companies will place you in a teaching position.  I was ready and willing to go the route of entering Chile as a tourist and then getting a job but Raeski is a bit more cautious and liked the idea of having jobs before we arrived so we gave one of those placement companies a try.

Of all the temperate places in Chile, Santiago is our last choice.  Our preference is to live where the air is clear and people are more social.  With 12 million people, Santiago doesn’t pass the air quality test.  So of course this is where we were offered jobs at different universities.  We accepted the jobs simply because they got us into the country on work visas.  We would fulfill the contract, learn how things really work, and next year move to a different city.  All was well in Wooly and Raeski land until my job offer was rescinded.  Since Santiago wasn’t our optimal destination we decided not to take Raeski’s offer.

Because we don’t allow failure to stand in the way of success, we decided to take the impossible route of sending out resumes and hoping for call backs.  And it worked!  Both of us have been hired as English teachers at the Chilean Naval Academy in Valparaiso, Chile.  Not only did we get jobs in a much smaller and cleaner coastal city, the jobs are in the same building.

Sometimes saying no to the impossible works!


Reinventing a Life

Big changes are on the horizon for Wooly and Raeski.  The origin of the changes date back to a singular question Wooly asked during one of those internal conversions we all worry about afterwards.  After experiencing a couple of life altering changes, Wooly was thinking of a ways to salvage being able to travel the world extensively in retirement with less money.  Although the intention was to start after we retired; life has a way of disrupting the best laid plans.

Have you ever worn a pair of golden handcuffs?  The job related kind?  My work-life has blessed me with jobs I loved and those that taught me to appreciate the good ones.  Last year I was mired in a situation I knew I needed to change.  The pay and bonuses were great but I was not a good fit for the position.  After a discussion with my boss I was given a couple of months to find a position within the company.  Unfortunately I couldn’t secure a position so my employment ended February 4th this year.

This has also been a year of change for Raeski.  Last year she chose to retire and subsequently struggled with reduced demands on her schedule.  Yes, she’s one of ‘those’ people who like work and being a productive member of society.  Her solution was to return to the teaching profession as a mentor.  It was a short contract that left our summer open for travels which I will share in future posts.

But back to the curve ball tossed at Wooly.  Everyone has their own way of coping with change.  Mine is to move forward and don’t look back.  After my agenda was unceremoniously cleared I returned to school and earned a Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification.

Inspiration sometimes comes from unexpected sources.  While I was in school I was asked by a friend if I missed work.  My immediate answer was, “I haven’t missed one second!” which that evening, as I laid in bed, led to another one of those internal conversations accompanied by loss of sleep.  If I haven’t missed work for one second, why would I ever consider returning to a similar position in the future?  And that my friends, was my question of the year that led to ‘The Decision’.

If I didn’t like what I used to do, then do something else!  While a simple concept, the execution isn’t always quite as simple.  However that TEFL certificate was about to open some doors and maybe straighten that curve ball life tossed at me.  It was simple!  Why not move our retirement plans forward a few years and travel the world as English teachers.  Raeski, a highly credentialed and respected teacher in her own right, and the brains of the family, probably would land a teaching position very easily.  And so a plan was set into motion to move forward as English teachers in foreign lands.

Teaching English will provide a way for us to travel the world learning, seeing and experiencing it from the eyes of a resident, not a tourist.  It will allow us to become immersed in the local culture while providing a valuable service to others.  Raeski can continue to be a productive member of society, albeit not the one she grew up in.

So how does all this affect you, readers of our travel blog?  For one, I will be able to write about destinations in more detail.  I will also include snippets from our new expat life.  Hopefully our experiences can inspire others to evaluate themselves and live life with more passion and in more meaningful ways.

So stay tuned as Wooly and Raeski move forward with a move to South America in February.  And there will also be photos and posts of our travels this summer.  We will share our adventures and misadventures as we traveled to more than a dozen national parks and monuments in Canada and the U.S.