Decisions I made, after I became very sick.

Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to publish a post in one hour. Here is tonight’s challenge:

“Write about a decision you made that changed the course of your life for better or worse.”

When I got sick, and was just able to sit on the couch for about 2,5 months, I had a lot of time to think. I knew something was wrong with my body, but I also knew that I wasn’t happy with a few things in my life. Of course I went to the doctor to figure out what was physically wrong with me (as you can read here), but I also reflected on my life so far.

I came up with a few things I wanted to change:

  • I wanted to quit my job.
  • I wanted to start writing a book.
  • I wanted to life in a smaller house.
  • I wanted to start focusing on one country, the US.

So, after I realized those were things bothering me, I made a plan. I told my boss I wanted to quit my job when the school year ended, because that would be the best way for everyone (my students, my colleagues, the parents and me). That immediately made me feel better. If I look back on my time there, I see that I did what I always do: I got into it for a 100% (some people would say 200%, but that simply isn’t possible), and I forgot about me. I didn’t take time to think about what I wanted, all my time was committed to that school. I know I did a great job there, but I also knew my heart wasn’t in it anymore. There was no challenge left.

I noticed that I wasn’t looking forward to another year of doing exactly the same thing. For some reason this has always been the case with me. If I know I am capable of something, I get bored. That’s probably why I have taught in five different groups in the Netherlands, became an I.B.-er (kind of like a counselor/Learning Behavior Specialist here), got my Master’s degree in Special Educational Needs (while being pregnant from son #2), did courses on autism, specialized in giftedness all by myself, specialized in mind mapping all by myself, took a course in dealing with exciting complaint situations and one in domestic violence and child abuse, started teaching the gifted kids at our school and that was about it. I did all of this in a part time job.

Anyway, I decided I wanted to become a Learning Behavior Specialist here, in the US. That would mean new challenges, because although my English is already pretty good, my ‘teaching-vocabulary’ isn’t sufficient yet. That’s why, in the last few months of school, I decided to ask for an internship at both my boys schools. They already knew me, because I am a substitute within their school district too. I was very happy when three teachers said they wanted to have me as their intern. I figured that would be the only way to learn what I had to learn, as fast as I could.

And off I went to 6th grade language arts, 1st grade and GE Math. In the beginning it felt strange to be an intern again, but hey, I knew why I was doing it. I had a goal. That works for me. I worked hard, and learned a lot. I am still not done, but I have a lot of vocabulary in my system now. I feel much more secure about it. And that’s what counts.

I also went to the Kendall Regional Office of Education and asked the lady that helped me really well, while I was trying to become a substitute for help. Both of my universities have filled out forms for me, my former school district in the Netherlands is my next ‘victim’, haha. After that I think I am almost good to go. The only but is, that I became sick, and that included a body that wasn’t capable of doing what I wanted to do. I got uncertain if I would be capable of becoming a (probably full time) Learning Behavior Specialist.

Now I know, or I am fairly certain that I have rheumatoid arthritis, because my second week of prednisone is working. I can do what ever I want, but this also means that I almost certainly have RA. I was told today though, that a lot of people with RA get meds that work really well. And that I would surely, with the right attitude, be able to work full time. That made me so happy! Of course I am not there yet, but I will get there.

My next point of change was writing a book, I have wanted this since I was a child. Right now I have two ideas for books in my head. I am not sure which idea I want to start with. I will figure that out this week, because as of this week I am a member of the ‘ChicagoNow Accountability Write Club’. This means that I have to post my week goals every Wednesday, and I have to make sure I meet them.

For this week my goals were: taking part in blogapalooza night, writing one blog and starting up my first book, by making a mind map on my white board. So yeah, part one is almost done. Ha! I already have three stories in my head for the other blog I am going to write and yes, I will start with my book, on my white board. Not sure which one though…

My third point on my list was living in a smaller house. Although I love the house that I live in right now, it is simply too big. It is a lot of unnecessary space, space that we don’t need at all. I think I would feel much better in a smaller house, because that would be cozier. It would mean less space to maintain, more time to spend on things I love. I’d rather spend my money on trips then on a house. A house doesn’t get me anywhere. I know some people find a big house very important, but not me. I don’t have to prove myself in that way. I’d rather prove myself in being happy, in being there for myself and others. A big house doesn’t make me happier. It wears me out.

Before we moved to this big house (3821 sqft), we lived in a much smaller house (2328 sqft) and I just liked the neighborhood better, the people living in those smaller houses just seemed nicer. More interested in their neighbors, more willing to help each other out. It might also have something to do with the fact that a lot of people both work full time in the neighborhood that we live in right now. The children of those people are nowhere to be found during the day. The beautiful big park that we have in front of our big house, is usually empty. I think those children are at camps during the day (in summer time) and at clubs during school time. I would like my kids to be able to play outside with friends, to enjoy their youth while they can (of course, when I become a full time LBS that will change too, but they would still have the late afternoon, evenings and weekends).

This rent is up at the end of the year, so we are already looking for a cozier house, with a big garden, preferably on a cul-de-sac, near a playground, with plenty of kids that play outside. Hopefully we will succeed in finding our paradise.

Last, but not least, is focusing on one country. Being an expat is hard. You live in a house that isn’t yours, you live in a country that you don’t know (yet) and you don’t know where you will be within the next year. We chose to stay in the US, because this simply feels as our home now. Whenever we go back to the Netherlands, it just doesn’t feel right anymore. I had that feeling very fast. I just love the kind people here, the space (outside, not in my house ;-)) and the beautiful nature.

I am hoping we can build a strong future here. But hey, you never know what the future holds (I might get bored again), it might still bring us to another country for a few years, that’s fine, as long as the US  stays our base. Everyone need a base.

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Filed under: Blogapalooza

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