I am proud that I threw most of my possessions into a skip. Now, why would I do that?
On Valentine’s day, 2011, while out for dinner with my lovely Fizdupette, we decided it was time to quit our jobs in Edinburgh and leave the country.
That moment was fantastically freeing. And, as I recall, there had been no build up to it. We hadn’t been discussing the pros and cons of leaving our lives in Scotland. The idea seemed to appear fully formed over dinner.
I had been working for eight years in a very run down school. The roll was falling because the kids who went there were often the kids that no other school in the city would take. For reasons like: they were violent, they were aggressive, they were idiots.
So, parents didn’t want to send their kids to us. Fair enough, really.
When I had begun teaching there, things had been good. The head teacher cared, the staff cared, and we were optimistic. The council had plans to build us a new school building. Things were going good.
Over the years, the plans for the new building were shelved. The head teacher was replaced a few times by people who didn’t care. I was told by one of them that my subject, Physics and science, was “not a priority” for the school.
I started to hate the place. I started to dread going there. I started phoning in sick once a month or so because I hated it.
I couldn’t see it, but Fizdupette says that it was affecting my mood at home. I was angry and drunk all the time.
So, we just said “fuck it, let’s get out of here”.
We got jobs teaching in a great school in Lima, Peru.
When we were having our farewell meals with family and friends, a constant refrain was “I am so jealous – I wish I could do what you are doing” and I really did wonder what was stopping people.
Being a native English speaker opens up so many travel and work possibilities. But you have to get off your ass and go.
I am from Northern Ireland, and people there do seem to think that it is the centre of the universe. Leaving that bubble really terrifies them. They like to stay close to family and the things that they know.
And what they don’t understand is that I left what was normal, and just made somewhere else be normal. I am proud that we just threw most of our possessions in a skip and arrived for a new life in a new country with five suitcases.
We are going home soon. We have quit our jobs and are heading to the Irish countryside for six months. That will be an adventure too.