Thursday, March 12, 2015

Think Like An American

For the past several months, my employment slash vaguely career-oriented path has taken a vastly optimistic turn. Back in November, I finally landed myself a job that fit the much-needed bill of not only working incredibly well with my bizarro world schedule, but also giving me a decent amount of money to boot. Since I am notoriously almost irreparably damaged when it comes to finances, having a consistent income could never be a bad thing. This job of which I brag and boast is at a school dedicated to English exam preparation, aka TOEFL, GMAT, SAT, etc... I currently teach the TOEFL, but have been slowly being considered for SAT, essay writing, and it looks like I will be captaining the currently flailing social media ship... taking the wheel and taking control, one might say. Prior to this job, I was doing my best to patchwork together enough private students to make a living... Epic. Fail. That being said, we live and learn and as is always the case with my dancing through glitter stars style of existence, when it rains it pours, good or bad.

The one double-edged sword about this job is that I have quickly fallen back into my old tendency to work like a fiend, at odd hours, nights, weekends, and all of the above. Now, the good news is that it allows me an enormous amount of flexibility, so I still attend French school (when so inclined), fit in a dance class, take guitar lessons, though I have many a creative brainwave making its way onto a nice long list of thoughts I need to manage my time well enough to actually conquer. My social life is also blooming again as the temperature rises and the sun begins to thaw, making my schedule even more incomprehensible. I'm also trying to fit in various forms of exercise, signed up for another 5k next month, but either have not nearly enough time to eat or want to gorge myself on anything edible. 

Now don't get me wrong, I am never ever happier than when my schedule is fit to bursting and I can enjoy the trials and tribulations of confidence, fulfillment, and a brain active enough to not create quite so many dramatic interpretations as normal. My head held high, I wander the streets aware of how lucky I am, how beautiful life can be, though also very much aware of how much more work there is to be done. The benefit of being raised in the United States, in a relatively privileged environment, and in a family with open enough minds and hearts to let me frolic the globe as I see fit is that I often really do believe that anything is possible. Perhaps naive, perhaps cliche, perhaps living in the fairy tale world I so often yearn for. I don't shield myself from tragedy or heartbreak or the realities lingering far closer to home than we can ever imagine. At the same time, it's not such a terrible thing to feel confident and productive, maybe work a bit too much, maybe speak a bit too loudly, maybe even feel I am right just a bit too often. 

Still, there are a great many times when I am working with one of my students and I see that their confidence is waning. They feel insecure about speaking in English or unsure about their future goals. It is much more common in the French culture to be trained in one career path that you follow till your dying days. An older country means that traditions are embedded that much more deeply. As a girl from the United States who has had a billion jobs, creative interests and life paths, sometimes changing daily, I don't see walls without immediately brainstorming ways to conquer them. And I certainly don't speak without doing it at a hefty decibel. When trying to get them through what can be a strange and trixy little English exam, I often tell them to go ahead and think like an American. For better or worse, own it, use it, fight for it, and never do it quietly.

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