us ESL teachers are a transient bunch. it’s common for people to teach english for nine months to a year before heading back to wherever they came from. i always thought that i would share this fate… until things greatly improved financially, we met more contacts and realized– hey, we could totally stay here for longer. life is good! i certainly didn’t anticipate my life abroad teaching english to be much more lucrative than a life in seattle slinging coffee and interning for positions that will never materialize into jobs, but hey.
living in the czech republic is a bit different than the rest of western europe, but it’s also quite different than living in eastern europe, too. a middle ground that we’ve come to appreciate for it’s low cost of living, rich history, and close proximity to many other places of interest. and it’s certainly grown on me! i love learning new phrases in czech, drinking a $1.25 beer, and the laid-back attitude in south bohemia, but after living and working here for a year and a half (come june), it will be long enough that we have to take a step back and ask, “is continuing to live here what we really want?”
man, it’s a touch decision. here in budějovice we both have excellent jobs that are flexible, pay well, and give us plenty of time off. our flat is near the center and is BEAUTIFUL, with great landlords too. (who else can claim that?!) we are very close with our students and their families, our cost of living to salary ratio is very favorable, and we feel wanted here…… these things are known quantities. i can rely on these truths.
and yet, we live 2+ hours away from the next major city, which made me realize just how much of a city gal i’ve become. everyone speaks a strange (to me) slavic language when i’m over here trying to learn german since my university days. i miss smiles, friendliness, and not getting glared at by a bitchy-resting-faced old lady with a dyed red mullet. the city is perfectly fine but not particularly inspirational… more like “great for right now”. i don’t see this place as somewhere that i could think about living my life long-term: getting a dog, eventually having a kid (although maternity policies in czech republic are absolutely unmatched compared to the rest of europe, so maybe i should reconsider).
so, all of this begs the questions: if all of the above are so great, why would we move? is living near the ocean, or in germany, or in a big city a good enough reason to leave a fabulous job and flat? would i be mental to leave those things behind? i mean, people relocate for less than that… and here, we already have it. this decision was pretty easy for me in seattle (helloooo, european adventure!), but the lines are much more unclear now. dare i say it…. blurred?
Q for other expats, have you ever been faced with the choice to relocate? what did you base it on? was it easy or hard for you to choose?