What Comes Next?

Since I’ve been back in site, I’ve found myself feeling like I don’t have anything to write about. My primary job—co-teaching English in the secondary schools—doesn’t start until the beginning of the school year in February. We kind of got here at a weird time, just as school was wrapping up. So what are we doing for the next couple months?

Mostly, we’re trying to integrate into our families and communities. We’re trying to form relationships with our counterparts before we start teaching together. We’re assessing the needs and wants in our communities.

Personally, I have two main things scheduled for the break: Access Camp in a couple weeks and teaching English at the university. The other day, I went to the local university to express interest in teaching there on the weekends, which I assumed would start in January. I was wrong. My first day is tomorrow, and every Sunday for the next few months, I’ll be teaching English. I kind of blinked and found myself roped in and committed.

Okay, so we’re doing this.

Nothing more to say on that front, so I’ll dive very shallowly into one of the questions the people in my community ask me the most: What are you doing after?

I understand how this keeps coming up. When I meet new people, I try to explain why I’m here (to teach English) and that I’ll be here for another two years. I am trying to help them see that I’m not just passing through or staying for a month. I’ll actually be living and working in the community.

And then comes the question, which I never quite know what to do with.

Will you go back to the United States in two years?

Will you be a teacher in the United States after being a teacher here?

What do you want to do after two years?

The answer to all of these questions is a *shrug* because I have no idea what I’ll be doing in two years. I can’t even say with certainty what country I’ll want to be living it. One decision I made when I decided to come to Nicaragua was to just allow myself to be here in this experience and not think about the future, and not think about where this leads. I have always been a planner. My parents think it’s hilarious, because I’m a pretty disorganized person, and even my best-laid plans usually change. The planning has never been about the end result, it’s about the process.

Here, in Nicaragua, I really don’t care about the big What Comes Next. This is obviously a time of massive change and adjustment, and all of my focus is on the short-term. I have to take all of this in baby steps and push the details of my many five-year plans to the back of my brain.

So, I’ve composed a list of certainties about 2018:

  • I’ll be 27.

That’s it. That’s the only thing I know. Right now, it feels foolish to assume I’ll know what I’ll want or how I’ll change in the next two years. Before I started grad school, I wanted to go into publishing. In the middle of grad school, while I was working for the Honors College, I developed a passion for higher education. I’ve changed my mind many times since then, and I’m sure I’ll continue to follow that pattern. There’s something really wonderful about not being sure, and I’m excited to just keep figuring things out as they happen.

2 thoughts on “What Comes Next?

  1. elliewick December 4, 2016 / 12:18 am

    It’s the same in Swaziland. We finished integration and schools are closing next week or already closed and there’s a two-month holiday that started last week. We are finally allowed to work on projects but the country is slowing down. It’s such weird timing.


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