In the last month, from September 4th to October 4th, we’d been to 12 places (cities or towns.) 12! In one month.~ Sometimes you don’t realize how much you’re doing until you look back.
Those places were: Alicante, Spain for me/ Jerusalem and Tel Aviv for my mom and Grace –> Poznan, Poland –> Gdansk –> Malbork –> Warsaw –> Wroclaw –> Brno, Czechia –> Bratislava, Slovakia –> Vienna, Austria –> Ljubljana, Slovenia –> Lake Bled –> Bohinjska Bistrica
And of course, these days (it’s been almost two years already!) I have an online job to report to, so there’s that stress of needing to find a quiet spot with excellent wifi before I teach classes. every.time.we.change.location. (And that can be several times- different accommodation- within the same city.) Thankfully my contract hours are in the evening to night Beijing time, which is the morning to afternoon in Europe. That certainly helps. 🙂
And it’s really funny– since I’m so often staying in hostels and there’s ALWAYS someone still sleeping in the room– I usually teach in some common area or even kitchen, which means there’s a good chance someone will have to hear my lessons— even though I try to be quiet. XD It’s proven to be a great way to meet people! 😛
Most of the time people ask me about my classes after I finish. Many even want to know how they can begin the same job themselves.
It still amazes me that I have a job that allows me to continue with this lifestyle, while at the same time doing what I love: working with language and people. It’s awesome.
As another teacher who lives on the road said,
“We will never be rich, but we will fully enjoy it.”
This year so far (not cut and dry, but more or less) our months were spent in these places:
January: Portugal and Ireland (Also Holland for me.)
February, March, April: Bodrum, Turkey
June: North Macedonia
July: Jerusalem, Israel
August (mom and Grace): Jerusalem / August (me): Spain
September: Poland, Slovakia
North Macedonia, Poland (but we already knew- twas our second visit!), and Slovenia have been the gems for us this year. My mom also fell in love with Ireland. I, on the other hand, found it utterly boring. (Sorry XD) And my mom loved being in Jerusalem again, as difficult as it can be to live there.
We were in Portugal to help a friend, Ireland for a quick 8 day visit, then flew off to Turkey to wait out some of the winter. Just before our 90-day Turkish visa burned out, we bused over to start exploring more of Eastern Europe and the Balkans with Bulgaria and North Macedonia.
We stopped for a whole month in Struga on Lake Ohrid in North Macedonia because it was so beautiful, pleasant, and affordable. (Amazing place~ Highly recommend!)
But after so much time in “developing” areas, my mom was tired and in need of a little “home.” So although we were just seven miles up the road from the border with Albania, we instead took a long bus ride back to Skopje, capital of North Macedonia, then a bus to Thessaloniki, Greece and then a plane to Israel– the place that’s most like home for my mom than anywhere else outside the US and New Brunswick, Canada.
We were supposed to rent a room in a shared apartment for two months in Jerusalem, but our 22 year-old American roommate turned out to be a complete nightmare. We finished out the first month, then my mom was able to find an apartment right in the heart of a local Jewish neighborhood, in the Mehane Yehuda shuk vicinity!
She and Grace would hang out there and suss out the secrets to the dynamic of life in Jerusalem (the most confusing place we’ve ever encountered), and I? I was off to Spain!
We were all feeling a bit dry in the summer months, I guess. My mom needed home, I needed time with friends and time alone.
So in August:
My mom discovered new insights about Jerusalem, met cool people and shared the gospel, and I got to see some of my favorite people: Virginia, Elena, and Maria- Spanish women with whom we traveled for a month in Cambodia. And Sandra and Juan, the kindest Spanish couple ever, whom we met on a tiny island in the Philippines.
It was also good to spend some weeks alone and with new hostel friends– giving me time in my own head space. (Full-on introvert speaking here XD Anyone relate?)
I was finally able to try out blablacar, a ride sharing app, too– which I’d been curious about for a while.
However Grace didn’t do so well that month and definitely doesn’t seem to understand what happens when a family member goes away for some time.
Lately she has been doing much better and the owners of our hotel here in Slovenia have been getting her fresh goats milk from their neighbors. Between all the hiking, goats milk, and healthy olive oil, Grace is getting some great nutrition for her body and brain.
We still have a goal of reaching Tirana, the capital of Albania, where there’s a special needs program run by Americans. We’d like to see if it could be something good for Grace– she needs a social life too. I’m sure she gets sick of my mom and I plenty of the time.
We’ll jump over the border to Croatia near the end of the month, and go from there. Let’s see what happens next!