Chapter Zero: the last 12 months, summarized.Well, if you know me well (and as far as I can tell, almost all followers of this blog do), then you know I've had quite a whirlwind year. Exactly a year ago, I got engaged to a wonderful Italian man. We had some lovely times both in California and in Italy. We spent New Year's Eve in Venice - a romantic dream. In February I spent three weeks in Israel chaperoning 50 high school students, in May and June I spent a couple of weeks in Brazil teaching Israeli dance and falling in love with that country, and in April I was in Italy again. It was pretty magical (and exhausting). In June I went back to camp for my 9th summer there (oh man). In August, we called off our wedding and a little while later, broke up for good.
Chapter One: the panic of What Now.The plan had been that we would get married in California in mid-October and then live in Italy until next June, when we moved back to the States in time for Summer #10. I took a one-year leave of absence from my school job and arranged to be away for about eight months. And then... now.. ohmigod.
So: funemployed? On the one hand, it's an amazing gift to end up with an 8-month unplanned break from work in the middle of my working life. On the other hand, it's for a sad reason and I'm sad. But hand #1 - oh, there are so many amazing things I can do with this time! Hand #2 - none are planned, it's too late to do many of them (spend a year teaching English in China, say), and OH THE GUILT. Also, OH THE PRESSURE TO NOT SQUANDER THE TIME. OH THE VOICE THAT IS WORRIED ABOUT WASTING TIME, ABOUT BEING LAZY, ABOUT BEING IRRESPONSIBLE. This is a loud voice.
White whine? First-world problem? ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY. No argument there.
Chapter Two: GTFO.So what to do with this time? I decided first that I wanted to use some of it to travel and visit friends and spend some quality time with people I love and people who remind me of who I am and want to be. I often go to the East Coast on trips of the I'm-here-for-48-hours-and-I-have-48-people-to-see variety, and that's not so fulfilling. Now I have some real time, so I'm planning to go and spend weeks in each of the places I usually have only hours. If you're a friend on the East Coast with whom I haven't yet made plans, get in touch and expect to see me sometime between late October and mid-December!
I don't have much money and I'm not working and OH THE GUILT OF NOT WORKING, so I can't fly all over. The plan now is to drive someone's car cross-country, visiting whomever I know in middle America (both of them), and then to drive up and down the East Coast in someone else's car. If you know anyone who has a car they'd be willing to lend (or rent) me for a week or more, or if you know anyone who has a car they need driven from basically any Point A to any Point B, let me know!
Those will be Road Trips #2 and #3. First, though, is Road Trip #1, up and down the West Coast, in my own car, alone. And we have come now to the birth of the Teach Erica Something World Tour.
Stay tuned (and wish me luck)!