My journey to teaching in Saudi Arabia

I’m a teacher who started later than most. Although I dreamed of being a teacher back when I was probably 13 years young I didn’t become one until the age of 38. And I’m not the type of teacher I thought I would be. In the sense of a licensed elementary school teacher. 

That’s what I had dreamed of being.  What I thought I’d be way back when. But it wasn’t meant to be.

What changed?

Well, first, I had to go through life choosing many different roads. I went into the military at 18 and did that for four years.  After that I didn’t have a clue of what to do next and for sure didn’t want to go to college. I think that was fear of not being college material.  Whatever that means. 😉

I just wanted to be a civilian and work. And boy did I do that. I got a job at a retirement home in Austin, Texas.  Working with the elderly, many who had Alzheimers, was both rewarding and heart on the heart. As much as I enjoyed it i needed more income. Which had me working at the airport.  But money was tight and so I got a job as a correctional officer. After that I ended working security and home health care.  

I was 23, suffices it to say I had a lot of energy.  

I met someone and thought I was in love. So much so that I packed my little Ford Focus and moved my buttocks to Houston.  Which is where my love interest was from. 

I didn’t know anything about that giant city, but I had my love and it was enough.  Until it wasn’t.  Until I realized I was still not ready for commitment. But I have no regrets.  Houston turned out to be a cool place to live.  Plenty of jobs were available.  And I went back into working in the prison system.  

I even got a promotion. Which had me back in Ft. Worth, where I grew up, near it anyway. 

But the big city was calling my name and so was my next romantic relationship.  So I returned to Houston. 

My longest relationship was that year…yes that’s one year. Hey, I just can’t do commitments.  Don’t judge. 😉

My itch to see more of the world–and not be with anyone–had me go back into the military. But before I left I fell in love, again. Though I had wondered if I had ever really loved. Or just loved the idea of love. But I digress. 

Though I wanted to stay I had made a commitment to join the armed forces.  And I stuck to it. Hoping my relationship would persevere.  But it didn’t.  And I was ok. The military was a bit of love for me. There was discipline.  There was order. And there was the opportunity to see more of the planet.  Not to mention gain a lot of experience.  

It wasn’t always great. Being a woman in a predominantly man’s world made for some not so fun moments. I always felt like I had to be on top of my game. To show the fellas that I was just as deserving of being there as they were. 

But I like challenges and I got through it. 

Until I injured my back in a military vehicle accident.  I tried everything to get better.  But it wasn’t meant to be.

So, in 2001–five months before the world trade center attacks–I got out of the military.  

Got back into security and then back into corrections.  

But more importantly–at the young age of 32–started my journey into higher education.  And at 36 I graduated with a degree in psychology.  

Which was AMAZING! First in my family to graduate from a four year college.  

Though I still had no clear direction of where to go next. By time I graduated I was back with security.  But I knew that was not where I was meant to stay.

After deep soul searching and much prayer I found my way into teaching as a foriegn language. And after deeper soul searching and many more prayers I found myself in Saudi Arabia.  

A place I found purpose in-with feeling like I’m making a difference.  A place I’ve come to love.  The people more than the place anyway.  

But is this where I’ll stay? On and off for nine years now. More and more I feel it’s time to go. To leave the classroom.  To turn the page of my big fat life book and start a new chapter. Maybe in Saudi, doing something different, or maybe leaving, this time permanently, Saudi. 

No one can doubt my commitment to my students and to my purpose.  Which has lasted longer than I ever thought it would. And for that I’ll be forever grateful. 

I may not know, fully, where I’ll be come December, but for now I’m so glad God brought me to here. To today. To teaching in Saudi Arabia. 

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