I think I checked my phone ten times in one hour. I wanted to know how Tyler’s interview went. I wanted so bad for him to call with news that it went well, but part of me was scared about it. What if they liked him? What if they offered him the job? The implications were great. We’d have to change everything. I was really happy with my job, happy with our life. Did I want life to change?
On the other hand, how many times in life do you get the chance to live in another country and tour around Europe for two years? The experience would be great for the boys, and for me and Tyler in a lot of ways. I could use the time to write, to be a mom and volunteer in the boy’s classrooms, volunteer in Tyler’s classroom. That sounded sort of nice.
My phone rang. Tyler was done with his interview.
“How’d it go?”
“Um, it was okay. I don’t think I got it.”
My heart sank a little. “Why not?”
“The principal kept saying that he liked me, I have the right experience. But then he’d say, ‘I just wish I’d come here before I went to Chicago.’ I think the jobs are gone.”
“I could see why you’d think that. But what if it means that they were disappointed in the other candidates, like they wasted their time, and this is a good thing.” Is it a good thing? Ugh, another roll in the stomach.
“Maybe. I’ll be home soon.”
I sat at our kitchen island, the reality of what we were doing starting to sink in. Either way, I decided, I would be happy. Whether we went on a great big adventure, or whether we stayed. That didn’t make the next week go by any faster, though. I had the craziest dreams, and I found it incredibly hard not to say anything to my friends and coworkers. Our future hung in the air, just out of my reach, and my mouth was locked shut.
Then, the following Wednesday, just short of a full week after the interview, Tyler called me again. “I didn’t get it,” he told me. “They said maybe next year, but they don’t have any more positions open. right now.” He sounded more disappointed than I’d thought he would be. To be honest, I was more disappointed than I thought I would be as well. I told myself that I wasn’t getting my hopes up, but that’s exactly what I’d done. In my mind, life was changing already. How long would it take to undo that change? to get back to “normal”? If I had it to do over again, I would have told more people about the interview so I’d have more people to talk to when it didn’t happen.
But life went on. I worked to keep myself from being disheartened. Maybe I could just make more time for all those things I wanted, more time to travel, to be with my family and to work on my writing. It’s okay, I thought, it’ll all be just fine.
It was a mild overcast day, the kind of February in Colorado where no coat is needed, maybe just a hoodie or a sport coat. Before I left the Jeep and walked into my interview I got a encouraging phone call from my father in-law, Bruce wishing me luck and prayers. I psyched myself up full of mental positivity for a important interview.
My hands shook when I signed into the reception area, and took a few deep breaths while I waited nearby for the interview to start. As I sat there in my fitted grey suit with a baby blue bow tie, I tried to think of three really good questions to ask my interviewer. I felt pretty confident in regards to my teaching experience and the school itself in Berlin. I did my homework. But first interviews are tough. My mind raced, trying to recall the few German language lessons I’d taken with Bekkie.
Then the receptionist called my name. The principal was ready to see me.
I followed the receptionist through a narrow hallway to a board room and the interview with Mr. Roth began. The interview was intimate with just the two of us. The first part was about my teaching history, what I have taught and where. Sprinkled in there I discussed the many differences in my teaching history as far as socioeconomic and diversity of my classrooms and the communities. Mr. Roth seemed taken aback. I seemed to be saying everything he wanted to hear.
As the interview progressed I felt like the possibility for teaching abroad was becoming very good. Knock on wood! Between questions Mr. Roth continued to say something along the lines of, “You seem like a perfect fit at JFK, it’s a shame we didn’t come to Fort Collins sooner in the interview process. We always find great teachers here.” I got the feeling that the limited number of positions were filled already from the schools US tour of job fairs in major cities like San Francisco and Chicago.
We neared the end of the interview and Mr. Roth asked about my family and told me I should hear back before the month’s end. Then I unleashed my questions to Mr. Roth about the school and Germany. We shook hands and he walked me out, complimented my stylish attire and we parted.
I sat in the parking lot in my green Jeep Wrangler. I can’t say I did anything wrong or think of things I would have said different or wish I could redo which was a first! I have always left interviews and, after I relax a bit, pick apart what could have been different to make it better. I called Bekkie to tell her how it went and my perception of the interview. I mentioned it went very well, but I felt that the positions were already filled and explain my reasoning for this. Either way we would find out in two to three weeks, towards the end of February.
This journey started along time ago when I was much, much younger. The year was 2014, winter was in full swing and I was teaching 4th grade in Fort Collins, Colorado. An email arrived in my inbox asking if there were district employees interested in teaching abroad in Germany. After conferring with my wife, I elected to attend an informational meeting about the program and exchange. Me and my wife prayed on it and decided to wait until the following school year to apply. Bekkie was just finishing college and it wasn’t great timing with my job.
This last winter, me and Bekkie began telling people about the plan to apply, first my principal and my team mates who thought it would be an opportunity of a lifetime, but made it vocal they did not want me to go, then our parents. Bekkie’s family was excited for the opportunity for us and to come visit. My parents’ response was a little different. We were riddled with questions and reasons why and even a thin layer of guilt for wanting to leave. All of this was to be expected with all the time we have spent together and their help with watching our boys. Not only that but, there is presently only about one mile separating us. I understood. Taking the grandkids who they saw weekly away for a possibility of two years would be hard.
In the end, Bekkie and I knew that this opportunity would be worth it. There would be challenges, and I’m sure we’ll miss our families as much as they’ll miss us, but if we didn’t go for it, we’d always wonder what would have happened if we did. So, in January I applied to JFK International School. Off the email went, full of attachments, to Berlin, while we sat and waited to hear some sort of reply of wither this was in the cards for us. This whole process was a big step for me and I knew it would be for the family as well. At the time, I wasn’t sure I’d get the job, but I thought my chances were good at landing an interview.