Saturday, June 20, 2009

Gainful Employment

After searching for months, turning over every stone, and existing in a state of continual disappointment, I have--at last--secured a job. Is it my dream job? No. Is it in my dream location? Hardly. Will it provide me with cheap and easy access to Europe while paying me a livable wage? Yes. Well...just.


The name doesn't exactly call up a flickering reel of winsome images and a rollicking good time. In my mind, Poland is most quickly associated with war. And pierogies. And bad jokes. Still, Poland is one of a bare handful of European countries still happy to employ the occasional American. I feel profoundly lucky to have been granted an extension of my European life, through whichever channel it has come.

Tomorrow afternoon, I will submit the signed contract and required accompanying documents that will bind me, for 9 months, to an English-only school in Gliwice. That's the name of my future home, and I admit that I'm not quite sure how to pronounce it. I think it's like Gli-vits-uh. Maybe. At any rate, it seems nice...rather like Poitiers in size and scope. Probably not as appealing, but still medieval and charming in its way. I've combed through the relevant online forums at and most people have good things to say about it. And about the school (although there is considerable debate over the teaching methods they use...more on that once I actually have to start using them myself!).

So, I've notified my family, and they all seem to be taking it pretty well. My grandmother, infamous for her crazy, anti-travel comments, came up with real gem. As if I could ever doubt that she would. Upon hearing that my newest adventure will be taking place in Poland, she said, "Poland! Why do you want to go there? What if they try to keep you there because they think you're a spy??" Classic. Almost as good as when I told her I was in the running for an island job in Mexico. For that one, the first words out of her mouth were, "An island! They're going to want you to go swimming in the ocean and a shark could bite off your leg!!" I would never have thought of that scenario if I had purposely sat for five hours trying to conjure up horrible things that might befall me in Mexico. And it was the very first thing that sprang to her mind. I'm telling you people, that woman exists in a whole other-terrifying-dimension.

But god love her, she only wants what's best for me. Which, to her mind, would include moving back to Des Moines (preferably right next door to her) and never leaving again, ever. My grandmother's dream job for me begins and ends with a cubicle at Wells Fargo. No thanks. I have lived the life of a cubicle dweller in Des Moines. I don't feel the need to repeat the experience.

So, onwards and upwards! In one week's time, I'll be heading to Paris to spend the weekend there before catching my flight to Des Moines on Monday morning. But, I have a lot of shit to do here before I can even start dreaming of being home.

The most important thing is that I now know my next step...and that is such an ungodly relief!

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