Kurt and I normally carpooled to MorphoTrak’s Federal Way office, but that February morning we didn’t for some reason. I’m usually in the office by 9, and that morning we had an “all hands” meeting at 9 – but I forgot about that meeting, and I was feeling a bit lazy that morning, so I didn’t get in until around 9:30.
I was just pulling up to the building when Kurt called me. He didn’t mince around words, and got straight to the point: “They are closing our office”. For a second I thought that maybe he was joking, but Kurt would not joke about something so serious. That morning was marred by confusion as nobody knew exactly what was happening. As the hours ticked slowly by, our responsibilities for the day ignored or forgotten, the details trickled in. Some of us would be gone within two weeks. Others would be done by September. A few would stay until the end of the year. Eventually I was called in and told that my last day would be December 31. A monetary incentive was offered if I remained employed until that date, in order to finish my projects and help train those that would be replacing me in West Virginia.
I waited to call Julia until I had more details, because I didn’t want to worry her unnecessarily. She of course was very supportive and not worried at all – she is usually the level-headed half of us – but surprisingly, I found myself very much at ease. Maybe it was that I still had ten more months of employment before I really had to worry, or maybe it was my confidence in being able to find something else, but I simply was not very concerned about being told that I was fired. Somehow I knew that I would stay until the end – I enjoyed working there, the incentive was quite enticing, and I really wanted to see my projects through until the end.
Over the next couple of weeks, a thought crept into my mind that I couldn’t shake. Many of my friends had done Teach For America, either the year after high school or the year after college, and it got me thinking. Julia and I love traveling, and we both knew that our next “big trip”, whenever that may be, would be to Southeast Asia. What if we took an extended trip, to teach English in a foreign country? After six and a half years of working, weekends, and the occasional short trip, I was ready for something new to break up the pattern. With my job ending, the bonus influx of cash at the end of the year, and nothing to tie us down…why not?
Getting Julia on board was easy. Even though she had started a job less than a year prior, she has a thrill for adventure and didn’t want to pass up this opportunity. So with that, we set off to find out everything we could about teaching English abroad!