so, what do you want to do with that?

Inevitably, while in college, one will always be asked "what's your major?". For the science inclined, they might respond with engineering or rehab science. Others might respond business, finance or econ. And then there's me, and I respond with english literature and italian with a minor in theatre. Now that's quite a mouthful and should, in theory, be quite impressive. Well rounded student and all that. Unfortunately, the only thing people actually hear is "I'm going to be waiting tables for the rest of my life". Or so that's what they think. They enjoy following up that thought with a forced smile and "Oh, so... what do you want to do with that?" 

Well that's a pretty good question, what do I want to do with that? And I usually respond with a warm smile (because i'm generally expecting this) and "I'd like to teach English as a second language in Italy". At this point in the conversation they are once again surprised but comforted knowing that I have at least some sort of plan for my life. 

Now, over the summer I met a man who makes his living teaching English abroad. We've been in touch and one day he emailed me asking me why I decided to take up a career teaching english abroad. It's not the highest paying job, so if it's not about the money, what is it about? And, honestly, as I sit here typing, I can't think of an appropriate response.  Because, you see, it's so much more than any one thing. 

Of course, top priority would be being able to yell in Italian while waving my arms around and insulting people in a foreign language. Also, the endless supply of pasta and old ladies force feeding me while insisting I'm "too thin", "Troppo sottile! Come darĂ  alla luce ai bambini?!" 

Now, as stereotypically horrible (and wonderful) as that is, what it all translates into is being able to immerse myself into the culture. I can't think of any more important reasons to do anything abroad. You could, theoretically, teach anywhere, but teaching abroad is all about the experience. Meeting people you would never have met back home and being changed by those who just want to learn the language you've taken for granted  your whole life. 

When I think about my future abroad, a phrase always comes to mind: I want to lose myself in trying to find them. There are so many things I've convinced myself are important; clothes, my cat, Acing all my classes, material possession, love, ect. Now, I know I won't be leaving all these things behind (in fact, I plan on bringing almost all of the clothes I own with me) but I want to know what is important to other people. What can't they live without and why can't they live without it? 

I want to be able to wake up in the morning and think in Italian. I want to be able to lose my 'Americaness' and take on a new identity in theirs. I guess it ties into my love of theatre. Losing yourself in a character in order to learn more about yourself. But I don't want it to end when the shows over. There's something beautiful about completely losing yourself, whether that be in love, in a culture, your favorite song, or anything else you could possibly think of.

There are so many reasons I want to teach english abroad and why this is really important to me. And though all the skeptical bystanders may continue to rebuke my overly idealistic view on the future and what I want for myself, I just have one thing to say to them. If you don't chase what's most important to you in the moment you are living than why are you living? If your future doesn't terrify you in some way, what makes it worth chasing? Life is about living and what is more important than living life the way you want to?

This post has proven to be the hardest one to write by far. There's so much to say but getting the words out the correct way is ridiculously difficult. Honestly, most of the time I can't verbalize why I want to do this with my life but there's something that feels so inherently right about it. And somehow I know it to be true.

"We have nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore - except to make our lives into a work of art" - Lana Del Rey


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