Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What Am I Doing?

Every morning, Susie gets up and heads off to her professional training where she learns all about her job, living overseas, maintaining security and whatever other double-secret information the State Department deems is necessary, whereas I have no professional responsibilities and no real schedule. Susie zips back and forth between the Foreign Services Institute, which is more or less a very well guarded college campus, and Main State, the official government headquarters of the State Department, sitting through seminars, preparing for her job in Kazakhstan, emailing important people and making lengthy lists of what we have to do in the next six weeks. And yesterday, I didn't leave the apartment.

I don't always stay inside the entire day, so that was meant more as an extreme contrast rather than an accurate summary of what my life has become since moving to Washington, but the fact remains that I do not have nearly as much to do as she does, and what things I do have don't carry nearly as much weight, difficulty, or stress as hers. This isn't likely to change much when we get out to Kazakhstan (or any other country that we will be going to in the future). I may be able to find work, especially with my background in language learning and education, but I may also not be able to. I'm perfectly fine with this, although I know that there are a lot of other spouse/family members who aren't, and other people out there in the world who even thinking about not having a job makes them crazy.

I've been told that there is some opportunity for American teachers in Kazakhstan, but being able to get and hold jobs is reliant upon being able to speak Russian, which, of course, I cannot do (yet). There might be a way to tutor English or do some odd work at the consulate, but those are both reliant upon being at the post and happening upon the jobs. It may end up that I don't have anything to do in terms of work, but worry not! Susie's salary is plenty for the both of us, and who knows what opportunities we might encounter.

Because of this unsure state of being, I've been thinking a lot about how to fill my time. This isn't the first time where I've had months to sit at home while Susie is off working. When I was at Indiana University and when I was teaching, Summer meant not working, filling my time with studying, practicing guitar/ukulele, working on long term projects like my Master's thesis, or goofing off online. I tried to make sure I had a reason every day to leave the apartment, especially as time went on, because it can become grating to sit around all day. Those experiences showed me that it is important to hold yourself to a schedule and try to be productive. That's not to say that I did or do hold myself to a schedule, nor is it to say that I try to be productive... just that I do feel like it is important to do so.

Unlike those previous periods of time where I wasn't working, though, this one is different. The biggest difference for me is that those were temporary, and this one could last a while. Again, I'm not upset by this eventuality, and neither is Susie. But we do both feel like it's important that I find things to do on a regular basis. One of my plans is to blog our experiences, which will be happening here. Hopefully it becomes more interesting. I've also begun working on a novel, something small and punchy, the kind of thing I would want to read. I'm going to go into full on language learning mode with Russian (the business language of Kazakhstan), because there is no better way to learn a language than be immersed. And every time I see someone doing something on television or in a movie (cook, ride a horse, run, play music, etc) I think, "Maybe I could learn to do that."

What would you do, if you had all day to work on it, and no pressure to do anything else?

1 comment:

  1. this is something I'll be facing this long, hot summer in Japan, as I'm not returning to the States (as I did last year) and after Friday, I have 7 weeks before the new semester starts on October 1st. What to do, what to do...