Some of my friends and family have been concerned that I’m getting “bored” while in South Africa. So I am? Well, the answer is a little complicated. Let me give you the low-down on how I’ve been spending my days. You see, after I started to feel settled in our home, and my husband was off to his job at the golf course/driving range, pounding away at balls all day, I figured I had a few options for how I was going to spend my days in South Africa:
▪ Become a lady of leisure, sipping martinis by the pool and maybe going to the gym
▪ Become a sad house wife, watching soaps and spend my days deciding what I’m going to cook for dinner
▪ Travel around SA
▪ Find a job
▪ Focus on this blog and freelance projects
▪ Go back to school
I know, I really contemplated on the lady of leisure thing for a while, but I’ve really done a little bit of everything this past month. I’ve been watching quite a bit of Kardashians & Breaking Bad (I know, I know…), cooked, volunteered, wrote for this blog, worked on freelance projects (here & here), signed up for a class on SkillShare, read two books, spent time with family, started a gym routine and on Monday I went on a sort-of-job-interview.
The job interview/offer kind of came out of nowhere. I sent my resume into the PR/HOA office of the community we are living in, saying that I was looking for a volunteer opportunity, internship, part-time job, whatever. Just putting myself out there. No word until last week when I got an email saying there was a two-month opportunity and I was to get in touch with my contact there. A few days of phone tag, and I was still clueless about what the opportunity was. Then I get a call on Friday from a different employee at the office saying that the job was a receptionist, and he pushily asked if I could start on Monday. WHAT? I definitely wasn’t expecting that and the lack of details concerning pay, job duties etc. was unnerving. I mentioned that I only had a relatives permit (so pay could be tricky) and he said he’d get back to me. Then, I received another email from my original contact asking if I could meet on Monday at 10am, and I responded that I would.
So I spent this past weekend to contemplate the situation. I did what I usually do when making a decision, I made a pro/con list.
Pros: the job was in the complex so I could WALK to work, it was only two months and I could make extra money.
Cons: The hours were was 9-4:30 and I would take away my freedom, it would be tricky to take time off and the holidays are quickly approaching, it was in an office (con for me because that is what i’ve been wanting a break from).
Ultimately after discussing it with my husband, I decided I would take it depending on the pay. Money is a powerful force when you are living off of your savings. Then a funny thing happened on Monday, salary was not even discussed.
I met the head of PR and we immediately hit it off. She was so friendly and down to earth (South African’s are AMAZING in this regard!). She asked me what I was looking for in a job and what my ideal hours would be. I was so relieved that she wasn’t pushing the receptionist job on me. I was completely honest with what I wanted and I even surprised myself with some of the things coming out of my mouth. After discussing for about an hour, and not once mentioning salary, we came to the conclusion that
being stuck working in an office full-time was not for me at this point. She runs most of the events in the community so I would help her out on a temp basis with that, photography and maybe the community magazine. I walked out of there feeling amazingly light and refreshed. I realized that no amount of money would be worth me sacrificing two months of this experience sitting in an office. It may seem a little selfish considering the fact that we could use the extra money to fund trips, but I knew I could make extra money in other ways.
So all of this got me thinking. I knew I didn’t want to spend my time working, but what did I REALLY want to spend my time doing during this once in a lifetime opportunity? I’ve done a lot of things here and there but overall I feel like I have a major lack of focus, and I am terrified of this experiencing passing me by and saying, well I watched all of the episodes of Breaking Bad, success! I am probably being a little hard on myself, and when we discussed coming over here, the appealing thing for me was to of course get to live in another country , my husband’s homeland, but also to get a year to explore and do my own thing. It was to be the gap year that I never had.
But I’m realizing that while exploration is great, it’s a little vague. I think that little focused exploration never hurt anyone. And I think focused exploration involves choosing some goals and spending more time accomplishing these goals and less time exploring the tv guide. I’ll keep you posted.
Wednesday, November 20th 2013 at 9:48 am
From simply reading your blog posts, you have already had lots of amazing experiences, inspiration, character building and soul searching. The values you are developing from this experience is worth so much more than money and a job. You have done so much and met so many people. Keep it up Nicole!!! (Oh and btw- isn’t breaking bad amazing!?) miss you!!!
Thursday, November 21st 2013 at 4:01 pm
Thanks Em! Love this comment. I feel really happy with what I’ve experienced so far, and I know I won’t look back and say “man, I should have taken that job” I’ll say, man I should have stayed in Capetown or xyz longer and paid off the credit card later! And we are obsessed with Breaking Bad. We’ve been watching an episode a night…we’re on Season 4 right now lol.
Friday, November 15th 2013 at 8:47 pm
Not going to lie, reading this after a week of 12 hour days made me slightly jealous. Take advantage of this year. Some of us don’t get those “gap years.” 🙂
Thursday, November 21st 2013 at 3:56 pm
<3 you. Come visit & make all your teacher friends jealous ;)
Thursday, November 14th 2013 at 7:10 pm
This brings tears to my eyes. SO incredibly happy for you.
Thursday, November 21st 2013 at 3:56 pm
Thanks Miss Alli xxoo