Friday, 11 January 2013

Should I stay or should I go?

It's the post I promised you: should I stay in Tanzania an extra year, or move on to somewhere else? My job requires me to tell them by 21st January whether I am planning to stay for another year or leave at the end of the third term.

I love making lists, so here's one i did for this decision:

Top Five reasons to stay in Tanzania
 5. It's a convenient point from which to visit other African countries, and there's still a lot more I want to see. I'm learning Swahili and would like to continue. I sort of feel as though I'm still in the middle of living here... not at the end.
4. I get holidays all the time, like, after every 5-7 weeks of work. And I get to go to the beautiful beaches and eat good food and relax ALL THE TIME!
3.I have friends here who I'll miss, and I'm scared the people in the next country I go to might all think I'm weird.
2. I love my job. There's only 13 kids in my class and they're quiet and well behaved. I'm allowed to get on with things and do as I like, and it's fun. We have really long holidays and zero commute.
1. Tanzania is a beautiful country. The weather is almost always good and there's such beautiful countryside, wildlife, animals and birds, beaches, mountains... seriously. It's consistently relaxed. If you've not been here yet you need to make it a priority.

Top Five reasons to go and live somewhere else
5. I've only got one life. Why not see as much as possible?
4. I'd like to live somewhere where there's a bit more going on. In terms of art and cultural events, museums and themeparks, but also in terms of simple things. Like pavements, libraries... and surgeons. (I had to fly on an air ambulance for emergency surgery in Nairobi, but that's a story for another time).
3. There's a lot of world out there. All kinds of cool places to be lived in.
2. It's hard to get around without a car, and I don't know how to drive. The public transport is crowded and dangerous, and I live so far out of town that taxis are expensive. I can't go out after dark (6.30pm) without calling a taxi: it's not safe. I'm tired of asking friends for lifts all the time and squeezing onto daladalas. I want trains and trams and buses.
1. My husband, Jouni, doesn't like living in Tanzania. He thinks it's beautiful but has been a while without a job and just now got one, which should help in terms of happiness, but he doesn't like the infastructure of the country and the enormous amounts of inequality (who does?)

So even though I don't need to officially decide for another ten days, I've more or less decided that I'm going. It seems like a good idea to live in a country that both of the people in a relationship like. Jouni may decide that he wants to stay over the course of the next 10 days, but probably not. I know I'm going to miss Tanzania MASSIVELY, but I'm also hoping that the next country will be just as beautiful and interesting and become a part of my heart.

Here's where we might go next:

Vietnam is Jouni's top choice and I feel like maybe we should go there since I chose Tanzania. Although I have my reservations about being run over by one of the 16 million motorcycles, I don't have reservations about much else to do with Vietnam since everything I've seen and heard about it points to awesome. Like Tanzania they have great beaches and stunning countryside, but overall it's much safer.

2. Hong Kong
I know it's really really busy and it sort of looks like a cross between London, New York and China, but there's so much to do and see and I bet it would be all kinds of crazyfun after living in the middle of the Tanzanian countryside surrounded by Maasai cattle herders, cows, goats, a mosquito net factory and not much else. Plus people from all over the world live there and it seems like a place of endless possibilities.

3. South Korea
I have a major crush on South Korea which is mainly induced by K-pop and cool fashion and the fact that all the koreans I've ever met seem to have matching ankles (it's hard to explain, but just start noticing them for yourself).

4. Sourthern China
Why not? They've got some pimped-out international schools, its not so busy as the major cities and it's convenient to get to a bunch of other cool places from there. I think I could have a nice life there which would be almost as relaxing as my life here. There's so many Chinese people that at least one of them would probably be my friend.

5. Japan
I should add a disclaimer here to any potential employer who hires one of those stalker agencies to stalk their potential employees on the internet that I have a secret plan for when I eventually make it to Japan. This plan involves my first four weeks in the country and goes like this:
Weeks 1-2: Stay in bed and watch TV. I never usually watch TV but since everything is more awesome in Japan I feel like this would be a worthwhile endeavor. I'd mostly be focusing on the advertisements and the music videos, but also on lengthier infomercials and on the hairstyles of people on the boring channels, such as news.
Week 3: Go shopping and ask Japanese people if I can take a photo with them. Of course they will say yes. Have you ever heard of them saying no? On the shopping trip I plan to buy craft kits, candy, magazines and makeup. Also a selection of brightly coloured wigs and accessories.
Week 4: Go to hello kitty world and the studio ghibli museum. Ride the bullet train, eat sushi and also cheap meals, try to learn Japanese. Try to make some friends and visit photo booths. Stalk those conversation girls and see if they really do get paid just to make conversation, and if so, do they have a job vacancy.

I guess if I don't get a job in another international school (the main reason why I wouldn't is that I'm not in the UK for an interview, and our internet connection may or may not be good enough for a Skype interview, depending on the day), we'll probably end up in England or Finland, at least temporarily.

To everyone who thought I was coming back to England after a year in Finland:
I'm so sorry! Please come and visit me wherever I should end up... I'd love to see you.

Amy x

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