I’m Having My Cake & Eating it Too

I’m back! But I have to be honest with you – I’m not really here. No, I left my mind and my heart wandering around Southeast Asia.

I was ready to come home after nearly eight months away, but I also knew not long after I got here I’d be ready to leave again. It’s not necessarily that the grass is greener on the other side (it’s not), it’s that I will always want to equally enjoy both sides.

Yeah, yeah. I know. I can’t have my cake and eat it too, right?

Wrong. I refuse to understand that saying.

I know I’ve never let a gooey slice of chocolate cake sit in front of me without devouring it. Have you? Hell, sometimes I even go for seconds.

So in this case, I might do just that. I came home because I wanted to and because it was time, but I might dip my fork into a tantalizing and scrumptious slice of life yet again.

Before I left for Thailand, the plan was to start graduate school upon my return, should I be accepted to Colorado State University (I was!). However, I was forced to contemplate the reality of this decision while eating fresh fruit crepes for breakfast on the banks of the Mekong River in one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever stepped foot in (Luang Prabang, Laos), and I came to the conclusion that I’m not yet ready to be a full time student again.

First, I want to stand in front of those classroom desks for another year before I have to sit behind one for two; I want another piece out of this life before I start another.

As much as I love chocolate though, I might try a new flavor next time (South Korea? Peru? Hong Kong?), while allowing myself to double dip in my tried and true favorite (Thailand) if my new choice doesn’t taste quite right.

After I printed, signed, scanned and emailed my (”one time only”) deferral request to the all too understanding staff at CSU’s English Department (I still plan to study for a M.A. in English, focused on creative nonfiction writing, with an ultimate goal of teaching writing at the university level, which means an eventual Phd, and a really, really long road once I finally commit), I boarded an overnight bus to Vientiane, and wondered if I had made the right decision.

The girl sitting next to me must have sensed my doubt when I told her my dilemma because she offered this advice from her family in Israel: You can’t eat a slice of cake and expect it to remain whole.

Now there’s a metaphor with some truth to it.

Maybe I’ll just eat the whole damn cake.

Over the next couple of months I will be catching up up with photos and stories from my last two months of traveling while I contemplate my next step.

Readers, where should I teach next?

(Photos courtesy of Jan Loves to Eat and News Lincoln County, respectively.)


I’m Having My Cake & Eating it Too
Written by:Jessica Hill
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19 thoughts on “I’m Having My Cake & Eating it Too

      • sadly no connections, but goabroad.com always has lots of info. yeah i believe the money in south america sucks especially compared to south korea where you can actually save quite a bit – sorry that I couldn’t be of anymore help but happy decision making. its a gift and blessing that you still have options to travel unlike so many people who are stuck in cubicles from 9-5

      • No worries! I just asked because I always like to have as much information as possible before I make a big decision (I’m terrible at it!). But I do know I’m lucky to be in this position, and plan to enjoy every minute of it. Those poor people in cubicles can travel with me through my blog, I hope.

      • I know I will travel with you through your blog, well at least for the next 5 months. Then I’m giving up my cubicle for Thailand. Thanks for following.

  1. I completely sympathise – a tough decision but I think I would have made the same one 🙂
    I’ve often thought of South Korea as my next stop, or how about Japan? What about Mexico? Peru sounds awesome too! Good luck with this next exciting stage!

    • I’m considering all of the above! I would love to go to a Sanish speaking country, but I worry I won’t make enough money to live there. Have you taught anywhere besides Thailand? How long have you been in Bangkok?

  2. Ahh – yeah that would be the lure of South Korea/Japan for me too. I think I will be having the same dilemma in a year’s time! I’ve actually thought about Spain.. but not sure if it’s too close to home..
    I haven’t taught anywhere else bar Thailand yet, but I am definitely considering it. You’ve been here for a year am I right? I’ve been here 9 months in mid June.
    Hmm… you’ve got me thinking about where to go to next.. 🙂

    • Yeah, I think China pays decently as well. I was only in Thailand for one semester, though I’m not opposed to ending up there again also. It didn’t work out for me to stay for another term due to my travel plans and some things I had to be home for this summer, but I miss it dearly already! Are you planning on finishing after this term, or finishing out the new school year?

      Keep me posted on your decision…maybe we’ll end up in the same country!

  3. I am completely in the same boat as you are. I’m returning home in a week, but my mind/heart is still traveling in this region somewhere as well. I know people often say that it’s the journey not the destination that counts…but in some retrospect, we have to consider what the destination is (for us, its what we’re going to do after our travels end). A few of my friends have taught in South Korea, Japan, and France — they enjoyed their experience. Personally I think you should go somewhere less Westernized like South America. Wherever you chose, you’ll still be teaching and holding onto a piece of your life.

    I think that it’s amazing you want to take more time to teach abroad/travel instead of committing to being a full-time student again (I know, I’m still hesitant). I say eat the damn whole cake and enjoy it. You can always buy/make a new one or maybe someone will share theirs. 😀

    • You’re so right. I have some big decisions to make, but the beauty of the unknown is still intriguing so I’ve been in no hurry to decide.

      Do you know what you plan to do when you go home?

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