Over the past year I had many plans for teaching ESL abroad. I obtained my TEFL certificate in March 2016 and immediately began searching for work in China. I moved back to Toronto to live with my parents while I searched for the ideal opportunity because, with all my things there, I would be ready to jump on an eastbound plane at a moment’s notice. But the ideal opportunity never came because, in most countries now, you need a university degree to qualify for a work visa. After being turned down many times because I don’t have one, I became discouraged and lost heart.
I considered teaching in Colombia instead because you don’t need a degree, and it’s relatively easy to arrive on a tourist visa and start looking for work. The pay may not be ideal, but it seemed like the only way that I would ever make use of the $1000 piece of paper I had sitting uselessly in my closet next to my journalism diploma.
For a time I was excited about this idea, but eventually I decided to give it up as well. My mother and I had a heated discussion one day before she left for work about what my plan was, and what the long term outcome might be. In the end, she convinced me that I should stay in one place and stick with one thing, to keep moving forward with the hard-fought writing career that I’ve been working on for five years now. I’ve come so far. It would be a shame to give it all up just to teach ESL in a foreign land; a job which, realistically, would not be a long term career with a future. Most people who do it end up coming back after a year because they don’t want to live so far away from their family, friends, and everything else they’ve ever known. I could end up losing everything I’ve worked for over the past five years, and I’m not getting any younger.
I had to give it up. I had to forget about the ESL-teaching dreams that derailed me throughout 2016 and resulted in the worst year that Riddell Creative has ever had. It’s possible that I could teach ESL right here in Toronto, and that seems to be the most I can hope for. I can always go to Colombia or China on a backpacking trip. My mother talked some sense into me that day and I’ve been on a steady track ever since working harder than ever before, and doing what it takes to elevate Riddell Creative to the next level. I have many big business development plans for 2017, so stay tuned for the evolution.
But, of course, I couldn’t stay with my folks. I had to be out on my own again in the city, not isolated in an apartment tower at the end of a suburban cul-de-sac. Rent is a lot more expensive in Toronto than it was in Montreal, so I couldn’t rent a one-bedroom apartment and buy all the furnishings I would need like I did in La Belle Province. Even if I had to settle for shared accommodations, as long as it was in the city it would enable me to concentrate more on my career and reach greater heights. I was floundering as long as I stayed out there, so I had to settle for less than what I had in Montreal, at least for now. I took a couple weeks to search for a place, and when I found one that looked like it would suit my needs, I jumped on it.
Yesterday, after a much longer stay with my folks than I ever intended, I finally moved out. In my new digs I’ll be working longer and harder than ever before. It feels good to once again be in the city with close proximity to the literary world and media outlets which I must connect with. After a year or so, I’ll move again to a complete apartment, preferably in my old neighbourhood of St. Clair West. After that, maybe buy a house or condo? We’ll see.
For now, this is home, and it’s the beginning of a new era.