Reaching For A Dream…
London was my dream, but isn’t it funny how dreams change when the opportunity of a lifetime presents itself. It all began the night before I was to fly to Boston (a.k.a night before my 38th birthday). I received the following email… I immediately clicked the link to Riffa Views International School. I was quite impressed until I realized it was in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Of course, I went straight to Google and typed in this place unbeknownst to me. The images were breathtaking. I must admit, the idea that it was an island in the Persian Gulf, sandwiched between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and across from Iran, gave me pause. The Middle East? Not exactly the place I had in mind when I pictured myself living abroad.
Riffa Views International School, Bahrain
The next day, I boarded a plane to Boston. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking about that email. I would later learn, an email that would inherently change my life. The entire plane ride, my thoughts shifted from London to Bahrain. This felt like one of those unexpected opportunities that presents itself when least expected. You know the one I am taking about – the one you kick yourself later for not taking. I knew that I had to at least meet the principal for coffee and hear her out.
After settling in, I awaited Jo’s arrival from Bahrain via London. Around three o’clock, I received a text from Jo. It said she would be wearing a pink scarf and sitting by the fire in the lobby. At five o’clock, I entered the hotel lobby with steaming cup of Earl Grey and searched for a blonde woman wearing a pink scarf. I found her easily. Her warm, gentle smile and soft Australian accent greeted me like and old friend. We shook hands and settled into two comfy chairs.
She began the conversation by saying the director, Kurt, would be unable to make it because he was snowed in and stuck in Iowa. The rest of our conversation was easy and flowed as if we had known each other forever. She spoke of the school and the life there — sharing stories of the people, the students, the teachers, the collaboration, the technology and all the activities. I asked many questions which she answered. I felt at ease. It seemed as if she took kindly to me too.
I am not sure when it happened, but suddenly I knew my life was about to change. Of course, I would still have to formally interview. But, I knew that RVIS fit my vision for how children should be educated. As we continued chatting, a gentleman walked up to us. Jo introduced him. He was the Vice President (I think.) of the ISS (International School Services) and was one of the key players in charge of the entire ISS Recruitment Fair. He thought we were friends and began giving me tips for interview day. (Which, I am forever grateful for receiving.)
Then his wife joined him. This is when I discovered that they were the founding members of RVIS. Without knowing I was even being recruited, they spoke highly of the school, the location, and the people. Further solidifying what I already thought…this place sounds amazing! As he left, I thanked him for his wonderful advice.
Jo and I sat down and we continued our conversation for about an hour total. When we parted ways, she didn’t shake my hand. She actually hugged me. I thought that was awesome because I totally wanted to hug her too. She already felt like family and considering I would be moving very far away, I thought that it was important.
The next day, I attended all the UK and Middle East schools’ presentations, even a few in China. My heart sank going to the UK schools because I discovered about 50 people interviewing for one position. In my head, I knew, not having international experience, it would be tough to get into these elite schools. Competition was fierce, even with my stellar credentials. But, if you know me, I never give up and a little competition isn’t going to stop me.
Overall, it was an exhausting day filled with information, so returned to my hotel room to make some decisions. Spreading out every brochure on the bed, I pulled up my laptop and begin my research into each school, location, salary, and various other aspects. But something kept bringing me back to looking into RVIS. I don’t know why, but I got distracted and checked my email. There was…an email from Jo. I jumped up and down on the bed like a kid, sending all the brochures flying. The only one that remained was large booklet of life in Bahrain. Settling back into the pillows, I read it cover to cover. This was where I wanted to be. The only problem, I had to get my family on board.
I dialed the phone to mom. I led with all the amazing details of the school, benefits and finished with the location. The long pause came from the other end. I waited for her to freak. But in my amazing mothers style, she supported my decision and told me to go for it. She told me later, her mommy brain was screaming, nooooo. But, she knew it was the opportunity of a lifetime.
My dream of traveling the world was right at my fingertips. All I had to do was reach out and grab it. Without hesitation, I began to type my reply email. I accepted the invitation to interview. Then I sat back and made a plan for the next day. Since it was my birthday, I headed off to the North End for a celebratory dinner.
I capped the evening off with an ameretto cannoli – minus the birthday candle.
I caught a cab back to the hotel before the blizzard hit. When I returned to the room, I sat in the large winged back chair in front of the window and cityscape as the snow began to fall. Diving into my decadent dessert, I recalled my mom saying I was born in a blizzard. As Boston was blanketed in yet another storm, I knew tomorrow would be lucky day. A huge smile spread across my face as I said…
“Happy Birthday to me, now go grab that dream!”