Even though we're looking forward to being back in the US, we do miss the excitement that comes at this time of year. Most teachers go to job fairs and get their next overseas gigs right about now. Switzerland, Italy, Qatar, Mexico, Venezuela, Hong Kong, Panama - the world opens up to an international teacher (and his/her spouse :-) for sure.
In the US, our ideal location is Fort Collins, Colorado. For both of us, Colorado now feels like the closest thing to home. We've got great friends there and the landscape is beautiful! We don't have jobs yet, but after our time overseas, we've adapted to tougher situations. If we can't make things happen in Fort Collins, we're open to looking at Denver or other towns.
The biggest challenge for us will be trying to go without a car. One of the best experiences we've had overseas is walking, biking or taking public transit (ok, this part hasn't been fun in Quito). It's so much healthier. I really hope we can make it work in the US. We know we'll need use of a car at some point, but renting or using car sharing are options.
Now, the important thing is to enjoy the next few months without thinking too much about the move back (and all the planning, bureaucracy, closing of accounts, taxes, etc. that goes along with it). I think Scoots also will be very happy to have a more permanent home... and I will be happy to not deal with transferring him to and from different countries.
There are a few other things I look forward to:
- Seasons - Quito feels like spring most of the time, with a distinct rainy season that's colder, but no snow! I'll probably be sick of it after one snowfall, but whatever, it's SNOW!
- Grocery stores are open 24/7 (even on Sunday - a big no-no abroad).
- I can get anything I want in the US. I can't even tell you how many delicious meals I haven't been able to make because they don't have the ingredients in Ecuador (or didn't have them in Germany).
- Everything will be in English - this is going to make our lives just that much easier.
- Customer service is amazing in the US. Even the worst customer service agents in the US have nothing on the Germans! The Ecuadorians try to be helpful, but it's just not the same.
- We're going to be so much closer to family. I'm already hoping to get home (or NYC) for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, in September. I haven't been back for at least 4, maybe 5, years and it's one of my favorite holidays.
- Our friends who've moved back from being overseas have said adjusting to the American lifestyle (and especially the lack of work-life balance as compared with other countries) is tough.
- We're not going to be bombarded by culture and new people all the time.
- The health care situation in the US scares me personally.
- There seems to be a trend of lack of respect for teachers in the States right now.
- The general safety in the US (especially idiots with automatic guns) is frightening.
- Not enough people seem to be worried about the consequences (environmentally and socially) of buying cheap clothes, tons of plastic toys and foods that are wrapped in insane amounts of packaging. It'll be hard adjusting after basically living out of 4 suitcases; wearing our clothes down so they have holes in them; and being resourceful instead of buying items.