“I’m not surprised, Carol. I sensed something was pulling you back to Newfoundland all year. Do what you need to do. Go home. I have a feeling you’ll be back”
I was sitting in the principal’s office with the principal and VP, teary-eyed and emotionally torn. It was the middle of June and I was resigning from my probationary year of teaching.
The VP was empathetic and optimistic. The principal as well. He understood the difficulty of living and working away, having returned home to PEI himself after sometime working up north.
I was in complete turmoil. I was just finishing up another incredible year of teaching at a school that means the world to me.
I had just spent the last year living in the dream in the little red house next door to the school. I walked to school every day, walked to the Coop to get my groceries, enjoyed fall nights on the swing looking up at the stars, and spring evenings on the front deck, reading under the large tree canopy that sheltered my home from Main Street.
I car-pooled to yoga two-to-three times a week with a dear friend. I spent nearly every other weekend in winter at one curling club or another, curling with Glen and the Girls, playing cards, eating, but mostly laughing.
I logged hundreds of kilometers snowshoeing around the trails of Mill River by sunlight and moonlight. I got to share the stage, harmonizing and making music with two of West Prince’s most talented musicians, rocking it out at the Albert Crown & Pub on a regular basis.
TGIF golfing, softball, skidoo trips to cabins, downhill skiing, and storm night sleepovers.
Regular visits to ‘my bedroom’ in Charlottetown swapping teacher stories over coffee and great food, with a dear friend from teacher’s college. Road trips to movies and Storm Games in Summerside. Road trips to Rocket Games & Drive-Inn Movies in Charlotettown. And more road trips to shopping malls in both Summerside & Charlottetown.
Thunderstorms at the North Cape and Bachelorette Parties at Waterford. Lobster dinners, crab legs, and home-cooked meals at my second home across the road. Playing guitar for the children’s choir and performing at community events. I was hardly home, barley stopped, and couldn’t get enough of it. This was my kind of life.
Looking back at the photos and reminiscing over all the good times, it’s hard to understand why I was walking away from it all.
The truth is, I still don’t know. Maybe a part of me was always moving so I wouldn’t have time to truly be at home alone. Too long at home with nothing to do probably made me a little homesick for family and old friends. My parents must have sensed this early in the fall, and by December they had surprised me with a plane ticket home for March Break.
Another part of me thinks I needed to leave before settling down permanently in PEI to make sure building a life away from family was really and truly what I wanted to do. I needed to go back to Newfoundland, give it a go there for a year, and then make a decision once and for all. I’m 32 after all. Probably time to start thinking about settling down somewhere.
It wasn’t easy though. This fork in the road. The principal told me to take another night and let him know the next day. No matter how many pro and con lists I made, no matter how I rationalized both sides, no matter how much I churned the choices over and over in my mind, neither decision felt entirely right and I flip flopped in a matter of minutes over the course of the whole month of June.
I could go on and on about the inner turmoil, but truth be told, we all know how the story ends. I resigned, packed up my home and cried like a baby on the last day of school.
As I drove away, tears rolling gently down my face, I made myself remember the words of one of the wisest teachers I’d befriend. She told me my decision was tough, but I was taking a leap of faith, jumping off a cliff, and in time, the universe would recognize this and reward me. I wasn’t sure what kind of reward I even wanted but I guess that’s what this decision was all about….