My friend Heather over at For the First Time wrote, “I’ve long said that everything that goes wrong in life is a step closer to things going right.”
I can’t help but agree with her. As I look back through the years, I can see now that the hardest times were, in retrospect, setting me up for wonderful things. Yes, it was harder than hell to go through those times, but in the end I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We taught overseas for many years, and expected to continue teaching overseas until the kids graduated from high school and went off to college. Life was good and we saw no reason to leave it.
But then came the year from hell.
In August, the day before we were to fly to Malaysia to begin new jobs, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I debated on whether or not to get on that plane – in fact a few hours before we left I packed the suitcase with my things on one side and John and the kids’ stuff on the other to make it easier to pull mine out should I decide not to go. In the end, I boarded the plane with my family and began the worst six months of my life.
From the moment we landed in Malaysia it was wrong. Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with Malaysia itself – but everything that could go wrong did. Our shipment was delayed, so we got our belongings the day before school started – which meant all was chaos at home. I got my classroom a few hours before the kids arrived – which meant all was chaos at school. Daryl fell off the monkey bars two weeks later and broke his arm. Two weeks after that he came down with a mystery illness that three different doctors couldn’t diagnose. All I knew was that I had a kid with a 105 degree fever for ten days – and he was losing weight like crazy.
Strong antibiotics seemed to take care of Daryl, but not before I came down with the worst cold in my life, and a viral pink eye infection. Two weeks later my eyes were no longer infectious, and I could go back to work – when Daryl got sick again.
Eventually I found a good pediatrician who diagnosed Daryl with acute pneumonia, hospitalized him, and fed him a steady diet of the right antibiotics. He came home on Halloween.
I thought my battles were over but, as it turned out, they were only just beginning. My principal was being fired and took all her frustrations out on me. Then the tsunami hit. Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck.
When the owner of my school called me in to his office in January and offered to buy out my contract, I jumped on it. A few weeks later the kids and I were back in Idaho living with Grandma. I felt like my life was over.
Now, with the wisdom of hindsight, I can say with certainty that those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad six months set me up for the most wonderful times of my life. If we had stayed in overseas schools we never would have quit our jobs to take our last trip, and we certainly wouldn’t have quit again to take this trip. I would still be in a classroom somewhere in the world, dealing with other people’s kids rather than my own. I would have missed out on seeing my own boys grow up before my eyes.
If I had it to do all over again, I would do it all in a heartbeat – as awful as it was. It was that worth it.
This post is part of the AW Blog Chain. The next link is Writes in the City
To read the entire chain, visit these blogs:
- Auria Cortes
- Life in Scribbletown
- Polyamory From the Inside Out
- For the First Time
- Family On Bikes
- Writes in the City
- Elf Killing and Other Hobbies
- Rotating Bear
- Fantastical Imagination
- Asian Business
- Spittin’ (Out Words) Like a Llama
- As Yet Untitled
- Mad Scientist Matt’s Lair