We love hearing how teaching in England has changed overseas teachers lives, this story is no exception! This post was written by Kirsten, an Engage teacher from Canada!
I wanted to share a little update with the Engage community of teachers:
A year after my wedding seemed like the perfect time to look back at all the changes that have happened in my life since I started teaching in the UK. I could never have imagined how much moving overseas would change my life!
I originally moved to London fresh out university with the goal of visiting museums every night and Paris every weekend. That wasn’t exactly how things went—train tickets to Paris were a bit more expensive than I imagined—but I did end up at a lot of parties and weekend events. Most of those parties were for dancing to Blues music, which was my hobby back home in Edmonton. At one of those parties, a couple of weeks after I moved to the UK, I met a boy named Joseph.
Joe was a lot of fun and very silly. We got along well when we saw each other, but we didn’t know each other very well until I lost my wallet one weekend in Barcelona. Joe and I were both attending the same Blues dancing weekend. He reached out to me on Facebook and offered to help.
That evening, when we saw each other at a party, he bought me a drink and asked me to dance half a dozen times. A couple weeks later, we were dating. By Christmas, I was telling friends and family about my English boyfriend.
Joe and I travelled to Paris together for our first Valentine’s Day. We stayed across the street from Notre Dame cathedral and woke up to the bells tolling each morning. We enjoyed French wine, French pastries, and a continual stream of delicious French meals, and I insisted Joe kiss me at the top of the Eiffel Tower.
For our second Valentine’s Day, we visited Marrakech in Morocco. After a full day of riding camels and climbing a waterfall, Joe led me through the winding streets of the old city to a restaurant filled with roses. We climbed the stairs to the rooftop terrace, where just the two of us were seated, and enjoyed chatting about our day while watching the sunset over Marrakech. We were happily reflecting on what a good year we’d had together when Joe got down on one knee and proposed. I had imagined the moment he might propose over and over, but I was still stunned by how completely and hysterically happy I was.
We had only a few months to plan our wedding because my visa was going to expire at the end of the summer. We called the church we had been attending together and set our wedding date for August 1st.
Our wedding ceremony was a very traditional Church of England service. My parents walked me down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon, the same processional my mother used at their wedding. My grandfather hired a small army of bell ringers to announce our new marriage from the church’s bell tower.
I had always imagined being surrounded by loving friends and family at my wedding. I was scared that getting married in London might mean I didn’t have many friends or family members by my side, but that wasn’t the case. Our reception was full of our friends from the UK—people from Blues dancing parties and our church small group who love us and supported us the whole time. One of my friends from Edmonton, who is also a teacher, moved to the UK before the wedding. She and my sister were my bridesmaids. My childhood best friend flew from Vancouver to do my makeup for the wedding. One of our friends deejayed the whole party for us and we had an amazing time dancing all night. We had a whole roomful of wonderful friends to say goodbye to when we finally called it a night and we had another wonderful week with our families before leaving on our honeymoon to a seaside villa in Turkey.
Living overseas changes you. It changes who you spend time with, what you want from your life, and even who you are as a person. The most important parts of my life, though—my deepest friendships and relationships with my family—have continued to evolve and grow stronger. I am a better person for moving to the UK and I am a much luckier person for finding Joe.