Travel has always been close to both of our hearts and we both knew that globetrotting would be a part of our life plan. We have been looking into a variety of options and places to make our dream a reality and it has finally happened!
Most people know it as Burma however it is now called Myanmar (me-an-mar). It is a country in South-east Asia right next to Thailand. We will be living in the capital of Yangon (previously Rangoon). It is a big city with a whopping 2.5 million people (about the same as Chicago). It is a lovely country filled with happy, welcoming locals.
What (are you going to do)?
I have taken a position as a High School Art Teacher at The International School of Myanmar. I will be teaching fine, AP, and digital art classes. I will be following an American standards-based curriculum and teaching in all English.
Kim is beyond excited to learn a whole other cuisine. She will ideally be understudying a local chef to gain knowledge and practical skills of Myanmar cooking. Kim has also considered taking steps towards restaurant management.
How (long will you be there)?
My contract is for two years, after that who knows?
When (are you leaving)?
We will be off at the end of July and will be back for summer break next June.
Is it safe?
Safety was #1 on our list as we were considering world location options. I was offered a few other positions before accepting this one at ISM, however they were in locations where it would not have been safe for us to step out of our apartment building and walk down the street in the middle of the day. We obviously turned these down.
Myanmar is the complete opposite. It is known as one of the safest countries in Asia. It has an extremely difficult political past and is still run by a military junta. However, ever since opening to outsiders (in 1992) the country has been progressing. The locals are overwhelmingly welcoming to tourists and expats alike. Don't get me wrong, there are dangers but the pros certainly out way the cons.
What is it like?
Some refer to Myanmar as a place lost in time. “Since it was closed off for so long, much of the country seems truly untouched by signs of globalization like fast food chains. Women still chalk their faces with thanaka, a paste made from tree bark. Men wear longyi, wraparound skirts gracefully knotted at the waist. Monks carry begging bowls through own in the early morning ritual of seeking food.” (bigstory.ap.org) Now that Myanmar is open to the outside world it is changing rapidly. In my research I have to be sure to look at articles from the past year, two tops. Otherwise the information is outdated. More and more western options are becoming available yet the street markets still bustle.
We are looking forward to having a fair amount of Western accommodations but are excited to experience the true essence of Myanmar. We hope to travel outside Yangon and get to know the country that we will be residing in.
Are you crazy?
Ha. Yeah, we’ve been getting this a lot. Honestly, I think we are a bit crazy, but as Freud once said:
“Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy.”
I will blogging about our journey right here. So I hope you stay tuned because this is going to be quite the adventure!
Here is a pic of us being crazy . . . crazy happy that is : )