As I mentioned, we couldn’t have hesitated on this idea or it would have never happened.
Dave started looking at schools in Dubai, sent one resume off, and was looking online for the best way to find a job in Dubai.
Why Dubai? When you’re looking at moving a family overseas for a job there are limited options. Or limited options that make much sense (financially). When we were looking at this idea 10 years ago, we had 3 dependents and Dubai made the most sense. We were fascinated by the fact that the majority of the population was expats. What would that look like? We love exploring different cultures and this just seemed over the top and very interesting (and I’m sure laden with certain frustrations – that’s just part of the territory).
While he was looking he found a job fair that was going to be happening at Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario) at the end of January for international teaching positions. You had to apply to go to this job fair. Employers would be coming from all over the world and they wanted well qualified people attending. To get in you had to supply a resume, university transcripts, 2 reference letters, and a 2 page explanation of your philosophy of education. He also had to negotiate special permission because he has me tagging along. They mostly want teaching couples. I’m a liability. Baggage. An added expense. Hmph.
He had one week to pull all of that together. And he did. And they let him in. Even with the baggage.
Another couple we know (Jeff and Kathy Epp) were heading to Qatar in the fall because Kathy had a job there. They encouraged us to consider Qatar. I was pretty stuck on Dubai (but that’s pretty much because I didn’t know much about Qatar). Jeff, who is also a teacher, decided to go to the job fair with Dave and see if he could find a job. Obviously he was only considering Qatar so he was pretty focused.
So off they went for a weekend in Kingston, Jeff intent on a job in Qatar, and Dave very open to anything that made sense. We didn’t know how long the process of hiring would take. After they’d interviewed everyone, how long before he would know if he would be given a job?
The employers who were coming to the job fair had already had a chance to go over the attendee’s resumes. Some of the resumes would have been of particular interest to certain schools and so they issued blue tickets to people they were requesting to interview over the weekend. The blue tickets were in the registration packages. Dave saw ‘teaching couples’ with lots of blue tickets. He had none. The first of a few disappointments. He did however find out that jobs could actually be offered that weekend, on the spot! Whoa…that seemed big. And exciting.
So on the Friday night he visited different booths and tried to get interviews lined up for the next day. He started in Dubai at the school he’d sent the resume to but couldn’t get a response from. No, they said they were no longer hiring teachers with non-teaching spouses. He moved on…’no, we want teaching spouses’, ‘no, we can’t take someone with a child in high school’…etc etc. This was the last week in Janurary…so the people from Egypt were giving anyone with a pulse an interview, but their booth was surprisingly uncrowded. Dave declined that interview.
Jeff encouraged the very discouraged Dave, to go over to the Qatar Academy where he was interviewing the next day. So Dave went over, waited in line and talked with the Principal. He immediately had a nice connection with her. As they talked and she heard a few things about him she said “Wait a minute! I know you! I sent you a blue ticket but you sent it back saying you didn’t want to interview with me…I wanted to interview you!” Dave insisted that he hadn’t received a blue ticket from her. She pulled it out of the file and showed it to him. It must have been misplaced in someone else’s registration package. But they’d found each other anyhow.
On Saturday they had a very good interview and she said “well, I want to hire you! Do you want the job?” …gulp….”Yes!”. She said, just a minute, I have to check one thing. She went to her computer and came back and said, “My colleagues are also interviewing in England and they’ve found someone they want to hire. We’re going to have to discuss it tonight and see who wins. Come back tomorrow at noon and I’ll let you know what we’ve decided.”
Oh the pressure.
The next morning she had a big smile on her face. She said “I fought for YOU and I won!” Dave’s hand shook as he signed the contract. Definitely a big moment.
I should let you know that Honour and I were at home feeling the excitement. I expected at some point for her to say “wait a minute!! I’m not sure!!” But what she was saying was “Yes! If they offer it, take it!”
Dave wasn’t carrying a cell phone but promised that he’d find wifi the next day and send us an email. Honour and I sat together on my bed at noon, hitting the refresh button every 2 seconds. At 12:20 we got an email saying “Where are you? I thought you would have responded to that right away!…well whenever you get it I’m sure you’ll be jumping. I’m on my way home. See you soon.” ….Jumping? ….Jumping? for joy? Jumping for joy? That must be what he meant, but until I heard it for real I wasn’t going to believe it. Clearly there was a missing email.
Four hours later he arrived home to confirm that he did indeed get the job. We were thrilled. Life as we knew it had just taken a turn…a big turn, and we were all ready to embrace it.
At this point you might have a lot of questions. Because I’ve told a lot of people about this new venture I can pretty much guess what they are. So that’s next. Stay tuned.