Looking to the Future

Well the continued lack of employment here in Lao is making it increasingly look like I'm going to be heading back to Canada soon. Lately I've really been missing home so in a way this seems good. On the other hand, I'm really afraid of falling back into the same rut I was in before I came here.

But in general, I'm increasingly feeling that I like what my life could be in Canada more than what my life could be in Lao. I just have that many more options to pursue my interests outside of work in Canada. I have friends and family that I miss, I improve my photographic skills in an amazing creative environment (NSCAD), I can take Taiji, etc, etc.

In Lao on the other hand, I do have some friends but my social life is pretty much as limited as it was in Canada, or worse. There's amazing places to go to take pictures but transportation is tough and the harsh sunlight means you really have to pay attention to the time of day you shoot. I do have a girlfriend here and I will miss her but we both knew that I might leave when we started dating. More and more I'm realising that the life I would want to live here is mostly just the fantasy of having an affluent lifestyle.

The big fear of course is that I'll be stuck in the job market back in Halifax and be forced back into a job that makes me miserable. I know I can't go back to call center work. There's actually a variety of reasons for this, the scheduling issues aside. One of the biggest is that I already have a lot of call center experience and I need to move into something else or else it will really look like that's all I can do. I can just imagine an HR person looking at my resume, "okay, you did some work for a non-profit organization during university, then you worked at a call center, you left that and tried to do freelance work, that didn't work out so you went back to a call center, then you got an international placement as a volunteer, and then came back to work at a call center". Doesn't sound too attractive does it? I need to move into something that will give me some more impressive experience on my resume and will make it look as if I've moved beyond call center work.

Now the big question is when? At the moment I'm riding out the end of my visa and will probably stay a little longer for Lao New Year (Apr 13-15) then travel a bit. My plane ticket currently has me leaving on May 6 but I can change that. I'd really like to be able to come back and take a photo course at NSCAD and they start up in the 2nd or 3rd week of May. It would be nice to come back and get right into doing something. Coming back and starting on a course right away and maybe taiji too will help me not get settled right back into the rut I left behind. I know I'll be jet lagged and tired for a bit so it will help to have something to get me off my ass right away.

The big thing that might hold up this plan, but in a good way, is that I've put together a contract proposal for some short-term contract work. It's a cool networking project so it would be some nice experience. Right now they seem pretty keen on my proposal but they haven't approved it yet. If that goes ahead then it will probably push back my return date. Hopefully I'll know soon because I'd like to make plans. Now that I've decided to come home I'd like to be able to move along with that right away but this contract would be some good experience and it would also be nice to be coming home with a bit more money to help me get settled in. For instance, I'd be able to get an apartment and some furniture as soon as I got a job offer instead of having to wait for a few pay cheques first to save up some money.