We are currently in our last year of a two contract with ACS Beirut. We have known for quite some time that we would need to decide by December 2011 whether we would commit to a third year at the school. The Head of School has asked for a decision by the beginning of this month and we have been struggling with this decision since returning in August. What to do? Stay or go home to retirement? Here are some of the major points we have to consider.
Stay for Year 3
- Living Internationally – Living in a foreign city still intrigues us. Beirut has such an interesting blend of western and Muslim cultures. We enjoy laying in bed hearing the call to prayer, eating at a different restaurant most weekends, living amongst and working with Muslims, and trying to understand the intricacies of Lebanese culture.
- Show Us the Money – As two public school educators we were never able to put significant amounts of money aside for retirement. We have been able to save some money while here, and could continue to do so another year by staying at ACS.
- Travel – Since coming here we have visited Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Kenya. We have seen the pyramids, been on a safari, swam in the Dead Sea, watched the sunset on a Grecian isle, and visited some incredible sites we hardly knew about before coming here. We would love another year of this travel.
- Not yet ready for retirement – This is Sharon’s issue more than Mike’s but we are still young…well, we think we are anyway… Sharon is enjoying being back in the classroom. Mike can go either way on this one.
- Family and Friends – We miss our family and friends. Our kids are coming in a few weeks, Brittany came last December, our best buddy Donna visited earlier this fall, and my brother Dave and his wife Deb visited last spring, but otherwise we go for close to a year without being with the people we love. Last year we missed two important family/friend weddings and my brother’s 70th birthday party. Might we miss other important family events if we stay another year?
- Retirement – No 5:30 alarm clock. No 10 hour work days weeks in a row. Leisurely mornings, yoga, walks, golf, skiing, cooking and entertaining, and more leisurely travel. Sounds good.
- We have done what we set out to do. We committed for two year and will have done that successfully.
- Arab Spring gone bad – Will Lebanon stay calm? Are we pushing our luck by staying another year? Another bombing of a UN vehicle recently is not a good sign. Syria is very close by, both geographically and politically.
- Things we miss – Our family and friends, fresh air, entertaining, fall foliage, skiing, golf, walking dirt roads….
- Hard Work – We work damned hard here. And if Sharon’s class size increases, and knowing that TA support is not going to happen…these might be vital factors in our decision.
A tough call. Fortunately, we feel we are in a win-win situation as either option is a positive one. We are nearing a decision, and will post it once we make the decision and tell our bosses, family and friends.