The Day I became a Fijian

If I told you my story, you would probably laugh. You’d probably join in with my friends who have gasped at the things I’ve done with, “Wow that’s ballsy!”

You would probably cry at times too during the trials, but only for moments because around the corners you would find little gifts and big ones too that have met me on the road.

And if you really listened to my story, you would realize at some point along the way that none of it has to do with me.

And here is the part of my story that brought out the Fijian in me. 

I believe in doing something that scares me every single day. Once that meant showing up on a boy’s doorstep in Pittsburgh to give him a taste of what he was losing and once it meant answering a phone call from my bank. Both moments had me sweating bullets, but both left me braver and more ready to live my life with gusto. Sometimes, I have chosen the scary moments and other times, they have been thrust upon me. This was a moment of the latter.

It was Monday, October 19th, exactly 4 days after I completed my student teaching and 4 whole days of being on the job market. At 3pm, I received this text from Morgan Heberle, “Hi E! Are you on the TMC alumni site? I just saw this job posting. NO IDEA if you’re even looking for anything, your name just popped in my head as I read it. No need to even respond if you don’t want. But wow! Doesn’t that sounds amazeballs?” I didn’t even know we had an alumni page.

I read the ad, which sounded ridiculous. Family from San Diego, graduates of TMC looking for a governess/teacher, all expenses paid, including family vacations, living in a beautiful villa in Fiji. Some of you might think, well duh! No brainer! Right? The timing was perfect. The situation fit me perfectly. I am a teacher, am great with kids, I love being a part of a family, and I have been trying to live near an ocean my whole life! So there you have it. A nice little story of how the white girl got a fun job in Fiji. That’s a sweet story.

Wrong. I’m not even close to being done.

I told Morgan I would send them my resume, but that it probably wouldn’t work out because the stipend they were offering wouldn’t even cover my minimum student loan payments. I sent my resume that same day and got a response that same day, asking for a Skype interview. I agreed and I got to talk to the family for about an hour. It was clear that we had a lot of similar ideas about everything, God, education, childhood, etc. But was that enough? Nope. I was still concerned about the money. After a day or two, I received an email from Irina, the mom, that expressed their interest in me and inquired of my interest in them. I responded cordially, expressing that I would love everything about the job but that I could not take it due to my student loan payments. I knew I needed to be faithful to that.

The end…

Just kidding.

The next email from Irina was brief: “How much are you hoping to pay on your student loans each month? 

Freakout ensues: OH MY GOSH! What!?!? I thought that that was it! What if this actually happens?!? What if they want me enough to pay more!?!?! AHHH!! STOP EMILIE!! CALM DOWN! Nothing has even happened yet. Ugh!

So I told them how much I wanted to pay each month. I then waited nervously. Of course it’s too much! Of course they will choose someone else who doesn’t ask for more.

Wrong again.

“Okay! That’s doable for us. We think it’s more important to pay more for the right person.”

uuummmm…I’m sorry, what?

They doubled their offering stipend. They doubled it. DOUBLED.

So now we are probably on the same page, right? I took the job, everything worked out and I am going to be really tan. No. I struggle with getting tan. Darn Swedish skin!

Instead, this is when I became a little bit more like Moses. “No God, they can’t offer enough money.” God says, “Okay, problem solved, money is no longer an issue. Go. Enjoy this gift.” “Okay, but God, they want me to come November 12th. That’s too soon. I need at least a month” “If time is what it will take, here is time. Stay in Cleveland until after Thanksgiving.” “Well actually I just don’t know these people. So I’ll make some calls to some professors who might know them.” “Whatever…I already know what  they’ll say.” Of course, they all had wonderful things to say. “Well, okay so they’re great, but I don’t know if I can commit to more than a year. I’m too scared.” “FINE! Only commit through June. ACCEPT MY GIFT ALREADY!” And in the calm, wise words of 9-year-old, Henry Clay, “Geeze! It’s just 6-months of your life. Stop overthinking this!” 

So now, no tricks, no games. I’m moving to Fiji on November 28th and I can add another scary thing that I have done to my list! Thank you God for such a gift.

I’d love to hear the scary things that you have done! Let me know in the comments section!

Now swoon with me over these pictures.

Check out my Fijian family’s blog :

The Day I became a Fijian

4 thoughts on “The Day I became a Fijian

  1. Betty says:

    Emilie, I couldn’t be more delighted for you!! And for J.K. and Ira! I pray it will be a blessed partnership and that you’ll have great adventures!

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