My hamartia.*

I’m a sickeningly hopeless romantic. I’ll gladly, and only slightly sheepishly admit that. At the slightest suggestion of reciprocation of someone I’m in any way attracted to, my mind starts going at a million miles a minute on both lanes of the highway; she’s probably not interested in me; this would be a nice date to take her on; I don’t think she finds me funny, at least not in a good way, and so on. I’d probably make a good member of some disaster response committee – running through every possible scenario all at the same time.

I have jut realised that this tendency to get carried away with the future manifests itself into any time I go job hunting as well. I uploaded a profile on to one of these recruitment websites as soon as I completed my TESOL course, and no sooner had I clicked ‘submit’, I was contacted by a school in deepest Sicily. And sure enough, my mind went into overdrive; I felt myself wanting a job in Brighton, just to stay in the country a little bit longer, but I also started looking up apartment prices and the cost of living, so I’d be ready to go once I moved out.

Inevitably what happened was they wanted someone with experience in teaching towards specific exams. Experience which I didn’t have and, at two days notice, wasn’t likely to gain before I started, so I politely declined the position. That was a couple of weeks ago, and I’m currently waiting on the outcome of my second interview, again for a last-minute start in dear old Sicily. I’ve been promised a response by the close of business today, which could be any time until 10pm tonight, but to me, no news really is no news this time. I’ve learnt from a fortnight ago.

As yet there isn’t anyone around to test if my hopeless romanticism is still as wreckless…

Jack out.

Hamartia (Ancient Greek: ἁμαρτία) is a word most famously used in Poetics, where it is usually translated as a mistake or error in judgement. In modern discussions of tragedy, hamartia has often been described as a hero’s “tragic flaw.”

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If people aren’t laughing at your dreams, your dreams aren’t big enough.

“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” – Leonardo da Vinci

I went through school not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had five years of secondary school. That was loads of time to decide, and even if that time ran out, I had two years of college. And even if that time ran out, I had three years of university. I think that may be why I stuck university out. I knew I was getting progressively more out of my depth; that was obvious. But I reasoned that if I could just stick it out another six months, year, two years, until I graduated, I would miraculously know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and I could set off in a purposeful direction.

Of course, I graduated without so much as a toot on a kazoo. In fact I think a majority of my coursework never left the University’s collection office. It took over a year of two low level jobs and a persistent girlfriend wanting me to throw it all ‘away’ and leave the country. Then, and only then, did I even begin to realise what I wanted to do, starting to formulate a plot for the rest of my existence.

Returning to the UK long-term has all but disappeared as an option. I remember when my catalyst of an ex-girlfriend had the same realisation, that what is ‘out here’ is so much more rewarding than anything that was ‘back there’. In hindsight it marked the beginning of the end, but I was so caught up in my own existence, busying myself waiting for her return, I couldn’t fully appreciate what I take so for granted now; the view conveyed by Da Vinci above.

So what’s new? I’m here for another eight months, which is realistically nothing. I’m already halfway through the difference between this and my last stay, and that flew by. After that, I fully intend to return to northern Italy and repeat my excellent experience teaching English to the Italian youth. And then…

That was where it stopped. I had the best part of a year ahead mapped out, and it was enough. Until I started to dream a little. What prompted this dream was simple. I was asked what my plans were after I was finished here. I had no concrete idea so it was, more or less, spontaneous; what I would do if I had no constraints, but then all the best dreams are, aren’t they? By the time I’d finished the conversation, they started sounding less like fantastical dreams and more like solid, realistic, doable plans.

I return to the UK, albeit only long enough to pass the tests to allow me to ride a motorbike. I buy a motorbike with the money I’ve earned working, tutoring, doing whatever, while passing these tests. I pick a country in need of an English teacher for the next six months to a year, preferably one that prefers experience over qualifications, as that’s what I’ll have. I jump on my motorbike and head in that direction, sightseeing along the way. I teach in the aforementioned country for approximately a year, or until the summer. I spend the summer months travelling, experiencing the locality and further afield. I find another country in need of an English teacher. I repeat the cycle.

And there it was, the next few years of my life planned out in almost an instant. Funny old life, isn’t it?

Jack out.