Hi, my name is Linah and I’m a bit from everywhere.
The story behind my smile started 3 years ago when I made what I think was probably one of the best decisions of my life. When I say I’m a bit from everywhere, I mean it. I was born in Kenya, me, my mom and my sister moved to the Netherlands when I was 3 and then we moved to Belgium again when I was 10. I’m 29 now and I’ve lived in 7 different countries, 4 different continents and travelled to 22 different countries and counting.
I don’t have an affiliation with a country and can’t answer the question “where is home”. Planet Earth, that is my home.
Perhaps because I moved around countries and even a continent from such a young age, the travel bug got planted in me. My whole life I have been very interested in other cultures and especially their language. It is then not a surprise that I studied Applied Linguistics. Languages are everything to me and up until this day, I feel exhilarated when I learn a new language.
Okay, back to the story behind my smile. Having a degree in Applied Linguistics (Dutch, English, Spanish) meant that I could be a translator. Unfortunately, in Belgium and Europe in general, those languages are spoken by many people and as a result I couldn’t find a job. I think that many people can relate. You’ve graduated, you can’t find a job and you feel a little bit lost and without purpose. Since I needed money, I started working full-time at a Nike outlet store, which used to be my weekend job. It wasn’t bad as I got many free clothes and shoes but I wasn’t quite living the dream.
And then I met the person who shone a bright light during those dark days. Well, the days weren’t that dark but you get the point. I was bored and thought that I would just live a dull life being a sales assistant as I didn’t want to study anymore. No offence to sales assistants but it wasn’t up my alley whatsoever.
But then I met one of my sister’s friends. His name was Daniel and he was a Cambridge University professor and also translator. My sister had studied a TEFL and wanted to travel overseas to teach English. Daniel was helping her out and she told him about my linguistic background. He then recommended doing a CELTA in London saying that I should be travelling the world. It all sounded like a dream. What do you mean the course is only one month? What do you mean, I can travel AND teach a language? What do you mean it’s okay to switch jobs after only a year? Needless to say I applied almost immediately and before I knew it, I was living in London doing my CELTA. Immediately after, I got a summer holiday job to teach kids at a summer camp in the UK. After that I applied for a job in Vietnam and left Belgium 2 weeks after I got hired.
Now it’s been 3 years since I got my CELTA and I’m in Australia teaching English to adults and I love my job. The salary is good, if I want to take a month off next week to travel, that’s okay and my job will be waiting for me when I come back. I get to interact with students from all over the world and get to know their culture better. I have great bosses and fun colleagues. I’ve traveled around most of Australia already and have been to some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, documentaries included. If that isn’t a good reason to smile every day, then I don’t know what is.
Now, what’s next? To be honest, I don’t know! I very much live in the now. My next destination isn’t set in stone and I kind of find excitement in not knowing where I’m going. Will I be a teacher forever? Probably not. I still want to be a translator one day and thus have recently embarked on learning a new language. But you never know what the world has in store for you and I very much enjoy that it keeps me guessing.