What Influenced You? Or, A Handy Gift
I’ve always liked languages but my own interest in EFL originally came out of a desire to live abroad. I think there are plenty of others like me but also (of course) many who got into TEFL because of a specific interest in teaching. But still, regardless of the reason for our initial interest, most of us share at least some amount of fascination with being abroad.
Where does this come from?
It definitely runs in some families, in my case, my grandmother traveled in Europe extensively in her youth and I had an aunt who did some pretty awesome work overseas. To be honest though, I didn’t even talk about their time abroad with them until I started my own traveling. And my immediate family members don’t have passports.
I did, however, read one very inspiring book when I was little – or rather my parents read it to me.
It was called Come Over To My House, with the text, though not the drawings, by Dr. Suess under the name of Theodore LeSieg. Houses, roofs, bathtubs, you name it – from all over the world – are featured. As long ago as it was (don’t ask), I do think this very book played a role in raising my interest in the world. It is in some ways a kids version of one of my other favorite general “travel inspiration” books: Material World.
Apparently, I never even owned the book; my parents just checked it out of the library repeatedly – every once in a while growing up I would try to recall the name or author and find it on Amazon…but always failed. Recently though, I lucked out: my father remembered the name out of the blue, my mother tracked it down on e-bay and my uncle bought it because my parents don’t use credit cards online. And they sent it to me for my upcoming birthday (they know me – they didn’t expect me to wait to open it!)
It is amazing how vividly I remember the pictures and text given that it was well over twenty years ago I last had it read to me.
In any case, I highly recommend this book. I realize most adults are unlikely to buy a children’s book for themselves (do check out Material World instead!), so keep in mind that it might just be the ideal gift for your friends at home who have settled and started having babies. It is in fact a kids’ book, so it is an appropriate gift and you won’t be rubbing in your good times abroad too much … but you will be giving a little one the inspiration to travel later.