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Finding a Job in Istanbul

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From Albania we took a minibus and train through Greece to Istanbul. Greece was the one place I had wanted to go when we found out we were pregnant, the adventures of the Balkans and Middle East seemed a little overwhelming.

Being pregnant was enough of an adventure, I just wanted to relax.

“Why don’t we just go to Crete and hang out by the water?” I suggested.

But when we were finally coming to Greece, Wade insisted it was too expensive and we’d do better to just get to Istanbul where we could find jobs teaching English. He promised me we’d return to Greece for a honeymoon…

In Istanbul we spent a few days walking around, finding our way through the city, eating kebabs, and getting soaked in the rain. Then it was time to find jobs.

We called the major English teaching schools, but even their secretaries didn’t speak English well enough for them to understand us. So we put on our most presentable clothes and walked around the city dropping off resumes. When that didn’t work we went to the old standby, which is quickly becoming an international resource, craigslist.

Looking for a job in a foreign country while pregnant isn’t easy. Of course I couldn’t tell anyone about the little person growing in my belly or they never would have hired me. I knew I only had a month or two before I would start to show. In fact my little belly was already making my jeans feel a little snug, so I found a empire waist dress in the Istanbul market for about $4.

But it was a race against time, so I wanted to hurry up and find some sort of employment, knowing that if I didn’t get a job in the next couple weeks I probably wouldn’t be able to work until after the baby arrived.

Eventually one of the craigslist ads responded. They taught using the Callan method, an experiential English program that requires the teacher to stand in front of the room reading sentences and then asking students to repeat them. I sat through a long interview, went to a couple evenings of unpaid training before telling Wade the boss was just too swarmy for me to sit through another week of unpaid training. He seemed like a creep. I couldn’t really trust him.

But mostly the reason why I strayed away from this work was that it was getting hard for me to concentrate. The classes were taught in the evening. I was exhausted by 8 pm. I was starting to get spacey and having difficulty paying attention. I was still emotional and whenever I made a mistake and was corrected I wanted to cry.

Other young English and Canadian wannabe English teachers were talking about what clubs they went to at night and all I could think was “I’m pregnant…I’m really pregnant.”

I felt useless. The boss was a schmuck. It wasn’t worth it. Even if I didn’t get another job.

I went back to grocery shopping, cooking, and watching my belly grow.

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Filed under: English Teaching, Pregnancy, Travel With Family, Turkey, Work

About the Author:

After traveling on her own for three or four years, Chaya met up with Wade Shepard, the editor of VagabondJourney.com. They were married in 2009, and continue to travel the world together with their young daughter. From time to time Chaya blogs about family travel and life on the road. has written 102 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

Chaya Shepard is currently in: Xiamen, China