No work and the job search makes Brittany a dull girl.

It's been about a month and a half since I wrote my post about creating to find my place in Amsterdam and, well, I'm still trying. I'm finding that starting life as an ex-pat isn't always the easiest. There are ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, and though I try to stay positive, negativity occasionally creeps in and takes over.

While I'm lucky that my social life is full and active, my work life is still lacking greatly. Aside from nannying two days a week and the seemingly never-ending, fruitless job search, I don't have much going on. In fact, I feel quite like the opposite of Jack Nicholson in The Shining. While "all work and no play" drove him insane, the lack of work is starting to make me feel a little crazy. I'm desperately searching for some purpose, and each time something doesn't work out, I feel a little more deflated.

Now for those of you who may not know me well, I am usually the queen of positive thinking. I read the first 30 pages or so of The Secret and it really spoke to me. (I realize that this sounds ridiculous, but it seems that after about 30 pages, self-help books just start repeating themselves in different ways). Basically, the book advises you to visualize what you want, believe that you deserve it, and it will come to you. I do my best live my life by this formula and it almost always works -- whether it's picturing your seat on the rush-hour train or believing that two professors will agree to individualize their courses for you via email so you can spend the summer in Europe with your boyfriend.

Positive thinking helped me visualize my move to Asia. January 2010 found me on a plane to South Korea to try my hand at teaching. I fell in love. Positive thinking then helped me visualize the path to become a teacher. Before I returned home, I applied and was accepted to a program in which I would earn a teaching license in English as a second language and a Master of Arts in Education. It was clear to me that teaching was what I wanted to do, and I was excited to start working towards this goal.

As my relationship with the husband grew more serious, I started looking into teaching opportunities in Amsterdam. While working in a Dutch public school would be difficult due to the language barrier, the international schools all had English language acquisition teachers on staff. One of the requirements for attaining such a position was a Dutch teaching license equivalent. The research I did seemed to show that after I sent my U.S. teaching license to the Dutch Office of Education, I would be granted a teaching license in the Netherlands and could start applying for positions. I sent letters of inquiry to schools explaining my qualifications and experience, and was told that upon graduation I should start applying. I visualized myself biking to work in my teacher shoes and was sure that nothing would stop me.

Things started out strong. I applied for a position teaching English as an additional language and was quickly granted an interview that could not have gone better. I hit it off with the head of school and was invited back for a teaching observation. The observation also went well and I had high hopes for my first teaching position in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, I didn't get the job. Instead, I was offered a substitute teaching position which I graciously accepted. I was admittedly disappointed, but also well aware that a substitute position was the perfect opportunity for me to show them that I was worthy of a full time teaching position. I was still visualizing great things.

But then, after much waiting, I received my letter from the Office of Education and found that my request for a teaching license had been denied. I was told that in the Netherlands, English teachers are required to have a Bachelor's degree in English, which I do not. As much as I tried to explain that the degrees I hold better qualify me to teach English language acquisition than an English major would, my pleas fell on deaf ears. I had to be removed from the substitute teaching list and, even worse, could no longer seek employment as a teacher.

It has now been a bit more than a month and I am doing my best to remedy the situation. I'm looking for non-teaching employment in education settings and I'm searching for all possible ways to become a licensed teacher in the Netherlands. Above all, I'm trying to remain positive, but am finding all of these things difficult.

Before I left for Amsterdam, a dear friend warned me that the first year, especially in regards to finding employment, would be challenging. I believed her, but also felt sure that the steps I had taken, the research I had done, and a positive outlook would help me handle anything thrown my way. Fast forward to six months later and I find it a struggle to keep that same optimistic view. My journey to employment is ongoing, and I'm hoping that as I enter a new year I can manage to raise my spirits and visualize a path to teaching in the Netherlands.