Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How we got here (Part 1)

I've hinted before that moving abroad was not my idea.

Sometimes I feel like a bit of a fake here, amongst so many people who love to travel and have always wanted to travel or have literally always travelled.

One of the first questions you ask when meeting a new expat is this... "Where are you coming from?"

The answer varies, but it usually goes something like this.

"You mean right before this?  China."


"Yes, but before that Germany."


"And before that Kenya."


"But only after a short time in Saudi Arabia."


"How about you?"

"Me?  Um.  Pennsylvania?"

When we first moved here I was dumbfounded by these answers.  People would talk to me, but I couldn't listen anymore because I was counting back years and countries and trying to figure out how they could be any less than 60 to 80 years old.

But they weren't 60 to 80 years old.  In fact, most weren't much older than me.

But my background was much more simple.  And, to be honest, I liked it that way.

I remember telling Joel once that I felt no urge to travel outside of the States.

Yes, dear expat friends.  I'm one of those.

Of course now I'm so grateful that we did travel outside the US.  I could list the reasons why.  Easily.   But really I wish you could feel what it's like, my boots clicking down cobblestone streets, the pink glow of twilight painting the old, stone buildings around me.

I wish you could feel my heart grip in that moment.  And you could look around with me as I think, how did I ever get here?  How is this really my life?

One day I'm sure I'll talk more about my life here.  And the reasons I love it.  Even when it can be so hard.

But I thought today, that perhaps I should explain how we got here.  In case anyone is suspecting drugs, or other various means of coercion.

We all know that I married a traveler.

I used to humor him with a vague notion that, yes, I will someday travel with you.  The same way I pretended to like football and video games.

But I, in fact, did not want to travel with him.  Or anybody else for that matter.

So I was happy when the idea got pushed aside in light of jobs and kids and other things that tend to hold you down in one place.

I remember Joel coming home from a presentation at our church one day, when Aiden was still a tiny baby.  It was a missionary family, I believe, although I can't recall much else.

What I do remember was Joel walking into our bedroom and whispering, while Aiden snored softly beside us, "I still feel like we need to do this."

"Do what?"

"Travel.  Live in a different country."

And even though I was maniacally obsessed with keeping everyone and everything absolutely silent while the baby slept, I laughed out loud.

"People with kids don't move to different countries."

Right?  Because I was counting on that.

He ignored my laughter and stated quietly and calmly that he would never push me to do it if I didn't want to.  But wanted to let me know that he did.  Want to.  And he'd be ready to go if I ever came around.

It stayed there between us for a long time.  We talked about it some.  But not much.  He knew I wasn't ready, and although from time to time he reminded me that he, in fact, was, he stayed true to his promise and never, ever pushed me.

I honestly don't know how it came about, or what ever inspired me to say so, but when Aiden was about a year, I told him I was ready.

We were driving home from my parents and it was a long trip and the baby was sleeping so peacefully and I had massive amounts of coffee coursing through my system and for some reason I said yes.  Let's do it.

At that point we had been not not trying for a second child.  But we decided to give this travel thing a go and start officially not trying for a baby.

A week later we found out I was pregnant with Finn.

Joel put his dream on hold.  Again.

But I hung it up altogether.  If you don't move to foreign countries with one kid, you certainly don't move there with two.

No one would be that crazy...

(To be continued...)

p.s. Sorry for the lame, completely unsuspenseful cliffhanger.  But I'm too tired to think up any more words tonight.  So I'll pour myself a glass of wine and leave you with this spoiler... we do, in fact, move to a foreign country.


  1. No-one would be that crazy, you're right........oh wait a minute....... ;)

    Love your blog, as ever.

  2. Yep, no-one would be that crazy... except when you move overseas without speaking the language with a 6 month old. Then you get crazy, and have another baby :) Looking forward to part 2!

  3. Looking forward to reading part 2. Hope the wine was as good as the spoiler! lol