Friday, November 14, 2014

How we got here (Part 2)

[How we got here (Part 1), in case you missed it!]

Time passed.  As it does.

Little Finn arrived and he brought such sunshine to our lives.

We were happy.  Me, especially.  A bit overwhelmed, but happy.

I had good friends and family nearby and I would walk down the streets of our small, college town with our double decker stroller and sometimes it felt like my heart would explode.

Our life was perfect.  Not always easy.  Or literally perfect.  But it was perfect.  And I felt it.  I didn't have to look back to know that.  I knew it right then.

Joel was happy too.  Outwardly.  But something was missing.  I could feel his restlessness.  Even when he didn't talk about it, I knew it was there.

One day he went out with a childhood friend, and came back home toting a book.

When he told me it was Donald Miller's new book I was excited.  To say the least.

Donald Miller had changed my life once before.  My best friend talked about his book, Blue Like Jazz, for years before I finally got around to reading it.

There's not much I can say about this book that could capture it for you.

Except this.

Before I read Blue Like Jazz, I walked around with this chronic lump in my throat.  It was the most suffocating when I read my bible or went to church.  I felt guilty all the time.  Like I was never doing it right.

And while that's a whole other story, I can say that reading Blue Like Jazz helped me to breath again.  When I opened my bible afterwards, the words read like love and freedom. When I went to church I would hear about grace and understand that it actually meant something.

So yeah.  I should have been suspicious.  I should have said no.  I should have seen the risk in reading a life-changing author at such a happy and content point in my life.

But I didn't.

Joel read the book first.  And when he told me I had to read it, I didn't even hesitate.

Big mistake.

The book's called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and it's all about stories.  Particularly our stories.

The author talks about how we're told life should be easy and fun and if it's not we must be doing something wrong.  So we buy things and do things and strive for things that will make life easier.

But in terms of story, there must be conflict.  For the good ones, at least.

And so what would happen if instead of running away from conflict, we ran towards it?  What would happen to our stories then?

I'll admit, when I first started reading the book I thought, I'm not sure I care much if my life is a good story.  But by the end I cared.  A lot.

So we sat down and we talked and next thing I knew we were slaving over paperwork and rushing to meet deadlines and all signed up for an international teaching fair in Boston.  Whatever that was.

Turns out "what that was" was the most stressful, terrifying, excruciating experience of my life.  Every other second I fluctuated between I hope we get a great school and I hope we don't get any school.  I hope we go somewhere cool and I hope we don't go anywhere at all, ever.

I couldn't even eat.  And, if you know me, that's a big deal.

We ended up with a few offers.  But nothing as good as Budapest.  On our flight over we made a wish list for our ideal school.  Budapest fit everything.

We told them we'd give an answer within the week.  But we knew we couldn't say no.  It was too perfect.

We'd kept our endeavor relatively secret.  We were afraid to worry people with the thought of us moving overseas when there was a good chance that would never happen.  Or a chance, at least.

Also, we were kind of chicken.

So we started the hard, hard work of telling friends and family that we were leaving.  And that's when I realized the reality of embracing conflict.  It's that it sucks.

It's that is truly, truly sucks, and after 6 months of nearly good-bye's and actual good-bye's, our bags were packed and it felt like my heart was being ripped from my chest when we stepped away from all that was comfortable and familiar onto that plane and into all that was unknown and terrifying.

It felt like the end, to be honest.  The end of my happy season.  I guess that's how true conflict feels.  Like it will never get better.

Of course it was really another beginning.  And I know that now.  After about a year and half of really, really hard, it did get better.

And I look back on that girl with her wide eyes and pounding heart with a certain fondness.  She had no idea what was coming.  And if she did, she probably never would have left.  But then she never would have gotten to this place, or the places still to come.

I'm proud of that girl.  She was innocent, and naive, but brave.

She never dreamt of moving abroad.  She never hoped for it.  But she did it.

And, although it can't be said that she never looked back, it can be said that she kept moving forward.

Our first home, the night before we left.


  1. Your adventure continues. You know we are living vicariously through you. I can't help but think.....If I were 30 years younger would I be brave enough?

  2. You guys were brave in your travels! And you still are! Plus, it really helped to have encouraging people along the way. We appreciated your support from the very beginning!

  3. Kim, I have been reading and enjoying these blog posts since you started. Well done. I really commend you for your fearless honesty and candidness!! Keep on keeping on :)

  4. Thank you so much, Deb! I really appreciate the encouragement. Hope you're doing well!

  5. Kim, such a beautiful story of so many days and emotions and experiences captured in these few lines and 'in between'. And, important too I think to have gone back to the 'beginning' so we know from where 'you' come as you write. A beautiful start to my Sunday and my first cup of the day. Thank you. S

  6. So glad you enjoyed it. Especially with your first cup:)