We must not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. - T.S. Eliot


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

3 Reasons to Move to China

Quilombolo in Brazil

Why Are You Moving to China?
This is perhaps the most prevalent question from family and friends. There are so many reasons. I thought I would briefly explain a few. I figure when I’m longing for my Thursday night viewing of The Big Bang Theory, craving freshly made, extra greasy, donuts from the bakery dive down the street, and crying because I miss my family, I can re-read it and reassure myself we made the right decision! They are in no particular order and all of equal importance.

1. Adventure and Love of Travel
It is true, we have both travelled abroad a bit. Casey student taught in Belize. I took a 10 day history course in Russia, and another in education in Malaysia. We both took a whimsical 12 day trip through Europe. What a learning experience that was! It is one thing to travel with a university in a country and quite another to travel independently. It’s much more adventurous and rewarding. You may miss some of the prized tourist monuments, but you learn a great deal more from the people you encounter along your journey. You always gain more pleasure from the smallest discoveries. Do you know in Rome you can walk underground in a subway tunnel, up some steps, and just as you enter the daylight, pouring in from the subway opening, at the top of the concrete staircase is the Coliseum? … the same coliseum that housed gladiators. It is a spectacular sight! Or that the Muslim men that I travelled with through the Malaysian rainforest were some of the most polite and peaceful people I have ever met in my life? Their kindness was beyond that I have ever felt. Or that African villages, created by run-away slaves, called Quilombolos exist throughout Brazil. Each experience abroad has added great value to both our lives. After each adventure, we have both yearned for more. … more adventure and more understanding.

2. Education and Intellect
It is the most wonderful and enriching experience we can share with our children and as a family. I feel like every paper I’ve written, every speaking engagement I have attended, and every professional development session I’ve given in the past 3 years have included globalization. It is important that the interests of the world are evaluated, rather than those of only the global elite. This requires authentic experience and education. We are giving our children this opportunity! Not only will our children attend an international school alongside students from countries around the world, but Casey and I will have the opportunity to teach and learn from these students!

3. Financial
The cost of living in China is much cheaper. It will afford us the finances needed to travel. On our salaries, in the United States, we can’t afford a trip to Florida, much less Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Himalayan Mountains. We want to share and relish in these experiences as a family, not just in retirement.

I read a blog earlier today that presented the same question.

I suppose it’s not. It’s not an erratic decision we made without intense discussion and considerable thought. We are excited about this journey!

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -- Mark Twain

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Our Moving Prepartions Are In Full Bloom!

Spring has sprung! The signs are everywhere. Literally… The billboard at the entrance of the drive-inn proclaimed “We’re Open” as I drove by last week. Our newly planted Bradford Pear trees are blooming for the first time, Casey’s been eyeing BOTH of his broken tillers, my flip-flops and softly worn leather sandals have already taken their place in the front row of shoes in my closet, and our moving preparations are in full bloom.
We received our flight itinerary last week… After a 4 hour flight, a 5 hour layover, a 13 hour flight, a 2 hour layover, and another 3 hour flight we will arrive in Chengdu, China. If you have done your math you might realize that this equals 27 hours, 3 children and 2 insane parents.
Honestly, psychosis may develop before we actually step foot on the first flight. While we’ve been able to check a few items off our “to-do” list such as obtaining a COMPLETE physical examination and acquiring passports for our children, others linger about. Although it might seem as though I am worried, I’m really not! I’m excited! Simply receiving my children’s passports in the mail seemed like a reason to celebrate. When their passports arrived today, via US postal services, Casey was scared to let Phillip and Grayce touch their passport books. (He explained later he feared cute, little, crayon drawings might be an issue when going through customs.) After a moment of thought, I agreed! Emma carefully flipped through the pages of her passport and smiled.
Each step brings us closer to the reality that we are moving. I believe we have successfully rented our house (we’ll find out this week) and have begun wading through 14 years of stuff. We have been told to pack the minimal, so I spent the better part of a day eliminating clothes and other items in our bedroom. It’s difficult to throw out jeans you haven’t worn in 10 years. It’s like giving up hope that you’ll ever have the body you had as a 25 year old. I was comforted by the thought that the flared legs might not be as hip as they once were. Apparently, Casey found the amazing feat of cleaning out my closet quite hilarious. It became even more evident that he didn’t have faith in my ability to simplify when he grabbed my camera and began taking pictures. Pictures he made me promise I would post to the blog.

Items I would like to keep!

Garage Sale Items

It looks bad, but I was able to make significant progress after the photos were taken.

We are permitted 2 pieces of luggage per person. We can pay a $150 fee per additional 50 pound piece of luggage. There is also the option to ship some personal affects. However, it costs around $500 to have a 50 pound box shipped to China. It seems we will be drastically limiting our possessions! Spring cleaning has taken on a whole new meaning!