Is it ironic that this blog begins with a goodbye?
Either way, adios, auf wiedersehen, or actually it’s zaijian now.
I am both totally ready to get the hell out of here, and absolutely not ready to leave this place.
This place is home. Support, community, the familiar (so very familiar). How will I survive? And Aaron? The kids?
“Jannie, we need to go to the clinic to meet with the doctors about the Z-Pac and anti-nausea meds we want to take to China, can you watch the kids this afternoon?”
“Of course!” she says.
“We need to run into Eugene to get this visa document authenticated, or notarized, or translated, or mailed, or, or, or…Can you pick up the kids?”
“Are you going into town? Can you pick up some half-and-half and some Bogs boots for the kids? Size 11 and 1, please.”
Jannie. Oh how I will miss Grandma Jannie. She is our security blanket, our “go ask grandma if…”, our six-feet-away. She is the one who lets us sell both our cars and use her truck to do all of our driving around for weeks. She is the one who will spend the night with the kids at the drop of a hat because we have to fly to San Francisco to get official fingerprinting done at the Chinese consolate.
Jan, when are you coming to Shanghai? Book the flight, lady! Get your travel visa!
We need you.
Really, it is because of Jan that we are even able to take a leap like this. Rent out our house, put our current jobs on hold, sell our cars, move our family of four to Shanghai. She may not like it, but she has supported it 100%.
Love you, Grandma.
In fact, all the grandmas, and grandpas, and tantes in our life say, “Absolutely! You should go for it. How can we help?”
“Oh, I don’t know, Mom, want to store 75% or my earthly belongings in your basement?”
“Bring it down,” she says.
Mom, can you fly to Shanghai to watch our kids for ten days? It will be awesome…we may or may not have an apartment and it is literally 125 degrees.”
“Yes. Give me the dates.”
Love you, Mom.
I’ll miss this place. This community. It is small, but has plenty of wide open spaces. It doesn’t have a lot of people, but it has so many friends.
Our new place, it is gigantic, but cramped. It has 25 million people, but we will be alone. Aaron and I have never tried raising this family alone. I’m scared.
What will I do without Cassadie?
What will I do without the neighbors and their impromptu dance parties?
I know I will miss Oregon’s wide open spaces, shared with friends.
I’ll miss our quiet, dead-end street.
I’ll miss this dog.
I’ll miss family.
I’ll miss duck games.
I’ll miss my yard, the garden, the flowers, the fruit trees.
Oh, and my hammock.
I’ll miss Fern Ridge School District with all the friends I’ve worked and learned with there. I’ll miss knowing my students, their brothers and sisters, and their parents like only you can in a small town. I’ll miss Outdoor School.
This place is familiar. My kids know if Haley is working at the salon when we drive by. They see Lydia driving in her mini-van before I do. They know Mr. Bruce has a sub job if they see him walking in the morning. And Magnus’s teacher, Ms. Emily. How is Magnus (or I, for that matter) going to live with out Ms. Emily? My kids know the teachers, the substitutes, our local firemen, the people who serve us coffee, every neighbor on the road, and they know it is safe, and warm, and welcoming.
I have questioned this whole “moving to China” thing many times over in the past few months. Actually a few of you have, too. Why am I doing this? I have a good thing going here! I must be crazy to take a six and a four year old to China!
But, there is something else I miss that is important to Aaron and me. I miss traveling. Really traveling. Settling in to a foreign place, and getting to know it, if only a little bit. Seeing the world through a different lens. Learning more about history, geography, and culture, by being there and seeing it. Traveling brings growth and self-discovery, it’s empowering and adventurous. It makes me a better teacher, and a better person for that matter. And this time I get to take Aaron and the kids with me. WE get to see the world. WE get to discover.
What I’ve decided, despite the many sacrifices I am making to do this thing, is that when it comes down to it if I have the three of them my heart is home.
We are packing our eight suitcases and moving to Shanghai. Two adults, two kids, two years. We are going on an adventure.
We will have an extra room if you feel like traveling, too.
Zaijian, for now.