I am still amazed at how time passes by so quickly. I remember watching the clock when we had two young children, just waiting for the day to tick by. Days seemed to move more slowly back then. Later when the kids got older, and we moved to Shanghai, I anticipated having days where I would have to look for things to do. Not the case.
I am surprisingly nearly as busy as those days when we had two in high school participating in sports and me providing taxi service what seemed like 24-7. I will admit I have slowed down a bit. My favorite time of day is spent in the hour each weekday after my workout. I get a cup of coffee and sit on the floor with my puppy catching up on life through my computer. You know how it is, go to bed and wake up to a thousand emails, and messages on WeChat, and Facebook. But regardless, where has the time gone since my last post? Oh right…it went into buying a puppy, selling a house, traveling across the world, fantastic trips, and family vacations. It went into laughter, tears, and memories made, and before I knew what happened, months went by before I was able to take a breath and write another update.
Many times I think to myself that my energy level and ability to muster strength has begun to dwindle. However, when I step back and look at our lifestyle and how transient it has become, I realize I have just as much if not more stamina than I ever had before. I am naturally a very structured person. A move overseas is anything but structured. We have all had to grow and adapt to our daily changing lives like waves upon the shore; back and forth in constant motion. Rarely are we home for more than two months at a time. You may be thinking, “Oh poor you, you get to travel and see the world,” and you are absolutely correct. Whenever I get frustrated that my life is not settled and “normal”, I take a step back and give myself a mental slap upside the head. No, life is no longer predictable, but isn’t that what makes it exciting? I never know when I leave my house in the morning what exactly I will see or if my plans will change completely. I’ll be honest, this was terrifying to me for a long time, and sometimes it can still be. But I am learning to embrace the unknown and trust God to take my family and me where He wants us to go…even if it ends up being to some neighborhood in China where no one speaks English, and everyone is openly staring at us as if we have two heads.
Since we began to embrace our new footloose and fancy-free lifestyle (insert sarcasm), we made the decision to sell our house in Michigan. Our home. The place where we rested our heads for 12 1/2 years. Our home base. Don’t get me wrong, it was not a decision made lightly. We talked, and prayed, and thought about what would be best. Many factors went into our decision including, Brett extending his assignment in China, and the reality of how difficult keeping the house had been over the year-and-a-half we had been away. In the back of my mind I thought, if God doesn’t believe that this is the right decision, He won’t let it sell. It is in your hands now Lord, show me what you are going to do. Well, apparently He thought it was the right path for our family because we sold the house the first day! And as if that weren’t enough of an answer to prayer, the couple buying it was Chinese. Oh, the irony! It was such a good example of giving something to God and letting Him work out the details. But again, this is easier said than done. I like to plan my life out to the last detail, remember? Ha! If nothing else comes from our move to China, it will be that I have come to rely upon God and His perfect plan instead of attempting to micromanage the details of a life in which I ultimately have no control.
So the house sold. We packed, and I cried but knew it was the right decision. Now we are in Grand Haven on our collective 7th trip in two months with no house to our name, but many memories made that will last a lifetime. Memories made in our house on Greenwich Circle, memories made in our daily lives in China, memories made in our travels, but most of all memories made with each other. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if we own a house or where we live, it matters who we make those memories with. Whether in Michigan or across the world, we have come to love this crazy, unpredictable life. We are thankful for the moments and memories we are making for a lifetime.
That being said, this blog is going begin to take on a new direction. With all the traveling we have been doing, I am going to start writing more about our trips and less about our daily lives. You’ve heard most of it already. However, I’m sure there will still be an update or two on our experiences in China. Things there are too different to dismiss entirely. So here’s to new travel adventures with a few bits of craziness on the side! I hope you will enjoy seeing the world with the Bunch Abroad!