It was a shock to us as much as anyone else. Granted, we did choose to entertain the idea. We do choose these things! It’s a funny thing though. For those close to us, they know that the decision was made after careful consideration and prayer. Not just by us, but ultimately, we left most of this decision up to our teenagers who’d be joining us. Emily will be a junior and Dallin will enter school as a freshman next fall. We understood that it would affect them the most. Janae leaves for a mission, AJ stays in Utah for school, and Jaxon is young enough that we feel confident he will be fine. We talked to them individually and approached them with trepidation, only to find their responses overwhelmingly positive and excited for the opportunity! Who are these kids? They are curious, courageous, and up for an adventure (it must come from Jason)! Of course they had various reservations, but clearly they were game!
Jason and I often contemplate and talk about what kind of family culture we have created or are creating in our home. We have heard of families that have a culture of kindness. That sounds so wonderful, we have wanted to have the same, but I cannot claim that as our own. Most days we try to fight a family culture of being funny. It’s in us, all of us, and not always in the best ways. So we don’t necessarily want to claim funny as our family culture! But perhaps we have helped to create and continue to share a culture of experiences. We are all about the experience! Whether it’s downsizing and relocating on a couple of acres for the experiences of work, and chickens, and treehouse building, to selling most of our belongings and moving across the pond to London. These changes are adventures and opportunities for growth! Living in Texas changed us. Living in London changed us. Living in Utah has changed us. We are a family out for experiences that will shape and change us. There is no doubt in my mind, that without the London adventure, these teens of ours never would have given the move to a foreign country WITH a foreign language a second thought. But they know. They know it will be a wonderful, life-changing experience, and they’re up for it! I am so proud of them.
It’s been eye-opening talking to different people in my social circles and hearing their responses. I’d say the responses are usually one of three. One is sadness, these have come from people with whom we are very close; our family, our dearest friends, the kids’ cousins, or their best friends. They are equally happy for us and excited for us, but the distance and time difference are difficult and it is just sad. I get this. I feel this.
Another response we get is just excitement! They think this is the coolest thing ever! Given the opportunity, they’d pack their bags and do the same! They are fun to talk to, and they will probably come visit us! Obviously, I get this as well. This is OUR life, and we are choosing it, so of course I’d probably react similarly if the roles were reversed.
The last response is pretty much confusion. Why? like ew?! They just don’t get it at all. My guess is it’s just not something that they think is desirable, and they would never in a million years even consider it. Or they may slightly judge us and think we’re never happy and always out for the next best thing, and we’ll never find it or something like that? This response has been interesting to receive. And at first a bit baffling, but I’m starting to understand it better. Because we are all so different, and my family’s search for experiences and adventure might be the opposite of someone else’s desire to create stability, predictability and a family home. A place where they’re future grandchildren will visit and play on the same backyard swing as did their own children. I can appreciate that. In fact, after this crazy childhood we’re exposing our own children to, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them have that very same desire for their families.
And as up-and-ready as I claim to be, I at times find myself a little nervous. The thing about living in London is it’s like being an older mom. We kind of forget the bad times. You know, the vomit in the uncombed hair, never sitting on a toilet in privacy, fighting a toddler who arches his back and screams he doesn’t want to be buckled in his carseat. We know it happened, but we tend to forget the stress and emotional strife it caused. London was like that. If you ask me about it today, I will tell you all things amazing. I will have a much more difficult time pinpointing the tears and frustrations, or the loneliness. My memories aren’t necessarily of the missed trains, the cooking conversion dilemmas, or the rain…oh the rain! They are of the amazing people we met, Big Ben and Southbank, which never disappoint, or the green rolling hills…oh the green! I share this simply because I realize it’s going to be hard. And I’ll jump on this blog and share my tears, and frustrations from time to time. But I know, I will grow. I will change. And eventually, I may just forget most of the stresses and walk away with a ton of good. I have faith in the good.
Here’s to Dresden! Click on the link and it will show you exactly where we’ll be living! Or check out these pictures to get a better idea of where we’ll be in this be world. You’ll even see our apartment!