6.09.2012

Once in a Lifetime

You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
You may find yourself in another part of the world
You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife
You may ask yourself, well how did I get here?

- The Talking Heads

Most of you saw it coming. Some of you were blindsided. Maybe you heard it through the grapevine, maybe you heard it from me. In case you haven't heard, here is the big news: We have decided to move halfway around the world to China. These are the following three reactions I have gotten:
  1. Blank stare and a nod. An unwillingness to talk about it. I am not sure what to make of this.
  2. "Whoa! That's awesome! Wish I could do that!" This is my favorite reaction.
  3. A befuddled look and after a sufficient time for the stun to sink in, the question: Why would we want to disrupt our lives so drastically? Don't you already have a nice life?
No we are not running from the law. We are not disdainful of America. In fact, we loved our life in our cozy home in a rural town with population of 7,000. We had a view of picturesque mountains yearlong, great dining and local wineries, and just out our front door, a fantastic bike ride that weaved through farmland, hills, and lakes. We had a three-bedroom house with a decent sized kitchen. Every year Birdman perfected his farming skills, each year our garden producing better than the last. Recently, we harvested the first crop of lemons from a 6 year old tree planted the year we moved in, and now the grapes were getting ripe. We had two laying hens and rooster, whose 5 am crowing no neighbor protested. So how did we get here?

In 2010, we visited our friends who had taken up residence in a very populated, smoggy city in China. Even though the smells were an unwelcome assault on the senses, the subways stuffed with people, the language foreign and the basic etiquette Americans take for granted such as standing in line in an orderly fashion were nonexistent, our friends were having a fantastic time. The simplicity of their life appealed to us. No car insurance to buy, no cars to fix, no yard to tend to, encountering new and unique ways of thinking, and meeting many interesting and wonderful people. So we admired their life, and went back home to our jobs and our house.

Fast forward a few years. We first mentioned the thought of moving to China back in the fall. It sort of went like this: "Well if we don't do it now, we may never have the chance." Then we began investigating how would this be possible. The idea began to form slowly at first, then became like a boulder rolling down a steep mountain slope -- the idea could not be stopped. So here we are, at the brink of our once in a lifetime opportunity: a move to a foreign land, with a foreign language, with foreign customs. And we can't wait.

The countdown begins now: 55 days till take-off.