How is it that time can pass so quickly, and yet seem to take forever?
It hasn’t even been a year since we first started exploring the possibility of a ’round-the-world move. It was in late July of last year when a friend/co-worker casually asked Tim (in my presence) if he’d ever considered working in Chiang Mai. Tim’s answer was that he’d love to, but “Lisa would never do that.” My (slightly offended) response: “You never ASKED me!”
So he asked me. I said I’d be willing to consider it, at least. And that was the beginning. He next contacted the supervisor of the Chiang Mai office, who said that they were really wanting to get a more stable presence there: preferably a married couple, ideally a family. And that the people who were there at that time would be returning to the U.S. at the end of the year (2011). Well then. The office pushed things into fast forward and in late October/early November gave us preliminary approval to go. The timing was the next biggest question. They really wanted us there ASAP, but we told them we had commitments that would keep us here until late April. That put us on target to arrive in Chiang Mai in early summer 2012.
At that point, moving became a reality, albeit a distant one. We started slowly clearing things out, getting rid of stuff, thinking about how we were going to do this. But it was too early to really start doing much. After the first of the year we started preparing in earnest: online garage sale, trips to Goodwill, talking to family about what we should do with antiques and family “treasures.” A trip to St. Louis and Detroit in February took the first load of stuff destined for storage in family basements. More clearing out, a real garage sale, more online sales, more donations, and a lot of good-byes found us with two fully loaded minivans headed northwest on May 10.
There had been quite a few little bumps in the figurative road before we hit the literal one. Starting in the winter, it seemed like things just kept breaking. The first thing to break was actually a bit before that, I think in the fall: the inside passenge door handle in our minivan. No big deal, we had that fixed. Then a light fixture in our kitchen failed. About a month before our move date, the breakages started coming faster. The rear liftgate latch on the minivan snapped. Ordered the part for the minivan, called an electrician for the kitchen. Next it was the washing machine, which refused to agitate on one cycle. Back online to order a part for that. Electrician fixed the kitchen light easily (and inexpensively), new minivan latch arrived and Tim installed it. He then went out of town for two weeks and arrived home 10 days before our move date.
The washing machine part arrived while he was away, so as soon as Tim got home he installed that. But it didn’t work right. So he called and ordered yet another. In the meantime (now less than a week before moving), the lock on our front door broke. And our hand-vacuum that we used on the stairs. And the full-sized vacuum that we used for the rest of the house.
Our neighbor (and the husband of our property manager) was able to fix our lock. The full-sized vacuum really only needed a belt. The hand vac had failed catastrophically and wasn’t fixable.
The second replacement part for the washer arrived two days before we were leaving. That morning, Bethany dropped a heavy object on her toe. X-rays showed a slight crack in the tip of the toe bone. Yes, another breakage. (Thankfully, within a couple of days she didn’t have any more pain, though.) Tim installed the new washer part; it didn’t work right either. No more time for repairs, we had to get a new washer pronto. We found a used one not too far away. On the way to go get it, I joked to Tim: “What else could possibly break?” When we arrived, the driver’s side door latch snapped off in his hand. SERIOUSLY?!?!
The next day we invited friends to come and take anything that was left. We packed the leftovers in a box and Tim took it to Goodwill. Walking across the parking lot, the bottom burst out of the box and everything in it crashed to the pavement, including a whole lot of glasses. More breakage.
The next day we drove away from our home for the past six years and headed for my sister’s house in St. Louis. The first day of driving went slowly, with a much later start than planned and every stop taking 2-3 times as long as we expected. The second day began much better with a good, early start… only to be thwarted by a flat tire! All we could do was laugh.
We made it to my sister’s with no other problems or breakages and had a nice weekend with them. Monday morning as we started getting ready to head to Michigan, Tim went out to the garage and blew a light bulb. On the drive, his left-turn indicator (on the rental car) stopped working. But then it spontaneously started working again. At last, something working in our favor!
As of this morning the car door handle is fixed. We really hope that will be the last repair we’ll have to deal with! We will be here in Michigan for about three and a half weeks before flying out of Toronto on June 9.
It’s been really interesting to see how the stress of moving is affecting each of my kids differently. Interesting as in, these poor kids!
One of my girls has starting picking fights with her best friend. The books I’ve read say that this is common, sort of an unconscious way of making the separation easier. She also has gotten a pretty bad attitude toward me and her sisters, but that may also be a function of her age.
Another has become really fearful of being away from me. She won’t even go to a friend’s house to play anymore. Church is a major ordeal if she can’t come into service with me. She can’t articulate what she’s really worried about, other than she’s afraid that she’ll be afraid and then won’t be able to find me or her sisters.
The third has become terrified of weather and storms, specifically tornadoes. If the wind starts to blow and/or clouds start to build, she gets absolutely panicky. Never mind that tornadoes are fairly uncommon here, and I think pretty much unheard of in northern Thailand. She’s even having nightmares about tornadoes pretty regularly.
Since all this has really happened in the last month or two, I’m attributing it to the stress. I’m hoping that once we actually move and the stresses change, their reactions to it will change as well (I have no delusions that our stress will go away, though). I’m glad that we’ll have a few weeks between leaving here and arriving there where there won’t be quite as many pressures all the time.
Edit: I should add that for the most part they’re really handling all this very well. They’re excited about moving (mostly) and generally have good attitudes about it. I think that’s what makes these (unconscious) effects even more interesting.
The to-do list.
And Tim in Istanbul for another week and a half.
At least I’ve got great friends.
Now back to it.
The whole family is looking forward to this epic 3 day water fight next year. Happy New Year – 2555 – Thailand!
This move becomes more real every day. The garage sale is over, and what a sale it was! We cleared out most of our stuff and are now left to sift through the remains. It amazes me that we could get rid of so much stuff and yet still have so much left.
Last weekend marked the beginning of the endings. I led our church’s choir for the last time, which was a great experience (click on the player below to hear our closing song). The endings have continued this weekend, as we met with our small group for the last time. This week will bring the end of our homeschool co-op. Each day, each experience is bittersweet.