I know I probably have not left anyone at the edge of their seats, but for those of you who have asked me why I haven't posted the next part of my story yet, I thought I'd take this first paragraph to explain. Though the fact that all three of our kids now do school online through a streaming video program has a lot to do with the fact that I have very little computer time these days, the truth is this next part is hard to relive, dwell on, look at pictures of, and even talk about sometimes. It was the biggest decision of our lives. The thing that took me from every comfort I knew into the exciting, wide world. And it came at a price. One I was willing to pay, but one that cuts deeply as I look back, feeling the loss I know I will never be able to redeem. I try not to live with regrets, and I am thankful for every moment I was able to cherish while my father was still living. I do sometimes - probably a little every day - wish they could have been more. So, as you read this next part, be lenient with a girl who must face this "goodbye" afresh.
For the first 18 months of our little girl's life, we traveled across states, presenting our dream and our little family hoping people would invest and allow us to move here permanently. She was only 10 days old when we packed our little Honda and headed out. We made some beautiful memories and some life-long friends during those days.
It was just the three of us, and we raised enough money for the move, and support to live on month to month. We planned our departure date for March of 1999. My grandparents allowed us to store our things in their garage until we could pack a container and head out. My parents let us stay in a room in their home when we weren't traveling, and our little girl grew so fast I think we all wished things would slow down just a bit.
For as much time as we could schedule, we spent special days gathering with friends and family. I remember those days now with such fondness, and often wonder at my enthusiasm to leave everything I ever knew behind to embrace the unknown, exciting, and mysterious. It's not all as romantic as that, trust me, but it does have it's charms.
The day came when a jet would fly us off to the unfamiliar, for me at least. From a world of bustling responsibilities to a laid-back way of life. From one set of grandparents for my girl, to another. I wish you could see the reflection in this next picture like I can see it in mine, but my parents stood in the left corner just watching as we boarded the plane to move our lives so very far away. I can only wonder how that felt, and would not be surprised if I must experience it one day myself as I watch my little ones soar from the nest into what I now know is a world much larger than the small circle of my life.
We said goodbye.
And then we said "hello".
Hello to a new home, a new place, a new dream. Things were so different. They were so different than they are even now as our lives have become that of a typical busy big-city dweller. But then, it wasn't like it is now. The days were long and slow. The time I spent alone with my little girl was priceless. But the ignorance of how to do a simple thing like buy a loaf of bread, or that I should fill my bathtub with water in the evenings before going to bed just in case the water would get turned off, or the hours without warning that electricity would come and go were all things so foreign to this American girl. Not that those kinds of things happened constantly, but the fact that they happened made me constantly aware of the fact that I am not in my element any more. Those first six months were the hardest for me. Trying to learn enough to be able to go out on my own and speak to someone, filling my days with teaching my nearly-two-year-old the alphabet, colors, numbers, and whatever else I could think of, and just plain trying to wrap my head around a new language, was starting to get to me.
But then came the good news, and our dream took on a new chapter.