Wednesday, October 22, 2008
how did we get here??? (part 3)
So we were pregnant. And we had just decided to move overseas. NOT to a first-world country. After the euphoria and involuntary happy weeping from finding I was expecting a baby started to subside I went immediately to my computer and began my next segment of research--having a baby in Malaysia. I learned about the medical world in general, birthing techniques and local traditions; I found forums for women talking about doctors and costs and medication available; I found hospitals and reveiws for those hospitals, even deciding almost immediately at which hospital I would give birth.
Slightly later in the day Michael came to find me, wanting to talk and seeming almost nervous as if he were holding back words that were itching to jump out. He mumbled a little bit about how excited he was, asked how I was feeling, then paused slightly before asking,
"So does this change our decision at all? Do you still want to go?"
I swear, I almost saw him gulp as he waited for me to respond. I paused slightly as I gave him a blank, puzzled look. What on earth was he talking about?
"Change? Why would it change anything?"
I furrowed my brow in confusion while the nervousness left his face and he practically beamed.
"I just worried that with a baby on the horizon you wouldn't be comfortable taking this leap to go halfway around the world."
Silly man, he obviously didn't know me as well as he should. But to alleviate any fears I may have been hiding from him he wanted to show me some of the information he'd found online about having a baby in Malaysia. And I think it truly says something positive about our relationship that with our separate searches, we both found the exact same information and independently decided we wanted to have the baby in the exact same hospital. (This also turned out to be the main reason we chose the apartment we have been living in for the last 14 months, being less than a 5 minute drive to that hospital where Emily was born...something that came in quite handy at 1:00am when I went into labor.)
So from that auspicious beginning last July began a quick downward slope of packing our things (most of them still packed from the move and sitting patiently in my parent's garage) saying goodbye to friends, squeezing in a family trip to Mexico, barely making it to a 10-year high school reunion, and still having no idea what we were doing or where we were going. (We had found countless living options online but agreed that we wanted to see a place and surrounding area before we committed, so we got a reservation at a hotel for a week, hoping it would be long enough to find a place. It wasn't. We took 4.)
Our final decision before leaving Salt Lake was...what do we do with our things? We had just moved from a 3 bedroom house and at least ONE of us is slightly a packrat (ahem!) which meant we had a lot of personal belongings to deal with. Thankfully we were favored with an empty garage and some wonderully kind hearts willing to lend it to us. Without a home to move into upon arrival, the most prudent option seemed to be just taking our luggage and leaving the rest behind. But how do you pack for a year-long vacation? We had sort of done this as missionaries, but there is already (usually) housing set up, furnishings, an immediate support system for missionaries. Plus we had an 18 month old boy. And we were going to have another baby. Ultimately I tried to take a little of everything: a few earrings & necklaces, 2 or 3 pairs of shoes, a handful of cd's, a stack of books, about 10 days worth of clothes, about 400 diapers... I even managed to remember 1 or 2 Christmas decorations. Think about it, if you were relocating to another country and could only bring your suitcases, what would you pack? I think we ended up with a stroller, a car seat and 6 bags, including our carry-ons that housed our laptops. Needless to say our first month here was fairly miserable, compounded by the fact that we were living out of suitcases in tiny hotel rooms, living on hotel food for a month while we tried (and failed) to adjust to the humidity. It was the most blessed relief when we were finally able to plop all of our bags down in our new apartment and stretch our arms in either direction without touching anything (or anyone) else. Of course, now it's a year later and we've grown by a kid, and our 18 month old is a rambunctious 2 year old, so we're ready to stretch again. This new house will be a challenge and an adventure and we can't wait!
So there you have it, a (sort of) short version of how 2 of the world's most boring people ended up in Malaysia, having an adventure. It wasn't all that hard, but probably only because our circumstances were perfect and really the Lord seemed to pave the way for us without us really knowing why. We still don't know why, although there seem to have been major lessons learned for our family that we probably wouldn't have otherwise learned, and we still have those every day. But don't all parents? I love the fact that Michael could break out of his soul-crushing 9-to-5 and follow his dreams. I love going to church where around 20 countries or cultures are represented. I love the fact that one of my children was born outside of the US. I love that we decided not to wait to make our lives happen. I love how supportive our families have been of this endeavor. We love how easy it was to make friends and to meet people who are so free with their time and substance. And Michael loves the constant balmy weather with no snow. (I have to admit it's pretty awesome wearing sandals 365 days a year.) It certainly hasn't been without pitfalls and seemingly constant bumps in the road, but I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world. And from the vantage point I have now I would highly recommend it to anyone.
"TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
- The Road Not Taken