We are in the stages of deciding whether or not to move abroad that are both extremely stressful and exciting. Every moment the future fluctuates in and out of focus. One moment I can see it so clearly – we’d live in Santo Domingo, speak Spanish, and enjoy weekends at a nearby beach. I add AirBnbs with terraces and quirky furniture with clean lines to a saved list. I join the local expat Facebook group and search “dogs”, “pregnant”, “rent”, “international schools”, just to get a feel for the healthcare and lifestyle of the area. It feels so concrete.
Then we get a message from Korea. Suddenly our future shifts. I picture the townhouse we’ll live in. I know it because we’ve lived in Cheongna before. I think about how we’ll need to get gates to guard the stairs. I wonder if the rails on the stairs run horizontal. I see horizontal balcony railings in Denver as I walk Roxie and I wonder who thought putting horizontal railing on anything was a good idea – it seems way too inviting for a toddler to climb right up. I look up projects on Pinterest for building a grassy surface for doggies to go potty on balconies, since I know there is no chance we’d get a yard.
Then I take Anika to a Music Together class and we meet our friends at the park in the afternoon, and head out to breakfast with family the next day. I wonder how we can uproot the ease and connections that we have here and move somewhere completely different. I scour real estate options and fill out spreadsheets to see how we can possibly make finances work while staying in the US.
Then I wonder about all the other options. Mexico? Spanish-speaking, nearby, it certainly has a lot of positives that Korea doesn’t. Then again, Korea is easy to navigate and clean and pays so much better than Mexico likely would.
On and on it goes. I wonder if I overthink it. After all, it is a little ridiculous for me to be shopping for couches in Korea when we don’t have job offers. But that is part of the fun of making such a big change – the opportunity to reinvent and refresh our lives. Make new routines, learn new languages, and introduce Anika to new people.
At this point in the search, it could look like almost anything. My urge to search and research and refine to make it more concrete is as fun as it is stressful, a way to daydream into existence what our lives will be like and try to spark a gut reaction to inform our decision.
On the other hand, all the imagining and planning possible won’t draw a real picture of what our lives will be like. I have to hold fast to the realization that we’ve loved every place we’ve moved together in the last eight years.
It’s harder now, though, with a dog and a baby to consider. It’s harder both to justify the big move and big change and to take into consideration all the moving parts that demand to be considered. We have to think about options for childcare, take healthcare accessibility seriously, and consider the impact of required work hours on our family.
All of this already considered and it’s just the beginning of recruiting season.
This was one of many drafts saved up from the moments I’ve stolen to get some writing in in the last few months. It’s fun to look back on this and our thought process now that we’ve confirmed where we’ll be moving next summer!