transition

We made it to China!


After many days of packing parties and last minute preparations, we woke up on Monday, Jan 11th and started packing the van. Our friend Steve rented and drove a van to help take us and our 19 bags of checked luggage. In addition, Jacquelyn’s mom drove her van and Jacquelyn’s niece Sonja joined us as we made our way to JFK. Including our carry-on luggage, we made the trek with 25 bags.

The checkin process went easier than expected. Because we had a small baby, they put us in the special line, which we were thankful for so we didn’t have to snake through the already long line with our more than 1000 lbs of luggage. It took quite a while to get everything ticketed and tagged, so we were thankful for those that came along to help with moving the bags and watching the kids.

Luggage Galore

Speaking of the kids, they did really great throughout the process. As with her track record, Anna didn’t sleep a wink on the initial 15 hour flight, but then crashed on the second. Lucas slept the most, and Micah finally found a comfortable position to lay in when his body just couldn’t stay awake any longer. Eloise slept quite a bit on Mommy. On the flight, each person has his/her own entertainment center with games and movies, which helped keep the kids occupied. The kids each watched the “Minions” movie twice.

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Just as had been planned, and after a brief layover in Shanghai, we arrived in Tianjin at 11:55pm on Tuesday. Our contact was waiting for us with two vans. The drive to our new home was about 30-40 mins. When we arrived, several people on the team here were gracious enough to help us at 1:30 in the morning to bring in all the bags to our new apartment. It was about 2am before we had everything in the apartment. All said and done, door to door, we spent about 29 hours traveling.

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Good Grief…of Leaving

Leaving means replacement.

Leaving means moving on.

Leaving means trying to end well.

Leaving means fear.

Leaving is hard.

And then there’re the emotions we’re feeling.

I knew going into this move back overseas that it would be hard. We’ve met some pretty cool people during our latest stint here in the States. We’ve done some pretty cool stuff and worked with some pretty amazing people in work and ministry. I’m sad to be leaving them.

I’ve read a bunch of blog posts about transition (mostly from my friend who writes a ton about this sort of stuff at www.thecultureblend.com). Even my undergrad in Cross-cultural studies 15 years ago prepared me for this!

But what I didn’t think about was how hard this was going to be for our friends and family. I’m not sure what I was expecting, really. Maybe a little bit more excitement about what we’ve been talking about for the last 4 years? Maybe a smile on the face as we talk about moving back?

Instead, I can see that they’re hurt. I can see they’re not prepared for this.

Just today a colleague of mine went on for no less than 15 minutes about how awesome I am. About how I’ll be irreplaceable. About how I could have asked for more money in my job. About how he’s not going to have someone to bounce ideas off of any more. It’s funny that in the midst of these apparent compliments my countenance changed to that of sadness. I literally had to tell him to stop talking.

It was desperation.

It was grief.

When I see the lack of enthusiasm about our move, my heart wants to believe that everyone is being selfish.

That they’re not being supportive.

That they’re turning their backs and moving on.

But I know better. I know it’s quite the opposite. I know they care and I know they’re grieving over the coming changes right alongside us.

Excitement and grief mixed together.

As my aforementioned friend has said, “Leaving is hard. Being left is harder.”

So, instead of focusing on my expectations of how people are going to remember us in this move, I’m going to focus on them. I’m going to know that they are grieving, too. I’m going to make the best of the time we have together and know that they’ve got my back, even if it’s too hard to watch from behind as we board the plane.

Going back to China!

CarmansGreatWall

We’re very happy to announce that we are on our way back to China!

To quote a few of our friends:
“Seriously?” “Huh?” “That’s crazy!” “What the what?”

I’ve put together a quick FAQ for you.

But…

…if you really want to get the inside scoop, you’re going to have to subscribe to our newsletter. You can do that here:

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What will you be doing?

The short of it is I’m going to be an Assistant City Manager for an education-based company operating in China.

Is this the same company you were with before?

Yep. Same company. Different position. Different City.

What will you be doing?

I’m going to be the Assistant City Manager for one of the cities the company operates in. My job will be to provide support, representation, and encouragement to the staff of the different entities operating in the city.

What city are you going to?

We’re headed to Tianjin, about 2 hours drive from Beijing. This will be a new experience for us. We’ve never lived in Tianjin and have only visited it a couple of times.

When are you going?

January 2016! That’s the goal, anyway. And yes, that’s very soon.

Are you excited?

Totally! But, if we’re honest, it’s a bit of a roller coaster ride as well. This move is going to be a lot harder than the first time we went to China. The first time we were newly married without kids and very few connections. Now we’re a family of 6 with lots of connections to lots of awesome people. We’re very sad to be leaving everyone we love.

How can I support you in this?

At this time, the best thing to do is subscribe to our newsletter. We’re going to be giving alot more information by email. And you’ll better know how to support us.

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