10.17.2013

OUR LIFE

Sometimes Pete and I look at each other and say "Hey, remember that time we lived in the Middle East? Weird, right?!" Our little suburban Virginia life of Target runs and walks in the park is such a far cry from what our life was like in Abu Dhabi. To up and move halfway around the world is such a crazy and scary thing to do. It's so not us. But it is such a huge part of us at the same time. It is how we spent our first two years of marriage. It is where we found out we were pregnant with Josephine. I spent five days hiking around Jordan with her in my belly and didn't even know it! And it is what we will be doing once again next summer when we pack up our life and move to London. This time with a little blonde haired toddler in tow!

People often ask what it's like living overseas and I am always sort of caught off guard at the question. I know that sounds strange given the fact that I did it for two years. I am no expert, for one. And, certainly, experiences differ based on where it is you are living. I know for a fact that our time in London will be much different from Abu Dhabi in countless ways! But it's also a question that has so many answers. It can be both isolating and liberating. We arrived in Abu Dhabi knowing not a soul. The culture was completely different from what we knew. We had to rely on one another more than ever. It was literally Pete and I against the world in those first couple weeks. But we found a groove. Learned our way around. Met some awesome friends. I started working. It became home. There is something liberating about starting fresh in a completely new place. Almost like a 'seize the day' kind of feeling. It takes you way out of your comfort zone, yes. But the experience is whatever you make it, truly. We took trips to Jordan and Oman. We traveled all over the UAE. We saw our time there as a way to explore a part of the world we never would have been to otherwise. Living that far away from family and friends did come with its sacrifices. There were weddings, baby showers, birthdays, holidays all missed. Once our two years were up I was so excited to get back to family, friends and familiarity. But moving back home wasn't that instant gratification I was expecting. There is a point where that foreign place becomes home. And no matter how excited you are, the transition back to the States is almost like a reverse culture shock. It took some time to navigate the new normal again.

We gained so much from our time living abroad. Pete and I grew as individuals and as a couple. It was such an eye-opening experience for us, and we can't wait to show Josephine another part of the world. When I think back to our time abroad one thing rings true. The world is large, but people are people, no matter where they are from. So true, and something people often forget. I think a lot could be learned and gained from more people getting out and exploring parts of the world they are not familiar with. So if you ever get the chance to live (or even just travel) abroad, please say yes. You won't regret it!

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3 comments:

  1. I love this! I grew up in three different countries, Australia, Canada and Holland, and even though it wasn't always fun to say goodbye to friends and homes, I wouldn't want it any other way. I would love to live abroad with my family someday to give my son and husband the same experience I had.
    I think it's so awesome your giving Josephine the chance to experience other cultures!

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    1. i taught at an american school while in abu dhabi and always loved hearing all of my students' stories about trips they'd taken and places they'd lived! most were more well traveled than i was! exploring other countries and cultures is such a wonderful gift to give a child. so neat that you were able to experience that growing up! xx

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  2. Oh man, "Target runs." I remember those. Far cry from the English countryside where I am now. CANNOT wait to read more of your blog!

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