Thanks to my mom, I have been up and down the eastern part of the US. We were in Seattle when Mount St Helens erupted. I went to various parts of Mexico in fourth grade. (With the high school Spanish class too!! My mom was a chaperone, and I thought I was so cool to be traveling with the older kids. I learned some things that had nothing to do with Mexico or Spanish on that trip.) In high school I made my own trip to Germany with the school and after college returned to Europe for over two months. Needless to say, traveling seems to be in my blood.
One time, at about nine years old, we were in the airport, and I saw the flight attendants walk past. They were pulling their suitcases, laughing, and tossing their hair. I saw them, looked at my mom, and said, "That is what I want to do someday. Where do you think they are going?" It seemed so glamorous and exciting to be able to travel for a living. Many years later I did just that. Believe me the life of a flight attendant is not nearly as glamorous and exciting as it looked to my nine year old self. I rarely felt glamorous and usually felt tired and in need of a shower. But, it was fun and interesting and sometimes exciting for the few years I flew. The parts I enjoyed most were meeting the people and the great friends I made.
Jump ahead to 2004.....Dan and I are on a plane to China to meet our first daughter. When I look back, it seems so obvious that I would be going half way around the world to start a family. Another educational trip to add to the list. More of the traveling gene coming out. I asked Rachel at age four what she wants to be when she grows up. Her answer, "A world traveler, of course." I just nodded my head and said, "Why of course."
Another jump to 2007.....Dan, Rachel, and I are on a plane again to Qingdao, China. Not just a vacation this time but we are moving there for his job. The plan was to be in China four years. We ended up being there only 18 months and were sad to leave. We accomplished quite a bit in our short time though. Here's a quick timeline of our first three months.
-Thanksgiving Day 2007 we are on a flight from Chicago to Beijing.
-December 6, 2007 we are living in a hotel waiting for our apartment to be ready. We get a call from our adoption agency that we have been matched with our second daughter, Rebekah.
-January 4, 2008 We move into our apartment with one set of sheets, a frying pan, a pot and six suitcases. We borrow a blanket, a couple towels, some flatware, and a few plates (thank you Lisa).
-January 6 Rachel starts Pre-k at a new school which gives me a few hours each morning to start learning Chinese and getting us settled.
-A week or so later our first shipment of goods arrive from the US.
-February 18 we meet our second beautiful little girl.
-End of February our big shipment arrives from the US.
Can you say Crazy??
I know, that has nothing to do with traveling but I just wanted to give you a feel for the first few months of living in China.
While in China we did make multiple trips to Beijing and Shanghai, saw and walked the Great Wall at three different locations, went to Xi'an to see the Terra Cotta Soldiers, went to Changsha in Hunan province where Rebekah is from, went to Chongqing and Fuling where Rachel is from, and spent a week in Guangzhou while waiting on adoption paperwork to be finalized. We only made one trip out of the country to the beautiful tropical island of Saipan during Spring Festival 2009. (I am ready to go back there today while looking at the snow outside our Minnesota window.) Dan was able to see more parts of China as well as a couple trips to Korea for work. We had an extensive list of places we wanted to visit during our four years in Asia. Unfortunately, the stay was cut short. We will have to save Thailand, Japan, the Philippines, and New Zealand for a later date.
Why am I rambling about traveling and living in China? (I wanted to say "Why am I waxing poetic?" but realize this is not nearly the case) Partly, I am just documenting so I don't forget. Also, I have just recently realized that every day is an adventure no matter where you live or what you are doing. It makes me wonder what the next step is for us as a family. Dan and I will soon have been married 16 years. This is our sixth location to call home. Again, my early love for traveling and new experiences should have been a foreshadow to the life I am leading today. Thanks Mom for all the prep work........