While planning a move overseas, there are dozens of pain points along the way: unknown pack out dates, putting dogs on international flights, ALL THE PAPERWORK, learning a new language, etc.
But you know what the toughest thing has been so far? Saying goodbye to our family.
I mean, it's not like this will be our first time living away from home. Bret and I both attended the University of Kansas and lived in Lawrence, which was almost three hours from home.
Baby step number one.
Then, we moved to Washington DC three years ago. A 20-hour drive home. We visit home less than when we lived in Lawrence but still about three times a year. Plus, we have family and friends up in DC every once in awhile to visit.
Baby step number two.
Now, we are moving to Zagreb, Croatia, and will mostly likely only be able to visit home once or twice a year. Technology is amazing - we made sure everyone had FaceTime before we left - but nothing takes the place of hugs and kisses and mom's cooking and coloring on the floor and playing cards through the night.
Skip the baby steps - we are taking a Giant Wildling step forward. (Sorry, nerdy GoT reference.)
Besides the aforementioned activities, we will also miss a huge aspect of life while overseas: raising a family close to home. Bret and I are the only ones in our immediate families who moved away, so naturally our respective families are tight. If we are lucky enough to start our own little family, our kids won't have the same experience our nieces and nephews have. Which kinda sucks.
When we decided to follow Bret's career in the Foreign Service, we knew we were giving up the proximity to our family (the first clue was in the occupation; "foreign" does not mean staying in Southeast Kansas). We did not choose career over family, although it may seem like the decision was that black and white. But we did know "our" career came at the price of living so close to home.
Why are we leaving then?! The nieces and nephews keep pouring in (and please, keep them coming), and we love going home and spending time with our families. We sound crazy, right? But you know what we think is crazier? Being 70 years old and wishing we had taken the chance to travel the world when we were in our mid-20s.
Despite the inevitable homesickness we will feel while living abroad, if we do not try it now, we may never get the same opportunity later in life. Bret keeps telling me if we hate it, we will move back (we all need a contingency plan, right?); but we are so excited to at least give it a try.
Being the photo-loving, social media addict that I am, you will see the evidence of our travels abroad. And I am so hopeful we LOVE our experiences. But don't think for a second we made the decision lightly; we already miss our family, and we haven't even moved yet!
Thankfully, our families have been super supportive throughout our adult lives with our moves away from home. We know it hasn't been easy being that supportive, though, so we are forever grateful for the love and advice and help during the process. (What am I saying - we will still call when weird things come up and we need advice!)
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Love you all!
Morgan and Bret