Fast balls, what-ifs and Laura Ingalls Wilder

I haven’t written a post for a while, but not because life has been dull. The reality is that life threw us a fastball. It wasn’t unexpected – we’d been training for days, years, for this moment. I’ve been trying to catch my breath ever since.

On a spontaneous, long weekend in Hong Kong a couple of years ago, Marcus and I relived the days of B.C. (before Callum). Trawling through the windy, hilly streets of Lan Kwai Fong with one of our best friends (who is an expat but knows Honkers like he knows smoking is bad for you) we realised in a cocktail whirlwind that an overseas stint was what our next move in life was going to be. I even started looking at job opportunities and international schools in HK.

Marcus and I are not known as fence-sitters. We jump in with both feet. We’d had the What-if discussion. What-if you were offered a job in Hong Kong. What-if we took off and had a sabbatical for 6 months. What-if we had taken that chance when we were given it. And so, when the fastball was thrown – a call from head office to work in the mighty land of the Stars and Stripes – striking out/hitting a foul ball/bunting were not options. The only option was to hit it out of the park.

We’re moving to Wisconsin. Land of cheese, beers and Harley Davidson, Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley. Home to the Packers, the Bucks and the Brewers. Milwaukee will be home for the next couple of years. And it certainly will be different. But isn’t that what you want out of an expat experience? We’ve found a cute ranch house to rent with an attached garage. (I see this as an Essential. You’re not going to find me shovelling snow off my driveway to get the car out.) Callum will get the yellow school bus. We will deal with the snow and the cold, rationing Vegemite and Tim Tams…and Trump. Maybe I’ll even get a snow plow licence.

Sure it’d be nice to say that we’re moving to NYC or Chicago or San Fran. But there is plenty to do in WI and some beautiful camping spots we are ready to try out. A quick sledding session in local Wirth Park with other families. Breakfast at the Original Pancake House on a Sunday. We aren’t moving to some random settlement in the midwest wilderness. This is where Laura Ingalls Wilder was born. Tell me honestly who didn’t love a bit of ‘Little House on the Prairie’?

I’m packing and organising and making lists of lists of lists. Each passing day gets struck off the calendar. More drop offs are made to the Salvation Army. Appliances are being redistributed to refugee families. Goodbyes have been said.

To quote Laura Ingalls Wilder – Home is the nicest word there is. We will come home one day, but for now, our next adventure is about to begin.


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