Does it terrify you?

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How many times do we hear this, read about it, even groan under our breaths as someone else reels of a cheesy one-liner about following your heart.

But why is it that the sentiment behind it still resonates.

When I was in my first year of high school, we all had to play an instrument. My piano teacher suggested that I play the oboe “because there aren’t many oboists in a orchestra.” uhhh, because my life’s ambition was to be principal oboist….not. I wanted to learn the cello. I hated the duck-quack noises the oboe made while I was learning; playing an “A” so that the rest of the ensemble could tune to this lonesome croak that soared through any venue, startlingly alarming to audience and conductor alike.

Many moons later, having dinner at my parents’ one night, my mother pulled out the oboe. She had kept the oboe long after I had left school. Immediately, my lips started to smart and my jaw hurt, as my body recoiled in memory of the physical pain of playing that torturous instrument. As I took the oboe from mum, I vowed that I would never ever again let someone dictate what I should do with my life. I look at my oboe case every now and then and it’s a visual reminder: follow your heart.

Intuition is something harder to pin down. It’s that gurgly feeling as your stomach tenses in anticipation or fear, in excitement or anger. Sometimes it’s not your heart that leads the way. Sometimes it’s your intuition. Learning to trust that intuition could be life-saving. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason other than your gut instinct that this is something you just need to do.

Steve Jobs believed in his heart and his intuition. That self-faith led him to create amazing things, live an incredible life.  It’s taken me many years to realise you don’t have to be Steve Jobs to have the same. It’s a shame when you are given an opportunity, you waste it. It’s a tragedy when you’re given the same opportunity and you throw it away again.

#nevertoolate #noduckshere #believeandtrust 

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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.