When I met my husband I was very much a “Utah girl”. I had just taken a leap of faith and moved out with some friends into an apartment in the college city located 30 minutes from my childhood home. I remember at one point while my husband, Ryan and I were dating the conversation of future employment came up. Ryan informed me that he was almost certain he would not be able to find work inside the state of Utah after he finished his graduate degree. I broke down into tears over the mere thought of ever having to move away from “home”. My prayers were answered when, not long into our marriage, he was offered a job located in the city right next to my home town!
We decided to start our family not long after he started working. We bought our first home and we had our first baby girl in January of 2012. I was the youngest child and never babysat much so I was a bit nervous to take on the main role of caring for a child. After reading many parenting books and taking a few courses, I felt confident in my parenting skills. We stuck strictly to her schedule; our world revolved around her nap and feeding times. She was happy, we were happy, and life was great. So happy in fact, that we felt confident in expanding our family. We added our second daughter to the mix a short 21 months later. Life was the same, just with more schedules to balance. No events were to take place during nap times and I was sure to be home every 3 hours to breast feed in the comfort of my own home. It was all safe and secure and familiar. Just the way I like things.
Life continued on and we were soon pregnant with our 3rd baby girl. When I was around 20 weeks pregnant my husband was asked to take on a new position at work that would require us to move to Boise, Idaho for 3 months. I cried and cried, but we did it. It was only 4 hours away and we came home every 4 weeks for my doctor appointments; it wasn’t ideal but it was doable. We finished up in Boise just in time to move home and get ready for baby #3. Not even a month after moving home they called my husband with ANOTHER opportunity, this one was much harder for me to accept.
I was a month away from delivering a baby and they asked us to move to Asia for up to 2 years. I cried like I had never cried before. How could this little “Utah Girl” move to parts of the world that I couldn’t even locate on the map? We were given 4 days to make our decision and I cried myself to sleep every single night as I tormented myself trying to decide what would be best for our family. I prayed like never before and ultimately I felt strongly that, Asia was where we needed to be. I knew that God had a plan for me. This adventure was necessary. It absolutely broke my heart. It was not at all the answer I was looking for. But I knew that we had to go.
I left for Asia when my baby was a month and a half old and our lives were forever changed.I got out of the bubble I was living in and saw the world! I was completely surrounded by people of different races and religions and it was amazing. Leaving my home, my comfort zone, forced me to really figure out who I was. Along the way I learned a few things about myself.
Leaving my church congregation and experiencing worship in different areas in the world was extremely eye opening. Towards the end of our adventure we spent 5 months in a city where my church was pretty much non existent. It was terrifying for me but through those experiences I was able to truly know how important my religion and more importantly, my relationship with God was to me.
I learned how important relationships are to me. I never knew how much I needed people in my life. Leaving almost everyone I knew and loved behind in the US made me realize how much I needed them in my life. Having the void of familiar people in my life made me really focus on relationships with those around me. My relationship with my husband and babies grew stronger as we navigated our new lives together. We made friends with a few families along the way and they became family. I treasured every single relationship in my life and tried my best to not take a single one for granted.
I learned how easy I had it at home in the States! Simple tasks like grocery shopping and preparing food for my family became massive ordeals. “Normal” American food items are hard to come by and VERY expensive. At times I traveled 3 hours round trip just to get a few American essentials.
Probably the most important thing I learned through all my various experiences was simply to let go and LIVE. Life wasn’t all about having a perfect nap time / feeding schedule. I breastfed my baby on the go, wherever the day’s adventure took us. We made it work. We enjoyed each other. I worried about the little things a WHOLE lot less and we were happy as could be.
I am a different wife and mother because of my time spent away from my “safe zone”. I’m not perfect, but I have definitely changed for the better.
I feel blessed that I was able to go on such a crazy adventure with my young family. My girls were able to visit places and see things I had never even dreamed of. It was a crazy, hard adventure! But I wouldn’t change a thing.