A friend asked me today which of our previous homes I like best.
I feel really lucky — we’ve lived in so many wonderful homes and I’ve genuinely loved them all.
Here’s a timeline, in photos (of varying quality), of all the places we’ve lived since we got married. Brace yourself. This is long!
Our First Apartment
Leonard Ave. — Summer 2006
Our first place was a one-bedroom, “railroad” style apartment in the tiny town of Houghton, NY. It’s such a small, safe town, we never got a key from the landlord. The living room flowed right into a kitchen (the previous owner painted it sage green, mustard yellow, and burgundy — very 00s coffee shop), which flowed into the single bedroom and single bath. The best part was a giant front porch accessible through the front window. There was much to hate about the place — drop ceilings, old rotting windowsills, crazy paint jobs… but we loved it because it was our first married home.
Thatched Cottage Masumbo, Southern Tanzania (Fall 2006 – Spring 2007)
We moved to Tanzania two months after we got married. Paul worked for Houghton’s study abroad program and I worked as a tutor for a staff family (and moonlit as a resident advisor for the college students). We first lived in a tiny thatched cottage. Moving into this house felt like such an adventure! I can still vividly remember how the place smelled like wood varnish and our vanilla Yankee candles. I have great memories of hosting groups of students in the tiny living room.
The past two weeks have been CRAZY. I finished up at work (I’m now officially unemployed for a month!), my mom visited (and left 😦 ), I packed up dozens of boxes, the ENTIRE family got strep. (Public service announcement: the rapid-result strep tests are purportedly 92% accurate. Well, three of us initially tested negative but lab results days later came back POSITIVE. BLARGH.)
I’m exhausted just thinking about how exhausting it’s been.
I don’t remember the last time I’ve felt THIS sick — today is the first day I’ve felt somewhat functional since last Friday and I’m STILL hopped up on ibuprofen and I STILL can’t breathe through my nose.
The plus-side to all the craziness is I haven’t really had a minute to dwell on how sad I am to quit my job.
I loved my job. It wasn’t perfect, for sure, nor was my specific job/beat something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. But I really enjoyed the challenges of being a radio reporter, I liked my colleagues, and I felt like I’d been making great strides — the best was yet to come.
So it was really hard to decide to quit, uproot, and move the family overseas.
But I know it’s the right decision. Most people uproot for better job opportunities, but that’s not what we’re doing. While I am excited to be a teacher, we’re moving because we want something different for our family. Paul and I looked into our future and didn’t like the idea of endlessly working 8 – 5+ jobs, kids in various after-school and summer programs, relationships and service always taking the back burner. We both loved our jobs but we feel like the American work culture just doesn’t meld well with our values. We want to be somewhere where relationships and community are a priority, where our schedules match the kids’, where we can plug in and actively serve others instead of just writing checks.
With that in mind, our move to Taiwan seems like a dream! We know it won’t be easy (it hasn’t been). But we feel a lot of peace about our decision and we’re so, so excited.