IT’S ALL HAPPENING!!

Wednesday, November 29th it ALL started happening!
I will admit…I’ve been terrible about blogging updates for our life plans. I’ve been in denial. Major denial. Josh’s two-year contract was set to end in October. Even though I had mixed emotions about leaving Singapore, I was ready. However, due to unforeseen corporate circumstances, our time in Singapore was extended until the end of the year. I have been at a loss as to how to explain or put into words the extension of our time in Singapore. Sooooo, I’ve been procrastinating. Procrastinating with blogging, reaching out to folks back home, basically all around having a hard time enjoying our extra time in Singapore. I should have been shopping for winter clothes, planning Christmas celebrations, and loving the additional outings with the kids in our hot, summer climate. Not that we’ve not been doing those things, but I’ve just been in straight up bitter denial to thoroughly enjoy it all. Mentally, I was prepared to say goodbye in October, go home to enjoy the gorgeous fall weather in the mountains of WNC with dear friends and family, and have two months (not two weeks!) to prep for our next move. But as we’ve come to terms with in the past, this isn’t our life to plan. God has the wheel and has deliberately steered us in opposite directions many many times during our (almost) ten years of marriage. Patience has been extremely challenging through ending this chapter, but I know in my heart He is protecting us and prepping a plan for our family’s future. Whew!! I consider myself spontaneous, easy-going, and adventurous. But I’m not going to lie, these last few months have about put me in the looney bin with all the uncertainty. Being a mom has made it the most challenging. I want the best for my boys, which also means protecting and laying a plan for their little lives as momma bear. Hah! It’s my job, right??
You see, the duration of the Talent Carousel program was two years and would end in October. This also meant the termination of our visas. No job = no employment pass for Josh and no dependent passes for us. We would be in Singapore as illegal immigrants and needed to finalize our next move pronto. The original plan was to fulfill the two years in Asia and move to Portland (US office for Adidas). We saw Portland as an adventure. It was west coast and an area of the country neither of us had explored. However, we knew in our hearts moving to Portland would make it very difficult to ever leave again. We would be “home.” We would settle down, buy a house, and situate ourselves to raise the boys. So…we began looking at other opportunities for our family around the world. Since the boys aren’t of mandatory school age yet, we can still travel (per Josh’s vacation schedule) and not have to plan around school holidays. While travel can be tricky with small children, we also know we won’t have the luxury of traveling at will once they begin compulsory schooling. I know families where the parents have quit their jobs to travel full-time with their families and home-school their kids on the road. As much as we love to travel, that scenario just isn’t us. This was also a reckoning where we decided experiences and family time would trump money. We’ve always discussed how we would never make a move based on money, but THIS move is proof! While other locations might have proved better perks (like the company covering our housing), we decided to become locals at global headquarters instead of accepting a fat expat package elsewhere. By definition, we are still expats (living in a foreign land), but we will not have the benefits of a proper expat package like we did in Singapore…and that’s OKAY! Not being on an expat package would allow us to stay in one spot for as long as we like. There is no two or three year time stamp on our location. We can actually dig in, settle a little, and take time to enjoy the world around us– instead of cramming it ALL in within two years. The work/life balance in Germany is incredible and having all of Europe at our fingertips to explore?! Why would we not choose this option??
You see…four months ago, Josh was contemplating new career paths in four, VERY different countries. Those closest to me know how excruciating the waiting game has been over the past few months. It’s been scary, exciting, and endlessly nerve-wracking all in one. In the beginning, we discussed Shanghai as a real opportunity. Then, we were dead set on moving to Amsterdam. We were swimming in research of neighborhoods, housing options, preschools, etc. I was convinced this was our next journey and settled on the idea; I began telling friends and family. And just like that, the path changed. All of a sudden, a different country, city…completely different way of life and culture came into conversation.
All the while, Germany was a perpetual option. It’s where Adidas was founded and remains their global headquarters. No small office either. It’s a campus of nearly 4,000 employees, outfitted with all kinds of perks: multiple gymnasiums, cafes, fields, parks, etc. Josh has friends from all over the world who had relocated to HQ in Nurenberg for the same two-year program that took us to Singapore. Like most expats, they struggled at first and eventually fell in love with the area. Even though the program is ending, the majority of them are staying. It gave me hope. It would cut our travel time home in half. Instead of flying 30 hours, Singapore to Asheville, it would only take 14 hours. Hmmm! Very appealing. If only, I can learn basic German to complete everyday tasks. Gulp!!
A month ago, Josh received a verbal offer, and we were on pins and needles awaiting the written contract. Last Wednesday, it finally came through. He signed and scanned it back to them that night. Two years ago on our look/see trip to Singapore, the Long Bar at Raffles was one of the first places we stopped. It’s a definite tourist joint, but rightfully so as it’s a prominent point in Singapore’s history. It was only fitting that we returned there to celebrate the finalization of this LONG awaited process and begin planning the next chapter of our lives! Sounds corny, I know…but we didn’t care in the least!!

Cheers to the new adventure with Singapore Slings!

 

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We also rounded out the night with dinner at White Rabbit in Dempsey. Another first for us on our look/see trip. It was fitting for the night to come full circle!
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You guys… that was Wednesday, 29th. In a matter of hours, my head started spinning. In efforts to reduce repeating myself 1,000x, I tossed this out on social media.
Here’s a glimpse of our crazy!
As soon as Josh signed his papers, it ALLLL started happening!! The next day, a couple bought and moved out pretty much all of our furniture except our beds.
Today, 12/2- party prep and going away shebang tonight 🎉
12/3- pack for trip, Josh and I fly 14hrs to Nuremberg to house hunt
12/7- fly out of Germany
12/8- land in Singapore, friend Christmas party #1
12/9- movers pack up house, we pack luggage to fly home, condo Christmas party #2
12/10- Sunday: rest, recover, pool day
12/11- movers get ALL of our belongings out of our house and onto a container for an 8-week journey across the ocean to Europe. We clean empty house, and it’s the boys’ last day of school.
12/12- hand over keys to landlord @10am
12/13- nap at airport, check into flight at 3am, fly out at 6am to begin our 3 flights/28 hour journey home.
Time travel is alive and well! We will land in Asheville on the same day (13th) at 7pm. So much bittersweetness in all the above! At least I am not pregnant, nor are we trying to sell a house and two cars this time around 🙌 Although if you only receive a smile and bear hug for Christmas, know that it’s warranted and comes from the heart!! SO thankful for our Singapore village during this time and will gladly accept prayers, good vibes and juju from the rest of ya, especially for the boys to quickly recover from 13hr jet lag/time difference and get with it in time for Christmas! 😜😱😰🙈😳🙏
I knew a long time ago there was a high likelihood of us moving to Europe next, which meant much smaller living space. We were fortunate to find an apartment with spacious rooms in Singapore to accommodate our furniture, but I just didn’t see it happening for our next move. Plus, we had countless people tell us any fiborous items would break down while in a shipping container on the ocean. We didn’t listen when we left Atlanta, and brought everything we owned with us. When we moved from Austin to Atlanta, we bought new couches and weren’t ready to part with them. Within months of being in Singapore, it was evident the foam and fibers of the furniture were wearing away. So I started listing most of our big items as the time was growing closer.
A lady came by Wednesday night to view our bedroom furniture and ended up wanting to buy the living room couches, a chair, and wardrobe unit. She popped in Thursday with movers to pay and pick up everything. Say what?! I know…this begins the head spinning. All of our underwear, pjs, t-shirts, bathers, socks…everything is pilled in the floor. Let the mess of moving begin!!
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Before

…and there it goes!

Oh and the grey couch had to go down nine flights of stairs. It wouldn’t fit in the elevator…eeep!

Friday, the boys had their last field trip at school, and we visited Santa at Gardens By the Bay. More on all that later…
Welcome, Saturday!! I cooked and prepped food alllll day long for our going away party that evening. I made coleslaw, pasta salad, and guacamole for 30, and we had burgers, brats, marinated wings, and ribs. Oh yum! Everyone chipped in, and we rented a catamaran for a five-hour sunset cruise. All the fun was had!
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We did learn a valuable lesson, though! If you go into international waters, your phone will loose signal- therefore making it impossible to play music. Oh the hilarity that ensued. Everyone was plugging their phones up to the sound system trying to get it to work. I love having international friends, because we heard everything from dutch, french, american, etc. It was entertaining to say the least!
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 A huge thank you to everyone who made it out to wish us well!
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It meant more than you can imagine.
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Sunday– we organized more of the house, spent the evening playing with friends in the pool, and packed for our midnight flight to Germany.
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*calm before the storm*
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Annnnd here we are! A quick connection in Frankfurt, 17 hours of flying later, and we are here!! And guess what?? It’s SNOWING!!! So awesome. After all this time, it still baffles me that we can leave a heat index hovering around 100 degrees with 90% humidity and land in a snow globe. Nerd alert! The Earth is simply amazing. God is amazing, y’all!!
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He wasn’t the only one that needed new clothes! Our first stop was the mall — we both bought puffy jackets and I now own fleece-lined ankle boots 🙂
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I am so excited for this!! It’s cold, snowing, a solo trip with hubby, and taking in all the things of the place we will call home in the new year! House hunting, school shopping for the boys, sampling all the German food/beer, Christmas markets, and meeting Josh’s colleagues which I’ve heard so much about.
I can’t stop smiling! Ohhhh how I have missed the cold!
And look…there’s SNOW on my window!!!
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Check back in a few days to see how we fared in Franconia!

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