Monday, April 2, 2018

Thoughts on Moving to London for a Year

We move to London in six days y'all. SIX DAYS! Naturally, I'm having #AllTheFeels after packing our lives up this weekend in preparation for this move. So here I am, sharing them with you! 
This blog started as a creative outlet back in 2014 and also as a way to journal and document our lives. I've taken breaks, I've been on blogging streaks, but it's always here. So actually this post is more a journal entry and fair warning, it will be long :). 

I originally started this post as I was sitting in my quiet home (Sully was with Nonna/Grandad at the beach) on Easter Sunday. I was feeling inspired and filled with so much love because gosh, Jesus rising from the dead after dying to save us is a powerful thing and my soul always feels fueled by this love! I thought it would be a good time to journal out the real answer I want to give when someone asks about our move. 

I first have to say that I 100% am surprised by God's plan for us and feel EXTREMELY blessed by the opportunities and state of our lives. I know this is the opportunity of a lifetime and one we'll never ever forget. 

Someone said to us when we were deciding whether to go or not that at the end of our lives we may remember a few special occasions in 2018/2019, but we will always, always, always remember our 12 months in Europe. Pretty powerful. And a pretty gracious and generous decision available to us to make. 
It's funny, a lot of our friends without kids or who have lived in one place for awhile or actually those who have the travel bug, their eyes pop out of their head when they hear that this was a hard decision for us to make and we even said "no" when they asked us to go for two years at first. 

You see, I sincerely thought our move to Charleston was our final big move and we would finally start to settle down and have more babies. Yet more babies never came (that's a story for another post), but we did build a home, make friends, Sully got in her groove at "school" and I put my blood, sweat, and tears into building a business that went off with a bang. We're living and loving the bliss that is Lowcountry life in Charleston.   

Then we were faced with a decision that if we said "yes" would uproot us from this bliss and success in my business and in two months launch us to a foreign country. It's a world of unknown and it also came with what felt like an impossible list of things to figure out before we get there. 
Stress/anxiety is one of the big factors in why we believe we aren't pregnant yet - did I really want to add more? Would Sully be ok with this change? Can I leave my family and friends for that long? My business has never had more momentum - did I really want to risk moving to another country, would people still invest in me from abroad? Would our dogs survive the flight and flat living? What about our home? Can we afford one of the world's most expensive cities? Almost even scarier - what if we get over there and love it?

BUT think of all the travel, new places, new people, new cultures, experiences and LIFE we're going to get to live! That's why we're doing this. That one sentence beat out the paragraphs of questions.

So here I am on the final week in my home and I'm feeling scared. Straight up, freaking out a lil bit. And no amount of, "oh but Erin this is going to be so great and think of all the adventures you'll have... " is going to get me through it. We just have to GO. Call it #firstworldproblems, but y'all you have to admit it's scary thinking about moving your family to a new country and into a "flat" that you've never seen with your own eyes.

I can usually distract myself by googling "lavender fields in Provence" or some bougie travel adventure we're hopefully going to take, but right now I'm just a big ol ball of emotions and "lasts". I had to say goodbye to my office downtown this weekend and the last time I would walk out of that building. This is the last Sunday going to our beloved church. I saw a lot of folks at my "Going Global" party for my business for the last time before we come back. You get the gist... 

The hardest part of all is leaving the dogs. I can't look at them without just jumping on them for a snuggle (and usually a cry). I know they'll be SO much happier here at home with my Mother-in-Love than they would be forced onto an airplane, possibly quarantined for months, living in a 600 square foot flat with no backyard and boarded each time we travel which we hope is a lot. But gosh y'all, I don't know if I can fall asleep without my Cotton and if I can wake up without a stinky breath Mallie snuggle. 
Sully doesn't understand what's going on at all, we talk about London a lot, but she's not comprehending the change. If she would though... here is what I would say to her. And once I get over my hump, I'm going to believe and take my own words to heart. 

Dear Sully,  
Are you ready for a big adventure?! Grab your backpack and map my little Mook, we're about to be just like Dora the Explorer over the next year. We're going to the land of Madeline and Peter Rabbit and Harry Potter! 
You're going to see the London Bridge (no, it is not actually falling down), ride a carousel in Paris for your birthday, swim off the coast of Italy, eat gelato straight out of a cart, see the Eiffel Tower glitter at night, become well versed at traveling the Tube (just like Paddington!) and go four-leaf clover hunting in Ireland.  
It's going to be SO. MUCH. FUN! 
But it might also be a little scary at first and at times throughout. Just know that you've got Mommy and Daddy, you'll be safe, you'll be loved and you belong.  
Our hearts are going to hurt a little bit because we'll be missing our pups and our family. This is only temporary though. A year flies, especially when you're having fun, and we'll be back in our little home surrounded by puppy snugs and family love before you know it. 
Even if you have no memories of this time, I hope the bravery, the fun, and the bond that this will bring for our little family stays with you for the rest of your life. You are so loved my little child and your Daddy and I take these great risks for the hope of reward for you and our lives together.    
To my husband... oh gosh y'all he deserves an entire blog post, I've been so hard on him because this all came about for his job. Moments of bitterness at shifting my business when what I had been working for was coming to fruition. The extra stress and panic attacks he's sat on the bathroom floor and ridden out with me. My crazy ideas for all the places we can travel, Morocco being the latest. He's a saint. So to him, I want to say...

Dear Ryan,  
What an adventure our life is becoming! Did you ever think the good 'ol boy from Camden who thought Greenville was a big city would now be moving to London?! 
I knew the moment I fell in love with you that there's no doubt God put us on this earth together to love each other and spread this big love and joy wherever possible. Even all the way to the United Kingdom. 
I would travel to Mars and the moon for you Ryan Alexander. I really would, and my answer is always "yes" to the things you believe in and wish to pursue.  
We've said "yes" to many hard things before, a lot of which didn't wait for that answer, they just happened. I don't doubt that we have a lot of much harder things to come down the road, but I pray to God that we do them all together.  
You know what we say, you're my island in a big 'ol ocean of craziness that life brings. So we can do this. We can do the UK. We can do the next year. You can do this new job and you will kill it. You always do and you will continue to do so.  
I love you more than any words could ever explain. I'm excited for this adventure with you and all the stories we'll have to tell our great-grandchildren one day.  
Cherrio dahhhhling ;)
Finally, all this would not be possible without our family and friends. While I won't bore you with another letter :), I want you all to know we're so grateful for you and couldn't do this without you either. To Ryan's Mom who is renting our house and loving on our dogs for the year. To my Mom and Dad who are supporting us even though their hearts ache over Sully being away for a year. To my Nana and Papa who have offered us anything we need, no questions asked. To my friends Cambron and Elliot who have also offered to do anything we need here in Charleston while we're gone.

This doesn't even begin to cover everyone, but just please know that every text, every call, every comment you leave, every heart you send our way, every direct message, every smile and words of encouragement in person and more mean the world. Please keep them coming!
If you would, please let people know about this blog and especially my Instagram so that all our creative energy and effort over the next year is not wasted. You know though, even if its unseen, at least our family has this hub for our year abroad!

If you do want to spread the word, here are a few ways to do so:

Thank you for reading and again for all of your support! Here we go y'all!
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