Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The List of Panics

It seems that not a day goes by without me panicking about some aspect of our trip. Those of you who know me know that I’m a worrier. And planning to move half way around the world has given me plenty to worry about. So without further ado, here is the things either I have already am currently worrying about:

  1. Health Insurance: Believe it or not, China, our communist host, does not provide universal health care, so we need to arrange for coverage while we’re over there. At first, it appeared that we’d have to either a) pay more than double what we are currently paying for health insurance, b) pay for our current health insurance and for travel insurance while overseas (as our current insurance won’t cover us overseas yet our travel insurance would not cover us for the month or two while we're here), or 3) risk it. With two small boys, #3 was obviously never an option, so Doug made numerous calls trying to figure out how to make sure we had something. It turned out to be far less complicated (and expensive – yay!) than we thought, but we only figured this out after several hours invested.
  2. Schooling for the boys: Our location is not particularly central nor an expat hot spot, so there are no international schools nearby. This led to panic 2a: that I would have to spend an hour on the bus (each way) with the kids, meaning I’d be spending 4 hours a day on public transportation or would be stuck in some random area near their school all day, waiting for school to let out (not exactly productive use of sabbatical time). Turns out most schools have bus service, so that problem was solved, but led to panic 2b: most of these international schools have waiting lists. The words “home schooling” were tossed around which led to MAJOR panic. We have found one good prospect so far that appears to have room, so we are scrambling to get our applications materials together and snag those spots.
  3. Our animals: Currently we have 2 cats and a dog. Two of them are old, so panic 3a is that they will die while we are overseas. Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do to solve this one, so the worry continues unabated. Panic 3b is about figuring out what we will do with them while we’re gone. Our dog, Zoe, will live with my parents, but cats don’t move quite as easily, so we’d love to find someone trustworthy to live here. We’re working on that, but logistics are not easy.

I could go on and on (and at some point I probably will add to this list of panics), but you get my point here. I know people do this kind of stuff all the time (and some do it over and over), and honestly, I don't know how they do it. The logistics of this is overwhelming to me, particularly if I think about more than any one part of it at a time. I try to take it step by step, but if you ever happen upon me hyperventilating or mumbling to myself, you’ll know that I’m going over the list of panics in my head.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Firin’ Up the Blog Again

A few years back, Doug and I started this blog to chronicle our adventures during a month-long home exchange in Europe. We managed to capture the good, the bad and the ugly. The beauty of this blog, for us, has been the ability to revisit old postings and to reminisce about our times in Paris and London. Psychologists who study happiness will tell you that our memories of experiences like vacations tend to be faulty; over the long run, we tend to forget what was bad and only remember the good parts. We’ve found blogging helps to prevent such forgetfulness and that we wouldn’t want it any other way.

So, when we recently found out that both Doug and I have received Fulbright awards for the next academic year, we knew we would be firin’ up the blog again. We figured we’d do it when we left to go overseas, but as we’ve experienced the emotional roller coaster over the past month since we found out (two recent panic inducing words: home schooling), I’ve realized that I want to remember all of these moments leading up to the trip as well as the trip itself. My hope is that by blogging them, I’ll be able to look back and laugh at how neurotic I was (note that I do not hope that I will look back and realize how accurate my fears were).

Over the next two months then, we will occasionally blog about our preparations to move our family overseas. We will be spending the fall semester in Hong Kong, where Doug will be teaching and working on the General Education program at Lingnan University. Then, sometime in February, we will be moving on to China, where I will be teaching at some university somewhere in China – where, we don’t quite know yet. By mid-August, we have to pack up here in Massachusetts and set up in our new home Tuen Muen, Hong Kong. Between now and then, we have a lot to do – and we’ll definitely keep you abreast of how that’s going: the good, the bad AND the ugly.