Newly married, joined my husband in Michigan (from Florida), and it just so happens that my license expires this year on my birthday. We drove my car and belongs up from Florida so what followed from there was a new car registration, new title, and a new state license. This year, my passport expired as well.
This was all in the first half of the year. Traveling-wise, it was a bit of a slow year for us but still worthy of mention. Our first year of marriage looked a bit like this:
Entering a new year, riding off the high of a Dominican Republic wedding and a Thailand honeymoon only to come back to freezing temps in Michigan. For me this was a drastic move. We traveled a total of 3 weeks, and I literally only packed about a weeks worth of climate comfortable clothing and wedding necessities into 1 carry-on and 1 personal item. So it’s a little obvious I wasn’t prepared for winter in Michigan 🙁
We had planned to do this in January but the flight prices weren’t budging until February. All of my belongings and my car were still in Florida. At this point, I’ve pretty much been living out of my carry-on/personal item plus a few winter wardrobe items we picked up my first few weeks in Michigan. We flew down to Florida, enjoyed some time with family and friends, packed my car to capacity and drove it all up to our new home. 17 hours….
The move up north meant that I had to leave my job after 6 years of running a program there. At first, I was enjoying not needing to be anywhere and I was perfectly happy never stepping foot outside to bare the cold and snow. But, I was becoming bored and restless to do something, anything (indoors), something productive to work at or towards. I stumbled upon VIPKID – an online English education platform for Chinese students ages 4-12. We both had a desire to teach English internationally one day and VIPKID seemed like the perfect opportunity to start; especially in the comfort of our warm home 🙂 It also provided an avenue towards the location dependent lifestyle we wanted to build.
SPRING!!!!!!!! We didn’t do anything really exciting this month, but it’s worth noting that the weather started to warm up and it was beautiful to see!
Weekend trip in Detroit to visit family.
This was a busy month! My side of the family had their annual family reunion weekend, and my aunt had her 60th birthday celebration. It was a great time especially since Rondel was able to meet lots of family that weren’t able to make it to the wedding. Luckily, a close friend was also having a surprise baby shower the same weekend and we are able to be there to support and celebrate as they prepared to welcome their first child.
In addition, a college friend was getting married in North Carolina. So we took a roadtrip and doubled it as a little family reunion as well to visit Rondel’s sister and her family.
We decided to take the leap and apply for ESL teaching positions in Asia – Thailand, China, and Japan. Several places in China responded quickly and before we knew it, we had several Skype interviews setup. It was a nail biting moment. We were so nervous!
We accepted teaching positions in Wuhan, China and began the arduous task of collecting, notarizing, certifying, and authenticating document after document to meet the copious requirements for obtaining a Z Visa for employment in China.
Still a continuation of preparing documents at the local, state, and federal level. This also included driving to and forth from Michigan to Illinois multiple times for mandatory in person Chinese Embassy visits. I also took this month to visit family and friends in Florida one more time before the big move.
Rondel also applied to become a VIPKID teacher this month and made it!
It’s moving month! We had to wait until the final step of authentication from the Chinese Embassy before buying our plane tickets to China. We ended up setting the date towards the end of October, selling-donating-trashing-gifting all of our collective belongings and threw up the deuce.
I had classes the day after our arrival…
Adjusting to life in China – it’s a bit of a packed statement.
Still adjusting, lol, but appreciating the exploration. Christmas and New Years aren’t big commercial holidays here. Some families celebrate but it seems most do not. No Christmas music, but lights are everywhere. In fact, most buildings are brightly illuminated every night of the year. Our first teaching semester ends mid-January and welcomes in a nice long winter break which we were looking forward to.
This year has been one of many experiences domestic and abroad. It’s definitely the start to a life of living abroad, learning abroad, and loving abroad.