The second semester of my junior year in college I knew that I needed to get away. My small liberal arts campus felt as if it were closing in on me and I couldn’t take it anymore. With the help of my advisor, I managed to rework my schedule and get permission to study abroad the first semester in my senior year. Not having planned well, I did not meet any language requirements and so choose to study in English-speaking Dublin, Ireland. It turned out to be the best decision I had ever made (at that point in my life).
I loved every moment. Yes, I probably partied a little too much, but I also made Irish friends, traveled and enjoyed living in another country. Since this amazing experience I have wanted to live abroad again. I don’t believe in regrets. But, my one regret in life is that I did not plan to study abroad. If I had I would have gone for my entire junior year – studying in more than one place.
After college I managed to swing a job as a paralegal and was able to afford a trip to London. Then came graduate school, where I managed to take a trip to Costa Rica. Without a job in hand after graduate school I took a month and traveled through Scandinavia. With each trip my desire to live abroad grew. So, I applied for jobs abroad, however my chosen field was not one with numerous abroad opportunities. I landed in New York City and quickly fell in love with my new home. However, I never lost that desire to one day live abroad.
Then I met my husband. Besides the fact that he was good-looking, funny, and a teacher I was impressed that he had just returned from a trip to Hong Kong and Beijing. His first time leaving North America and he went to China! As we talked about his trip he mentioned he would love to live in Hong Kong one day. I may have already been in love!
As it tends to do, time goes by and we travel a lot, talking on and off about living abroad. I don’t remember how we found out about international schools. My husband may have already known, maybe I found out, but either way after we got married moving abroad for a few years became a real conversation.
So, here we are two and a half years later getting ready to board a plane for Shanghai in 10 days. It feels too good to be true. I know there will be challenges. We will miss our family and friends, but I also know the potential rewards are numerous and great. We will learn and grow together so much over the next two years.
I am about to start living the life I always wanted and I am nervous, scared, and most importantly beyond excited. I can’t wait to see where this life will take us.
photo by retro traveler