Up until we left on our trip to Malaysia in July, I had a general idea of what the rest of my life would look like. I even had a blog post written out entitled "Plans for the Future," one I've since deleted. I'd graduate from cosmetology school and get a part-time job until Angel finished grad school. When he got his nurse practitioner license, we'd move to a new state and have a few kids. I'd be a stay-at-home homeschool mom and teach children's church, we'd go to homegroup twice a month and make some new friends. Eventually, we'd be able to buy our own house and we'd gradually settle down into suburban American life. I knew I'd always write, and I knew Angel would always be good at his job.
It's a perfectly fine future, nothing wrong with it, but I felt a little sad whenever I thought about the years to come in my own life. That's not how I wanted to feel, but I had a hard time accepting that this very normal life was what I was made for. I didn't have a very normal childhood, and I didn't grow up with the desire for a two story house with a two car garage on a cul-de-sac. Both Angel and I felt directionless. We knew that Michigan wasn't our permanent home, but we didn't feel any particular desire to move anywhere specifically.
I clung to the belief that all God's plans for his children are good, that even if the prospect of my future didn't look appealing to me at the moment, it would be good and there would always be opportunities to serve God and to use the gifts I've been given.
That was what I thought about my future until August hit. Suddenly, life looks completely different.
Because we went on a summer vacation.
Angel spent a week and a half in Malaysia in July, and when he returned to America, he emailed me saying that he was convinced that we should live and work in Asia. That's kind of a surprising email to get from your spouse. Never before that moment had he shown real interest in living anywhere outside the U.S., though in my mind that had always been an option to pursue (except, ya know, I'm married, so I couldn't simply do something like move to China on my own--Angel was the reason I didn't spend a semester in China when I was in college). I questioned him a little, to see how serious he was. Over next couple days, I was surprised to hear him say he'd already told some of his family, and some of mine. He'd already decided what to do with possessions that we wouldn't be able to pack up and take overseas. He was serious.
Here's the thing about Angel: when he gets an idea, he sees it through. Our love story could be summarized as: Angel got the idea that his friend Rachel would make a good wife, and he made it happen. Let's be glad he doesn't get crazy ideas as often as I do.
In the space of a few weeks, our life looks completely different, and to me, it looks brighter. Angel has dropped out of his Master's program. He was only a couple classes in, we've faced roadblock after roadblock from school administration since the beginning of the program, and nurse practitioner is a position that does not widely exist in the countries we're looking at. For these reasons and others, it seemed clear that this wasn't the right plan for us.
Now we're exploring all manner of different options. The hardest part in any plan to live overseas is getting a visa and getting a job in a country that's not your own.
This process could take up to a year or even longer than that. Right now, our life is focused on choosing how best to invest the time we have right now to get the experiences and the finances we need to get ready for a future that doesn't look quite as settled as we thought it did a few months ago. Lots of crazy plans and timelines are flying around. We need to cut back on expenses. No more buying anything that we can't take with us. If one career option doesn't open up by a certain time, we'll start investigating another. Would an M.Ed. help open doors for my overseas career? Does Angel need any further non-medical certifications or education? We've got resumes to update and people to contact--and man, I'm so glad that we've never bought curtains and that I didn't let Angel's convincing arguments talk me into buying a loveseat for the living room.
So, we're moving. We don't yet know when or where, but we're planning on it. I'm already in sorting and packing mode when it comes to our house, though that's really not the most practical thing for me to do right now. We're both excited about what's coming, and trust me, when I know for sure what that is, I'll let you in on it!