Only Planet

One Child, One Year, One Planet. A family of three traveling around the world...

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Same Same, But Different

I’ve been here before.

Standing in front of my bookshelf making calculations, what to pack and what to bring.  Some things are easy.  The antique vase found in a shipwreck off the coast of Vietnam, pack into storage.  The books about parenting a pre-teen, toss.  The Lonely Planet on Ireland, bring.  We could easily spend a weekend in Dublin, right?  The Lonely Planet featuring Japan, the jury’s still out on that one.  It never hurts to be optimistic. 

Seven years ago it was much easier.  Whatever didn’t fit in a 10x10 storage unit or wasn’t important enough to carry around in a small backpack for a year, had to go.  Life right now is feeling like one of my favorite Thai sayings, “Same Same, But Different.” 

Yes, I’m dismantling  a household again, which is an opportunity to do one of my favorite activities, declutter.  But now I have a whole new calculus to consider. 

Will we need this in the next year or two, or even three? 

Is it important enough to add to our small packing allowance, 500-1000 lbs shipped by air?

This may seem generous, especially given that we’ve traveled a year with less than a total weight of 100 pounds, but now we have to stock a kitchen, feed a dog and Dylan has way more stuff than her eight year old self.  (I can’t believe we forced her to bring a piece of string, a small plastic rat, a journal and a mini spirograph as her only toys—for a year!)

The company is giving us a furniture budget and we’ll  pick up much of what we need at couple trips to Ikea.  It’s cheaper for them than shipping a container of our stuff overseas and frankly, I don’t have that big of an attachment to my furniture. 

Before it was easier to make the decisions we needed to make.  There wasn’t a companies expat policy to follow.  Andy didn’t have a job and there wasn’t the important decision of Dylan’s high school.  Which is huge for a 15 year old. For however long we are there, we want to make sure it’s a school where she would thrive, which is hard to tell on a website, or a half hour visit. 

So while this entire disengagement process feels the same; the half packed boxes, the ever-growing to-do list, and the tearful goodbyes to loved ones, there are more factors to navigate that is making it feel different this time.  Sometimes I sit paralyzed, stare at the dog and wonder where to start.  To get through this, I need to keep my eye on the prize.  Biking on idyllic Dutch lanes sans helmet, three day weekends in Frankfurt or Paris and if we can find a dog sitter, Christmas in Morocco.  Yes, the Thais understand it.  Same Same, but Different.  Which makes the flipside just as true, “no matter how much things change, the more they stay the same.”  

Andy turns 45 today and with the exception of a *few* more grey hairs, I think he's looking the same!


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