Tuesday, July 9, 2013

We're moving to Thailand!!!

Hahaha, no, no we aren't. Well, we aren't moving to Thailand, but we are moving to Irvine, CA, or somewhere around there. 

Josh has been looking for a better fit for his job for a while now and he found a job that he just couldn't turn down. He's been looking around for so long that I didn't think this would actually ever pan out to anything for no good reason other than it hadn't yet, so I was stunned when it really did. Any time he's sent out applications I'm like, sure, whatevs. 

"Germany? Sure, whatevs."
"Indiana? Sure, whatevs."
"Boise? Sure, whatevs."
"Sri Lanka? Sure, whatevs."
"Singapore? Sure, whatevs."
"Southern CA? NO, please, NO."

Everywhere else seemed reasonable, but the LA area to me is like a gorgeous bad dream to me. When we were at that airport in May coming back from Thailand I was saying how awesome it would be to live there imagining the warm breezes and palms everywhere. But I say that sort of thing about a lot of places we visit, everywhere has it's charms, but to really buckle down and live in a place is another thing. And LA is it's own thing. When Josh asked if he could apply there, all the gorgeous dreaminess scurried right out of my mind and all I could think of was this:

-rich white people 
-with perfect, tan bodies
-which you will see in skimpy suits wandering around everywhere making the cookie in my hand and the gut on my tummy feel extra shameful instead of delicious even if it's Tuesday or Thursday when I run 8 miles
-groomed neighborhoods with neighborhood watch everywhere (the kind where people watch and report if you're not maintaining standards) telling me what to do, which I sorta can't stand
-intense popularity contests in the schools and girl fights and exclusions with valley girl accents
-making my girls self conscious and having eating disorders by 15 and wanting plastic surgery at 18

Please no. He said please yes. Please apply somewhere else, like around here. Pretty please yes? And so on for about a week straight. I finally relented and they were interested. Every time he got another call I felt sick all day. My birthday went straight downhill when they told him they wanted him to go down for an interview, my heart sunk and I was bummed the rest of the day. Being at Ikea with 3 tired and hungry kids all evening didn't help the birthday spirit much, but that's another story...I blame the call :).

We booked a ticket for me to go down with him to see if I could envision our family living there. It was paradise, seriously, Orange County is just dreamy. It's like straight out of a movie, or a few hundred movies  probably. The weather was awesome, the tropical deserty feel was wonderful, I found a $1 bookstore there that I spent an hour at and no joke, it was that moment that I thought I might be able to survive there. I bought a reusable tote to load up a big carry on of books. Then we ate dinner at Cafe Rio which helped too. Nonetheless, I felt horribly sad about the whole thing because I couldn't find any good reason to say, "Sorry Josh, this place is the pits." 

I realized as we were there that this could actually pan out to something and we would have to make a hard choice. Sure enough, things slowly unfolded with a few twists and turns with the offer, but in the end, an offer and one that Josh wanted to take. He didn't want to move either though, and I was heartbroken about moving, so I thought maybe that was our answer, maybe it would be a good career move but not a good move for our family so we would find something else. I prayed so hard during this time. I think Josh's prayers were a little bit different than mine. Then one night he asked if I could pray that he would get this job and I said I could probably pray that if he were to get this job I wouldn't get hysterical.

Fast forward through the toughest decision of our life and it was time to tell the bosses our decision. I told Josh I needed a week to decide and we would tell them Monday, yesterday. Josh has said throughout this whole thing that he's not sure he wanted to do this either, we kept going back and forth. The job sounded great, but we have an almost ideal life here. It is a truly dreamlike existence in so many ways. I've relished living here on our little slice of paradise. The one downside of it all is that Josh just hasn't been happy at work and knowing that, I knew he needed a change. The more we transformed our house and our yard and built more friendships and my new calling as a Laurel adviser at church (teach 16-17 yr old girls--my dream calling), moving anywhere seemed like the wrong answer. Josh and I were on the fence about it right up until the wire. We fasted about it on Sunday and had decided to move. 

For years my tear ducts seem to be faulty, all dried up. I think it's because after I had kids there was just too much crying, so my crying went way way down and I almost never cry anymore, even when I wish I had that outlet. But every time I'd hear a new development with this job and the thought of our life here slipping away became more and more of a reality I would start to get choked up and I would quickly divert my thoughts away to stave off the tears. Then Sunday night came when Josh and I had to really decide officially that we were doing this. We had some friends over that are from that area and she said it was awesome in the Irvine area, so that helped, but then when it was time to think about doing this for sure I just lost it. 


I was so hysterical I even told Josh through my crazy sounds of a dying goat, "I know I look ridiculous and I know this would be a great Saturday Night Live skit and I know we'd laugh later if we had this recorded..." and those were choked out in high pitched squeals and snotty tissues everywhere, not laughs. Later I started laughing and I think Josh felt some relief and then I started right into hysterical crying again. This lasted for about 2 hours.

Things said during this:

Josh: "We can stay. Really, seeing your reaction makes me think we should stay, I'll be fine here, lets stay"
Me crying: "No, I want you to be happy"
Me: "I just want to die...I wish you would suffocate me, but I don't really want to die because I have kids...but I want to die...
Josh: "I can be happy anywhere, lets stay"
Me: "No, you haven't been. We'll be fine, I'll be happy, it's just the dying part that we have to get over first. (At other times when Josh would say we should stay because he didn't want to go if the family wasn't happy there I would tell him that I knew we would be happy there, we could be happy anywhere, it was just like if I died someday, I know he would eventually get remarried and he would be happy. But I have to die first. This move is like that death to me. I have 5 sisters, drama is part of life.)

And so on. Until I remembered a property that we had looked at online that was way out and had 7 acres. 

Me: "Can we get a dog?"
Josh: "..."
Me sobering up fast: "And a horse?" 
Josh: "You are negotiating for a horse right now???" 

The cost of the house would be significantly cheaper even with all that land so I told him we could get a cheapo horse and a dog for a playmate and we could bond as a family over rides in the afternoon. Things really started looking up as I envisioned myself going to sleep with my horse nuzzling my sheets through the half door to our bedroom and my throwing the kids on for our blissful afternoon ride. There isn't really a half door, but there could be. Along with my horses, dogs and chickens...

Josh: "It went from a dog to a dog and a horse and now it's dogs and horses and chickens???"

Josh accepted the offer yesterday. And Josh, the man that wears animal repellent in the way he glares at animals, even said he would consider that home and lifestyle and all that would go with it--as long as he wouldn't have to touch the beast. He is so awesome. I don't think we'll buy that property, but it's a thought, and the one that stopped my insanity. 

Things can happen fast in a day. We've already started the timeline to sell our house and to move down there and it all freaks me out because this is way hecka fast and stressful and I don't want to leave. Some things I love about here:

-my girls at church that I teach, hang out with, play Just Dance with--I love them so much, I want them to all come with me.
-our home, it's a reflection of us, we've spent countless hours as a family working on it, almost always a weekend project that attaches us to it even more.
-our yard, which is paradise to me when I sit on the orange swing watching my kids play or reading my scriptures with the twinkle lights on. 
-bike path in back yard. We put in a bike path for the kids to cruise around and where they both recently learned how to ride their bikes without training wheels on their own. Josh and I cruising around with them on scooters. 
-my circle stones we put in, those make me happy every time I pull up to the house and play in the backyard. It looks like they're always smiling at me. I think they are.
-the fact that our homes don't look like much even though they cost too much, I love that it doesn't look pretentious or feels fancy, it's much too old of a neighborhood to be one that tries to keep up with the Joneses.
-our quaint elementary school .3 miles down the road that we love to walk/jog/ride to--also with a sweet park by it. 
-Safeway, Jamba Juice, Coldstone 2 minutes walk behind our house--yet we still live in a residential neighborhood and can't see any of it!
-an awesome neighbor RIGHT across the street, my age, with two kids my oldest kids ages. More great friends just blocks away.
-church 2.4 miles away.
-library 2.4 miles away--or another handful of libraries a mile more.
-excellent pediatrician 2.5 miles away (won't be sad to see my lame OB practice go at Kaiser though, see ya!)
-City's Montessori preschool we could jog to and eat lunch on our walk home together. It was a great school that was out of a modest looking home, my perfect fit.
-TONS of friends all within a few miles. How am I so lucky? Seriously, I am in primo central spot to get to have so many great people all around.
-Josh's aunt and uncle nearby who we adore
-running trails nearby
-YMCA I can jog to that I LOVE. The childcare people there are like surrogate family for my kids, I love them, they love my kids, I love them, I love the facility, it's a highlight of my day going there.
-beaches, city, wilderness, all within an hour.
-Ghiradelli chocolate factory outlet--the real one in San Leandro with real steals and deals
-bazillion parks to choose from within a few miles
-any ethnicity of people and restaurants everywhere with delish food
-jogging to the farmers market as a family Saturday mornings, I will sorely miss this one. I love Murphy Street where the market it, I love the market, I love buying my herb slab from Acme Bread every week.

And more. 

I'm going to wrap this sucker up now. It's been therapeutic to gush my heart out. I will be glad I have it when I read this a year from now when I'll be loving the new place we'll be in and knowing that we made it through and are still happy and loving our life there with more friends and new memories and a happy husband who likes what he does and realizing that my kids will probably be okay after all and that it might even be a blessing. 

Let the games begin.


anna said...

I am from Mission Viejo, right next to Irvine. My dad's office is in Irvine. That whole area is awesome. If you have any questions, let me know - the stake I grew up in is really, really incredible. Good luck with the move.

Annie Lewis said...

Wow, good luck. Having just moved 2 weeks ago, let me just say moving totally sucks! But so cal is so wonderful! Good luck with that horse!!

Annie Lewis said...

Wow, good luck. Having just moved 2 weeks ago, let me just say moving totally sucks! But so cal is so wonderful! Good luck with that horse!!

Michelle Glauser said...

Afton, your writing is so wonderfully hilarious and real. Thanks for sharing the process and best of luck!

joolee said...

Oh Afton, you will make the most of this, create another lovely home and find new wonderful friends - I KNOW you will! (Of course, easier said than done - have I ever had to do that myself? No. We've been in this house for almost NINE years! Crazy!) Anyway, I'm sure this was a tough decision. You are such a trooper! Best wishes with everything -

Cristi said...

We are going through the same thing right now. We are just outside of Sacramento in our dream place near my family and everything has been perfect! EXCEPT my husband hasn't been happy in his job. He's been working from home for a company in Scottsdale, AZ and we finally decided we need to move there so he can work with other people and not be alone, isolated from everything that's going on. Some people like working remotely-- he hates it. He needs the colabberation and social interaction. My heart is totally breaking to move but we feel this is the right thing. It HURTS bg time, especially when everything else here is perfect! So I can totally relate. I've cried lots of hysterical tears lately, too. But you'll be ok! Having husband's happy in their jobs is super important. And So Cal has lots to do. GOod luck!
-Cristi Lindsay

Ludwig Family Blog said...

Oh, Afton. I was starting to get teary just reading your thoughts about the whole thing. You are so good at expressing the many thoughts and feelings you have about the move.
I know you will love SoCal, and make wonderful friends very quickly. You are so brave! I'm proud of you for knowing it was the right thing even though it was hard.
I'm excited for you guys, and I plan on visiting very often, so get a big house! :) We will be a couple of hours closer, so that's a plus!
I hope you had a good birthday. Sorry I missed it....things are a little crazy around here still! :)
Good luck with the house hunting, house-selling, and everything else.
You are a trooper! Hope to talk to you soon.

Melanie Sharp said...

I should be encouraging and positive, but selfishly, I am just so sad! I will miss you so much, as will so many others. And yet, I will be unselfish for a minute and acknowledge that I'm sure this will be wonderful for Josh and for all of you, and I'm thrilled you feel good about it. If my selfishness isn't enough, add to it that I am 100% jealous of the people who get to have you in their daily lives in So Cal! They are lucky beyond words. Love you, Afton! You will leave a gaping hole here, but will no doubt have an awesome experience and influence wherever you land.

HELPInternationalBelize said...

Just wrote a long comment and it got erased... love you mucho, let's chat soon - xoxo, Tina

Sarah M said...

Afton! I'm so excited for you! Jonathan's brother is a lawyer in Irvine, and his wife is wonderful and amazing and you should hang out with her. I will miss you dearly, but we go down there to visit fam all the time, and we would love to come say hi to you too. I loved reading this post - you are so good at capturing these moments, and you're right - you will love being able to read this in a year. I'm so glad that I know you and that we got to do our little co-op preschool together. Let me know if I can help with your move out time-line by taking kiddos or packing boxes or anything (we get back to CA in about a month).

Tristen said...

It's so interesting reading this, because we've been talking about making a change also and I've been having second thoughts because it's just so hard to see past happy here now into the future which will definitely be happy there also. We look at our friends at church and I feel sick that we might not have them nearby forever, but my husband keeps reminding me that we've always been surrounded by wonderful people and wherever we go, we will build a home and it will be charming and happy and we will learn to love the people we come into contact with there. It's just such an investment in time and love, each place you live, and to walk away is so hard. I still sort of cry when I think about our move from the Bay area, but even this town we're in now has become home to us and it would be sad to leave. You will do great in Irvine, you will find whatever you are looking for in the people there. :) My sister lives in LA, in the beach cities (Redondo Beach area) and it is such a happy place for them. Beautiful tree lined streets, horse property (not theirs, but all around), temperate weather all of the time, etc. You will do great! Happy for you guys! But I hear you about being heartbroken to leave, I snorted and sobbed about leaving Berkeley too. :)

Glen & Kat said...

Just read your post...wow! Good luck with everything!

Susan Crowford said...

Good luck to you and your family! I'm sure you're doing well. Thailand isn't a place for living:) Thanks God, you've not moved there. It's more a place to visit for a couple of days. My writer from term-paper-research.com described her journey there as "the days of dreaming and pure fun".

Pooja Roy said...

i love you to read your post thanks you so very much