A beautiful island view in Dili, East Timor.
In a few weeks we will be saying goodbye to our life in Dili. Though I have moved many times in my life – across states, oceans, and time zones – the experience is always bittersweet for me. I feel happy, sad, and a little nervous all at the same time.
We originally thought we would stay in Timor-Leste for 2-3 years, but when a great job opportunity for my husband opened up a year early, we decided to go for it.
Admittedly, when I first found out about a possible move my immediate reaction was PANIC. The change felt too soon, too big, too different. Usually, when it’s time to leave a place I feel ready to go. But this time I had mixed emotions. (more…)
In a few weeks’ time, we will be heading to the US for our much-anticipated annual home leave. Once a year, our organization covers the cost of flights to our “home on record.” Though our last physical address was in Oregon, our permanent address is my mom’s house, in a suburb near Seattle.
It’s the place where I grew up and where I usually say I’m from, even though I haven’t lived there in nearly two decades.
For our kids, home is here, in Dili. This is where their stuff is, where their beds are, and where their friends live. Although they don’t really remember our life before we moved to East Timor, they do know that they aren’t from here and will occasionally ask “Mommy, where am I from?”
I usually tell them that they are lucky enough to be from two places: England and America, just like one of their friends is from Sweden and Vietnam, and another friend is from Italy and Germany. Still, it’s a pretty abstract concept to a three-year old mind. (more…)
Among the many things we worry about as parents, I never thought that crocodiles would be high on the list. And then I moved to East Timor.
With any big life decision or transition there are risks and trade-offs. We knew that our family would be faced with a new set of health concerns by choosing to move to a faraway tropical island. But, we also believed that the trade offs would be worth it and the challenges manageable.
And so, we kicked into preparation mode – stocking up on regular and just-in-case medicines, soliciting advice from other experienced families, consulting medical types and health guides. We were immunized against Japanese Encephalitis, Typhoid and Rabies (at a family cost of $5,000! Thankfully reimbursed, but still). We cleared out a local store’s supply of bug spray and loaded up on sunscreen and other protective gear. We were as ready as we could be. (more…)