Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A New Journey Begins

Everyone has a time in their life they view as a crossroad. Sometimes you can see it as it's happening, and you're able to choose one way or another. Other times you may not realize you're there until you look back, and see what a turning point it really was. This week, write about a time you view as a marker in your life; a distinct place where things changed, for better or worse. This post was inspired by a prompt from Sometimes Sweet.

I don't think this will come as a surprise to anyone reading my blog, but a major crossroads in my life occurred approximately exactly eight months ago (minus one day). Eight months ago, Nick received a contract from Karlskrona Hockey Club. It was quite a busy day for us, as we evaluated the positives and negatives of potentially packing up our life and moving to Sweden for the year. This was the beginning of our journey, and the beginning of my personal expat journey.

See, for me, I had just started a new job a few months ago, that held the potential for an incredible amount of opportunity for me. Through this job, I worked in one restaurant for about three months and then participated in the opening process of a new restaurant. I conducted hundreds of interviews, hired staff, trained staff, and finally opened this new restaurant. I saw the successes, trials, and tribulations of opening a new restaurant. The company is a strong one, and at the time had plans of opening several more locations in the next several years. There was definitely room for growth for me there, and I was happy with the future outlook.

Nick and I were(was) also in the process of planning our wedding. I had the major details done- venue (complete with caterer), the dress, the cake (or cupcakes) bridal party selected, invitation list created, invitations ordered, and our hockey-themed Save the Dates ordered and sent out. I did all of this pretty much the first month within getting engaged, so just had the little things left. Which I had assumed I would have the entire month of July and August to complete. Picking flowers (who really cares about those?), selecting an officiant, and buying Thank You Cards were pretty much all that was left (or so I thought). 

I had a solid group of friends, who were always there for me. Some of them lived out of city, some out of state, but all them would be there for me in a heartbeat. Not only the friends, but also my family. One brother in college, one living a block away, and my parents as always close by. A wonderful bulldog named Lily, and a beautiful young kitty named Elfie.

So. Nick received this contract, and it was pretty appealing. Were we really prepared to leave all of this behind? To leave our jobs, friends, family, pets, and head across the world for an opportunity? To begin a new journey? To move to Europe?

If you've been following my blog at all, you know that we did it. In five weeks time, we prepared to leave and not come back until just before the wedding. And to be honest, its been a wonderful experience.

I'm living in a new country, for the first time in my life. Nick has returned to a place he loves. We have had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe. This blog has begun. We've made new friends, and kept in contact with old ones. I've started learning a new language. I've started taking classes towards my Master's Degree. In the past eight months, I've learned more about myself than I ever thought I would in eight months. Being abroad has led me to have a greater appreciation for everything back home, but also to appreciate each moment and experience that comes our way. It certainly has not always been easy, or great, but it has been an incredible learning experience for us. Things are different now, but change is the only constant in this life. In the end, it has been worth it. I look forward to each new adventure on this journey!

ex-pat journey

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