Typhoons, Tailbones, and Time

So I have to admit that we did nothing this week that could be considered touristy. We lived a blessed life this week again, for sure. But I have nothing special to write about, as far as what you should see or do in Taipei. The “typhoon” (I use quotation marks because honestly I have seen far worse storms in California), my bruised tailbone from my fall down the stairs, and my subsequent paranoia about falling again in the rain prevented us from doing much this week.

When you travel long term, it is important to take time to do normal, real-life things sometimes. One cannot bustle around and be on the go all the time, especially with a toddler (I blame having a kid, but in reality, I need the down time more than her probably).

Despite the fact that we didn’t see any sights, or take any pictures of monuments, we did do some things that I do feel everyone should experience. They may seem mundane to you, but I feel refreshed and renewed for the new week because of them.

1) We had housecleaners come and do a deep clean of the house we are renting.

I have never had professionals clean my house. The house that we are renting previously belonged to three cats. Chad is allergic to cats and he has been suffering in silence. Yes, I could have done the work myself, but at the price of $20 an hour, we were both willing to let someone else do it for me. I am thankful that I was able to partake in this luxury. I know that in the States it is much more expensive, but I think everyone should enjoy this at least once. Especially all you hard working momma’s out there!

2) We stayed in and had a game night with good friends.

Last night after the babe went to bed, our friends came to our jungle oasis bearing gifts of hamburgers and fries (I know, awesome friends right?!). We sat and played the Battlestar Galactica board game until the wee hours of the morning (hence the lateness of this post). What a great time it was! I was the cylon and I ended up winning. I promise that is all the details I will go into about the game, Battlestar Galactica is not exciting to everyone I am sure, but I sure do love it!.

Regardless of what game we played, it was nice to relax and spend time with good friends. Last night I was Jenny, not just Zz’s mom, as she loves to call me lately. I think it is very important for every parent to take time to just be themselves occasionally. I know that it seems like that would go without saying, but I know many parents who never do so, or feel guilty when they do (I am totally pointing my finger at myself right now).

3) We spent a whole day in the house, just us three, and enjoyed each others company.

The typhoon day was such a blessing. Both Chad and I were nervous that many of the trees surrounding our house seemed like they may fall and break through our roof at the slightest breeze, but the Lord kept us safe in the wimpy torrential rainstorm. It ended up being a great day of togetherness!

Having Chad and Zoë with me all day, every day for the most part, I often forget to actually connect with each of them. I just end up going through the motions. I am so glad that there was a day that we were forced to stay in with each other, so I could reconnect with my two favorite people.

Make sure to take time and have a “typhoon day” with the ones you love too.

Next week I promise that I will write more about the wonders of Taiwan. Until then, what are some of the ordinary yet exceptional things that you would recommend that everyone do this week?


5 Ways to Make Your Move Easier

Now that we are officially on the road and have been living out of our suitcases for the past 6 days, I have some hindsight on things I would do differently next time around. Hopefully this post will save you some pain and suffering if you decide to move or travel to a foreign country.

  1. Give Yourself Time

This is something that Chad and I both thought we were doing right, but it turns out we were a bit too lackadaisical with. We gave ourselves 5 months to plan this trip. We planned our first four flights. We decided on types of baggage, travel insurance, and took care of all the paperwork needed for our trip. We felt that we had everything under control, the things on our to-do lists were getting checked off. Its not until a move is almost over that you realize that there is a ton of stuff that lies beneath the surface waiting to reveal itself when you least have time for it.

Chad worked until the Friday before our move on the following Sunday. We had our going away party on Saturday and so Sunday had to complete all that was left (which ended up being a lot more than I thought) with massively bad hangovers, both emotional and physical hangovers. I can say that it was an unpleasant experience and the lesson that I have taken away from this trying experience is to give yourself enough time when planning a move such as this. One and a half days was not enough time for us. Make sure to give notice at your place of employment at least one week before your planned departure date from your home. Figure out what amount of time you think you will need and add a week. This gives you time to get all those little surprise tasks out of the way without making you a walking talking stress ball.

  1. Pack Your Bags Numerous Times

This morning I realized that I have no shampoo/conditioner, no body wash and no hair goop. I have not had a chance to go buy some either. Because we did not give ourselves enough time (see how I tied that all in?) to do everything and double check our bags, I look like the crazy cat lady in the Simpsons. It’s hard enough living out of a suitcase without the added embarrassment of people crossing the street so as not to walk past the crazy looking traveler. Check your bags many times before your last day at home and then check it once more before you leave for good.

  1. Work Together

    Chad and I are a good team. We are able to communicate and discuss things that need to be done and then do them. What we should have taken advantage of though, is working with others. There were many people that offered their help to us, whether it was to move heavy furniture, or play with Zoë while we packed boxes. We didn’t want to impose on anyone and we tend to shy away from letting others help us. We are a bit too self-sufficient sometimes and I think that that was to our detriment, we should have utilized the offered help and lowered our stress levels.

  2. Exercise More

    I know this may seem a bit weird, but to someone who enjoys eating as much as I do, the possibility of gaining weight while traveling is high. Like red alert high. I wish that I would have gotten into an exercise routine (even just doing a few sit-ups everyday) before we moved because once one is on the road, routines get harder and harder to make and hold onto.

    We have stayed with my parents for three days and are currently staying with Chads’ parents and the amount of good food that they have made for us is both awesome and scary at the same time. I have to be very careful to watch the amount that I eat because I want to be able to fit into all those lovely clothes that I packed for the whole trip. I really wish I would have exercised.

  3. Say Good-bye Only Once

    This last one is probably the most important one to me. I felt that it was imperative that we take some time to stay with family before we head out on our adventure. I thought that it would give us quality time to visit and make memories with our extended family. And indeed it has been a great time of bonding with both sides of the family, especially for Zoë, who is completely attached to her Nana and Grandpa, and Grandma and Grandpa. She also probably loves the fact that she has been spoiled rotten this week. It will take many weeks to repair the damage of her being completely doted on for the past week.

    That’s not the only reason that I think that this week long good-bye is too long. It is way too emotional for me. Between wanting to cry all the time and pulling away from my family and getting cranky so as not to cry, it makes for a stressful situation sometimes.

    I love our family, but for my own emotional well-being, I know that if I were to do this again, I would have a going-away dinner (or maybe a whole day) with them and then say good-bye and leave. This would also save me from having to retrain my daughter in every way imaginable (okay maybe that’s a little exaggeration), not that I don’t love that fact that Zoë is special to her grandparents. She is one lucky girl and I am happy that her grandparents want to give her everything.

I am sure, absolutely sure actually, that there will be many more things along the way on our journey that I will look back and want to change. I know that I will be making more lists like this, it is inevitable, we learn from our mistakes. I accept that challenge, I will learn from my mistakes and hope that I can help you learn from my mistakes too. Now it’s your turn to share, what are some things that you wish you could have changed about the way you left your home and/or family behind?