march 31st. moving day.

My heart is full tonight, and my eyes sting from crying for the last 2 days..
18 months ago, we moved our family here to Beijing, China…following my husband’s dream of living in China, and with the intention of living for one year abroad. These are some of my earliest memories of Beijing.

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5:30 am Sept 26th, 2007- 20 pieces of luggage… we arrive Beijing
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Sept 26th- 6:30pm… jet lag
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realizing how it feels to be illiterate. and trying to understand how to find my way around when i can't read anything! this intersection by our first house is no longer there… in just the short amount of time we have been here, it's been transformed into a freeway on-ramp for a brand new freeway that cropped up unbelievably quick, to access the NEW amazing airport. the growth and change here is amazing.
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This is pretty much how connor looked when we arrived; he was only 2.5 months old. i wonder what he will remember! he will only have the photos, and what we tell him.  he look so tiny here.
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it took a bit to get used to the 'security' around here.  the boys are SO excited about getting back to their old 'shredding' grounds…
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this was the first of MANY visits to the great wall. i remember it just BLOWING my mind. i love it.
Bike
and my first time biking around the city.. an all time highlight! thanks NAN
Fabric market
i remember the first time i went to the fabric market, and was SHOCKED by the craziness… the choices and the (LOL) craziness! and now, i know that place inside out. i will miss this place the MOST.
Echo
i remember us starting to learn chinese… UGH! so hard. i still only know what i learned during those first few months. i still can't form a whole sentance.. but my children, can carry on full conversations… read, write and talk about ME!
Kits
but i hope THEY remember.
Sumpal
i hope they remember the adventures, i hope they remember kylee, and how AWESOME she is. i hope they know and remember how blessed and LUCKY they are to have been here, and done this.

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From the moment I got here, I LOVED it. yes, there were challenges…I had a lot to learn. Felt totally out of my element… needed to learn to cook, learn enough Chinese to ‘get around’, figure out how to drive here w/ out getting creamed…deal w/ some home schooling, and all kinds of other NEW variables that were thrown into our lives. And amid those struggles, we got to discover a new place, new culture, new people… history, differences and similarities.
Honestly, I didn’t have any idea what to expect. I came here with the attitude that ‘I can do anything for a year’… but what I got was the most wonderful, powerful experience of my life. I can remember when we came back to the US for the first time after our arrival here (one year ago, 5 months after our arrival), that I had been ‘influenced’ by my time in China, but I wanted to be ‘changed’ – I want to be changed forever. I hope, that after 18 months of living here, that in fact, I am. I never want to forget the valuable lessons that I have learned: about my kids, myself, what I want out of life, and who I want to be. Being here, has blessed and shaped my life in ways I simply can’t explain.
I am sad to leave here. and while the inevitability of us returning to the states has been looming in, the final decision was made yesterday- rather abruptly- as airplane tickets were purchased and preparations begun.
I am SO grateful for my time here. It seems SO short, too short. Only a blip. I am SO grateful for the people that have come into our life and taught me so much.
So grateful for:
Intense family time
Our LDS branch
The GPS so we could explore BJ, w/o the fear of getting lost –and our rockin’ Chinese VAN
The internet that allowed us to stay connected to people that we LOVE at home
That my children have learned to speak Chinese.
A huge network of friends that I know would do anything for me, and have.
The chance to see BJ at it’s MOST beautiful during the Olympics
Our wonderful, angelic ayi
All our visitors
The treasure hunting at the fabric market
Buying only farm fresh produce every week
Gaining a global perspective
Each and every crazy adventure from playing hide and seek in the Forbidden City and watching our toddlers walk along the great wall.
Riding my bike alongside hundreds of Chinese
Experiencing seasons again- and appreciating that change
Learning to only use ‘re use’ bags

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And every photo, attached to every memory that have effectively changed my perspective about everything.

I will love this town forever. And all the people who’s paths have crossed mine, I will love you too.  This short chapter of our life is coming to an end. On March 31st, we will again board an all-night United flight home, punctuating this wild ride.

 I now look forward with gratitude and anticipation of what the next chapter holds.  I am sure there will be some trips to Target, a dish washer and some sunny AZ skies. Just to name a few.  Oh, and gasp…confidence in my hairdresser! (there’s a smile).

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