Making A Home & Preparing To Leave
“Modern conveniences make for grand adventures but they don’t always cultivate stability.”
One of the greatest privileges of living in our modern world is how simple it has become to move around. Travel has become more affordable and as long as you have internet you can work from anywhere.
Technically speaking this is true. But then you have to include bothersome things like diplomacy. It is more complicated than just finding a sunny hill somewhere and deciding to make it your home.
Unless you live in the country that issued your passport, you’ll have to ask permission to make a place your home.
Sometimes it's easy.
Sometimes it involves long lines and lots of paperwork.
And sometimes it doesn’t work out how you hope it will.
If you're lucky enough to get a long term visa or marry a person in your new country you can gain a bit more permanence.
But, as people who are already married and work online, our conditions for staying in any one place tend to be less permanent in nature.
We have a nine month work permit in Estonia. We’re six months in.
We love it here and many things about it make us want to stay. It is as safe as it is beautiful. We have good friends and are close to family. The air is clear and it is easy to be healthful here.
But something inside our souls remains restless.
So instead of applying for a new visa right away, we’ve decided to go explore another part of the world for a while. You can read about that idea here. Maybe one day we'll return to Estonia.
That leaves us with three months.
While I am excited to explore what this next season means for us, I am also hesitant to tell people about it. So naturally I’m posting this on the internet for the world to see (the obvious next step).
But the fears are still there.
I am afraid that we'll tell people about our big plan and end up not going at all.
I am afraid that we’ll somehow miss out on the next few months while we are planning to leave.
I am afraid that people will stop inviting us to be a part of their lives.
A FEAR OF BEING WRONG…
I’ll be the first to admit that we aren’t the most rooted family. We make lots of plans.
One time, we decided we were going to go work on a cruise ship (we never did).
Then we planned to spend a month in Crete and instead ended up in France.
Last year we spent six months telling people we were moving to Mexico, then moved to Estonia instead.
The list goes on…
Throughout our relationship we keep coming back to this theme. We dream, we plan and when it comes down to it we might end up doing something entirely different.
And thats ok.
Because people make plans, but God directs their steps.
We are trusting that He will continue to direct us. In doing so we will continue to grow in ways we could never have imagined on our own.
So I’ll just say it. Our plan is to fly to Vietnam in late February.
If that changes I’ll be sure to let you know.
Photos: Tallinn, a city we love
A FEAR OF MISSING OUT…
While there are some fears, there is also the excitement that comes with anticipation. In The Art Of Travel Alain de Botton surmises that the anticipation of travel is actually better than physically going anywhere.
I know myself well enough to know that as soon as we make any sort of plan I want to work on it right away. My inclination is to make so many lists, watch all the youtube videos, then pack up and be ready to go. I’ve already made a catalogue of all the things we own (and it fits on a single page). So I know packing could be quick. Then we’d spend months sitting in a sad, partially empty apartment.
But I don’t want to do that this time. I want to enjoy the next three months by fully immersing ourselves in our lives here. For three months we will continue making Estonia our home. We’ll keep our art on the walls and buy extra candles and cozy blankets for the cold, dark months ahead of us. We’ll put up a Christmas tree and invite people in. We might even have some traditional (weird) meat jello and blood sausage for the holidays.
Instead of turning all of our attention to Next we are looking at Now.
It’s funny how the prospect of leaving a place makes you appreciate it more. I have noticed that this anticipation of leaving is making me enjoy the present more. I’m walking slower to enjoy the view. I’m trying harder to use Estonian phrases. And I am determined to say yes to all sorts of experiences. Who knows? We might never have these opportunities again.
We are appreciating crisp days and cozy nights. We are enjoying the silence on the trams. We are layering our clothes with abandon. Because these are the things of life in Estonia and (at least for now) we live in here.
And yes, there will still be a fair amount of lists.
Photos: Our home in Estonia
A FEAR OF LOST RELATIONSHIPS…
I read a book last week called Foreign to Familiar. It was about the differences between people in warm climates and cold climates. Estonians are basically the epitome of cold climate people. They tend to be reserved, efficient in communication and punctual. We assumed it would take time to make friends here.
But what books, blogs and youtube failed to mention was how many people who live here are not Estonian. There are people living here from all over the world. Among my friends there are Americans, Brazilians, South Africans, Ukrainians, Koreans, Russians, Ghanans, Nigerians, Hungarians, Belgians, Turks and of course Estonians. It is a really lovely mixture if you ask me. We immediately felt welcome in Tallinn.
I’ve always hated disappointing people. Which is probably the biggest reason why I haven’t told anyone and everyone about our plans. I don’t want to be another disappointing link in a chain of people who don’t stay for very long.
In my mind as soon as I tell someone we’re leaving they’ll start pulling away. Not to be spiteful, but instead to invest in relationships that will continue in person.
That is entirely unfair. My friends are human but they’re some of the best kind.
So writing this is my first step to telling all my friends, but it is also an invitation.
An invitation to lean in.
An invitation for coffee, a walk, playdates or a night of board games.
I am now accepting extra hugs and great conversations. Because I’ll miss them later.
For now, we’ll keep loving, keep serving and keep inviting people into our home. People are the most important part of any place.
Photos: Life in community
So if you find yourself in a season of waiting, one of anticipation, be encouraged. Take a moment to breathe in the air of where you are and to love the people around you deeply. It is in the moments of waiting for something new that we can truly enjoy the things that we already have.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.