The time has come. We leave China on March 24th. We're moving back to America. Back home? In many ways, When I talk with Hadassah about this, she says "I'll miss our home" even though she is beyond super excited to think of moving to the land of her grandparents. She sometimes tells me she has trouble going to sleep at night because she thinks she hears suitcases zipping, and if I tell her that something is very exciting, she'll ask "Are we going to America today?!?" And we've talked about how, after a little while, our home in America will start feeling like home. She repeats that to me randomly throughout these days of selling and packing and preparing to move.
But, this is it. Almost 3 years have passed, the three years we planned on being here. And while staying longer was always an option, we've both felt it was time for us to move. Time to establish a more permanent place to raise our family. Time to be closer to their grandparents. And God, in His gracious, amazing goodness, has provided.
We're moving to Huntsville, AL. 3 hours drive from my parents, 4 hours from his. I even have a sister there in town! And what an amazing place it will be. Everything happened quite quickly, when it happened. Ryan faithfully revamped his resume time and time again and applied to job after job for two months. Despite recruiters calling almost daily from random locations across the US, we stuck to our focus, and turned down any options that weren't in Huntsville. If God decided Huntsville wasn't the place, we had a timeline for exploring other options. But, in His grace, He has given us this location!!
On Wednesday, February 22nd, we met with some friends for our weekly time of sharing and prayer. There was nothing to report on the job hunt. Almost every application had been answered with silence. But, as most nights went, we stayed up late to do some more resumes. Ryan's been burning the candle at both ends in his desire to provide in the next step (he's amazing!). We finally got to bed, only to jump out again as we heard the phone ring at 11 PM. That 14 hour time zone difference means all of our important calls come in the middle of the night... It was someone in Huntsville! A job that matched Ryan perfectly! Could they do a skype interview? "Sure, I'm usually up early. 4 AM my time (2 PM there) would work some day." And we went back to bed, only to have a little trouble sleeping from the excitement. Turns out they wasted no time. Again, it was jumping out of bed at 4 AM when we heard the skype call on the computer. Ryan needs an award for how fast he put on a suit and sat down for an interview with coffee in hand!
They were impressed and immediately scheduled an in person interview for a week later. So we booked flights for him (that happened to be only $700 round trip - amazing price for China to US!) and he left Monday. He interviewed Wednesday morning, and got the job offer on Friday. And oh what a happy dance we did over video call (since he still wasn't home!).
After our date and the kids were in bed, we bought plane tickets and sent my parents info on the house that had stuck out to us in our searches for rentals online. We knew it might be better to look ourselves in person, but with Ryan having to start work 2 days after we get stateside and all of the craziness of jetlag, we just really wanted a place to land right away. This house kept sticking out, matching our requirements and even having extras like the paint colors in our bedroom and the kitchen being exactly what we'd painted our apartment here in China! The first time we'd told my parents we were considering this and a few others, they'd happened to be visiting my sister in Huntsville and had stopped by and looked at the outside. They gave positive reviews, so we said "this is it" and they immediately left (it was morning in America after all!) to try and get it before the 2-3 others that had house showings booked for that day. Have I mentioned how amazing my parents were? Making our dads our Power of Attorney while we've been overseas was also one of the best things we've done. With that document, they were able to get the house reserved for us, and we were able to complete it through an online application at our computer here in China. No problem that it was 2 AM... We were getting a house!
And the location? 14 minutes from work. 12-14 minutes from two churches we're considering. 7 minutes from Walmart. 6 minutes from TWO thrift stores and a really awesome looking park. And a library. A library!! 15 minutes from ALDI and Hobby Lobby. Yes, I've been doing a lot of happy dances!
Leaving friends will be the hardest. Two goodbye parties are scheduled for the 18th. And yet, there is so much to look forward to. Goodbyes are always hard. We've been closer to friends here than we may be for a while. Common goals and a foreign land does that to you. But there are a lot of "hellos" ahead. And I am excited about what God holds in the future!