Pursuing Life's Daring Adventure

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Giant Called Change

For those of you who know me, or who have been following my blog for any small stretch of time, you are aware of the unique life circumstances that have come the way of our King family of five. We are now en route to Central Europe to begin our next adventure in life—a three year expat assignment with my husband’s job. All five of us are quite excited about the immediate future—new sites, new foods, new language, and new experiences. We are all looking forward to fresh challenges—superb soccer and schooling for the boys, and the vibrant cultural, artistic, lingual, and architectural interests for me.
I took this photo of a juvenile male Ruby-throated Hummingbird on althea the last day at our house in Cincinnati. (I will miss the hummers, as they are only American jewels.)

Last week, packing week, proved to be a pivotal week for me. One huge thought still looms large in my mind: we, as Americans, have so much stuff. Though I think my personal tastes usually lean in the favor of minimalism, I know I sway even further in that direction now. Why?
· Having to itemize every thing in our house opened my eyes, far. (Think of your own house… lots of stuff, right?)

· One resonant question demanded an answer: What is it that I value most? Or what is it that I really need?

· Why do we naturally have so much stuff?
My quick answer to the last question—it’s the American Way, the American Dream, right? But, to answer the second question, I came to my conclusions, and found creative ways to use the things we do not need to try to help others.

As change has come upon us, many people have asked about the logistics of such an intercontinental move. We had to sort everything into three categories: air shipment (takes two weeks to reach us, very limited space), sea shipment (takes eight weeks to reach us), and storage (tried to pare down to only the things we’ll really want and need when we get back). After working through the house for sorting and packing, working through the details of selling the house and cars, and touching up paint and cleaning the house for sale, I can say that last week was incredibly demanding, and that this week is a welcome respite. Whew!

But when the whirlwind of activity dies down, it’s hard not to realize the Giant of Change bearing down on us. Fear easily slips in, and stirs up doubt. It is so much easier to go though our American Dream ways in Comfort Zone days and accumulate the stuff around us to pad ourselves against the frightening things that may come our way. But the truth is, I think, life is about change, and “safety” is an illusion; we might as well go out and embrace the unknown.
Perhaps in stepping up to bat with the Giant of Change, we can take away some of the power of fear and uncertainty, and begin to live the lives for which we were created.

And so … we are officially on our adventure over the seas to our new life in Prague. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers—I will keep you up to date, and share as much of the adventure as possible here on my blog. And, I’ll let you know how my theory with handling the Giant called Change develops … maybe it will be a great thing!

Enjoy these precious summer days, JK


  1. Very wise, Jennifer. After 12 Navy moves, I concluded if I didn't need something on a regular basis, I didn't need to own it. The only things we stored for our "overseas" move to Hawaii were winter clothes for my husband and I (three boys would outgrow theirs), a washer and dryer, and some living room furniture. We missed none of it.
    And besides, you can always buy something if you really need it! I envy you your life change, and send you with blessings!

  2. Thank you, Michelle!
    We all are looking forward to the new adventure ahead ... sure to be a life-changing time for all of us.
    I received some good news today from an editor at RedRoom.com, that they've posted a quote from my last blog on their blog main page. (!) Wow! Great writerly stuff...
    Hope you have a great summer! JK

  3. Best of luck to you, it will be quite an adventure. The person hit hardest by the change will of course be you, as the boys will be at school all day and your husband at work; my advice is to get into a language class as soon as you can and learn how to communicate! You will earn the respect of the locals and of course benefit right away! I was so grateful I learned just enough Swedish to scream out after 6 hrs of labour, " When is that bloody nurse coming back with my epidural.." It worked!!
    Best of luck, you will have a lot to write about I'm sure!


  4. Caroline, thank you! Great advice, and I love your story. :) I feel very lucky that I've been able to start Czech language lessons before our move, so I already feel as though I'm making progress. Central Europe is sure to wow us all with its beauty and rich culture ... can't wait to soak it up and share it here on the blog. :) JK


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