Monday, March 31, 2014

Leaving it all Behind

Two kids, two cats, one dog,  two adults, and one mini-van. For better or for worse, my husband Jorge and I apparently lost our minds at the same time, decided to sell everything we owned in Wisconsin, and donated whatever was left. We packed up our traveling circus family and moved 1,500 miles away to live out God's plan for us - which we're still trying to figure out.

If you would have told me three years ago that we'd be moving back to a place I was miserable living in the first time around, I'd have laughed in your face. I would have said "I'm NEVER moving back to Miami." And you'd be the one laughing today, because here we are again. 

We are literally in the same place. We're in the same city, same climate, the same apartment we started our lives together in ten years ago. All 400 glorious square feet of personal living space for 4 people, two cats, and one dog. I'm not kidding. Well, there is a house attached to our apartment where Jorge's grandma and mom live. We use the kitchen there and eat dinner there. 

Oh, this? This is me trying to work with the Frozen soundtrack playing 5 ft away from me at full blast. I grabbed my daughter's froggie headphones because my good ones are still packed away in one of our 100 Priority shipping boxes that I didn't use for personal belongings. Those are for mail only, you know.

After a series of shitty events unfolded over the last couple of years, my husband, Jorge, and I got to thinking. What if there was more to life than a big house with a big yard, and our 9-5 jobs? What if all this "stuff" we were struggling to maintain wasn't even what we were supposed to be striving for? What if we were meant to do more? Pursue more? Where would that bring us? What would our lives look like in 10 years? More importantly, where does God want us? (I know what you're thinking. God doesn't want me to say "shitty"... I'm working on it, but I also know God loves me anyway.)

After stripping off our winter gear - heavy coats, mittens, and hats and packing in our pets and sleepy kiddos, we started our journey on a Friday evening and arrived 26 hours later in sunny Miami. Well, it was dark when we arrived at 1 am on Sunday morning, but you get the idea. 

Here are some photos of our drive:
Who doesn't love Chicago traffic at midnight!? They were doing some construction. Everything was backed up.
Cincy by moonlight
Beautiful Tennessee
So happy to be in Florida - still had about 7 hours to Miami from the GA-FL state line. 
The drive itself was long, tiring, mentally and physically draining. I have self-diagnosed myself with a mild case of claustrophobia and if I would have been in that van an hour longer, it might have received a DIY sunroof. 

We packed most of our stuff that we were able to take in a moving container that wouldn't arrive for a week, so, whatever a family of 4 (plus three pets) needed for a whole week had to be packed in our minivan next to us. Looking back, I see why some people said we were crazy. 

We tried to get the girls as excited as possible about the move by checking out the sights and events happening the week we arrived. The Youth Fair was going on, so we took the kids. They really liked it and nobody barfed, so I'm calling it a success.

Our 10-month-old Lab mix, Chelsea, has had a hard time adapting to the new location and has regressed a bit in her obedience training. It's been stressful, frustrating, and a bit disheartening, but we're working on re-training, walking, and I know we'll be back on track soon. 

So far, the beach has been our no-fail solution to a cheap, relaxing day out. (Except when the kids are throwing sand at each other or strangers, or screaming because they have sand in their swimming suit, or one of them wants the exact same shovel the other one is using.) 

We've been to the beach 3 or 4 times since we arrived just two weeks ago. I was born and lived in Orange County, California, and while I love west coast living more than anything, I will be the first to admit Florida beaches are 100% better! The water is warmer, clearer, and the beaches are so much cleaner than any in the OC. I haven't seen one dirty diaper floating near the shore yet!

Miss L is not a huge fan of sand in her swimsuit, thus, was not excited about our second trip to the beach.
Can't you tell? 
Miss M is all about the beach, just like her mom and dad.

Although I work from home (and my job, therefore, is portable), I'm in the process of transitioning my business from a client-based format to a more flexible, ready-to-use format, so money is non-existent tight right now. We have some saved for essentials and we purchased bunk beds for the girls when we got here. We'll be okay, it's just been a stressful change.

That said, Jorge came here without a secured position. He's had several interviews with the same potential employer (he has a final one today!), but no back up plan. No Plan B. 

Does that freak us out a little? Hell yes. Do I regret our decision? Not one bit. Trust me, I wanted to regret it and admit that this was a huge mistake. I don't like being tied to a budget. I don't like living on top of each other. I wanted to lock myself in a closet yesterday and just scream for 10 minutes. But, I can't even convince myself this wasn't the right thing to do, because in my heart I know it was. 

For some reason, God pulled us here, and I'm actually pretty psyched to see what He does in our lives. 

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 NKJV

Have you ever done something that you knew was right but scared you to death? Let me know in the comments below.