Since we moved here,
I have felt that life is filled with mystery doors

Not until the time is right
do you get to see what's on the other side of the door

For a few months now,
we have be able to look through the keyhole of the door in front of us

It reveals a move back to the US

We always knew that door was there,
we just didn't know what was behind it

This is the time of year when expat friends tell you what's behind their doors too
- a move to Singapore, Norway, and Kazakhstan -

Like seeds in the wind,
the expat community here will disperse to faraway lands in a few months
never to be exactly the same again

If you ever meet lifetime expat families,
you will never meet a more interesting group of people

They have stories that are stranger than fiction
and have lived in countries you wouldn't dare to even visit

They move their families internationally to countries that don't speak English
with only three week's notice
(that challenge sounds insurmountable to me)

Lifetime expats are courageous, resourceful,
and have learned to go with the flow

These have been fantastic traits to observe and try to emulate

Not just international headlines a world away,
I now have friends who have personally been touched by
Ted Bundy kidnappings at her school
9/11 in New York
7/7 bombings in London
Mumbai bombings
tsunami in Japan
recent Newtown tragedy

On the brighter side,
I have a friend who was in a James Bond film
and another friend whose dad was the voice for 
characters on The Flintstones

I list these as a reminder to myself of the incredible stories I have heard
and amazing people I have met along my journey here

It makes the world feel smaller and more tangible
Fewer than 7 degrees of separation
with such a diverse group of people here

I feel like I was on my trajectory in the US,
bounced into people and experiences here to grow exponentially,
and now flinging back to the US as a modified person

Along the way I have collected new lifelong best friends,
and we have raised our children in an incredible country
- safe, beautiful, culturally dense -

With a new cat and puppy in tow,
our family has expanded since we left the US

Returning without car seats
signals our family has aged

Shipping less home
(fewer toys/kids stuff)
we return a bit lighter

We are sad to leave,
but happy to go

We have a lot to look forward to
behind the door that stands before us

- all photos by me -