The Czech and I have been married about three and a half months. Within that time, we have lived in quite the hodgepodge of places. We started in rent-a-jail in Ohio, moved to a boat in Florida, and are now dwelling in the German countryside. For an unemployed, broke couple, we sure seem to get around.
With all of this globe trotting, we have been meeting a lot of people and coming in contact with quite the array of families. It's been interesting to me to see where people end up and how they got there. All of this has got me thinking, what determines where to raise your family?
When the Czech and I were considering marriage, we played this game on our eventful road trip down to North Carolina. We called it"What If?" Basically, each of us would take turns asking a question starting with the phrase, "What if we got married, and..." followed by whatever thought we had. Sometimes the questions were serious, dealing with financial issues, questions about fertility and numbers of children we wanted, etc. Sometimes they were silly, like, "What if we got married and went to the zoo, what animals would we see?"
It was a long, dark road between Raleigh and Charlotte, okay?
Anyway, about eighty percent of our questions dealt with where we were going to live. What if we moved to Tokyo, to France, the Middle East? We took each scenario in hand and weighed it out. By the end, all we knew is that we wanted to get married and that we probably wouldn't be living Stateside.
For some reason, this works for us, living abroad. We both feel so at home in our new German environment that we're absolutely dreading our termination date. An overseas location just feels like it for us.
I've spoken with friends who aren't as comfortable with this idea. Some who have lived abroad, and those who have chosen to remain Stateside. As I watch families, especially while abiding in Europe, I find how vital it is for the parents to be a united front in determining what is best for them and their children. For some people, this means moving to Texas, for others it means going to Guam. I firmly believe it is a matter of serious prayer and teamwork.
As the Czech and I played, "What If?" we always took into consideration the Church. Would there be a ward in that area? Is there a temple within a few hours? This came to be useful when deciding to move to Germany. Both of us felt more at ease when we realized our new home was fairly equidistant from two temples. This gave us confidence and peace of mind.
I grew up in the Detroit area, where I was the only member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in my school. Elementary, junior high, and high school. The youth group in my ward was not huge, but big enough. I was typically the only girl my age, but found strong friends in my stake who have stood by me through the years. In fact, that's how the Nurse and I know each other. Stake dances and Girls' Camp. Being the only member in school was rough, but for me, no more challenging than adolescence usually is. The challenges I experienced were unique to me and the development I needed to undergo.
When I went to BYU, I really had to learn how to be surrounded by so many members of the Church. It's not that my decisions were any different, but I was not used to the culture. See, for me and my brother, it was the best thing for my parents to leave all they knew and held dear to move to Michigan to raise us. Being a part of the LDS culture is still hard on me most days, but I am always grateful that when I move, there is always a ward family waiting on the other side.
The Czech and I still don't know where "home" will be for us, but are enjoying the continuous game of "What If?" Nowadays it has morphed into, "What if we get a job...?" We like to dream big. What if we got a job in New York, what would we do? What if we moved to Hong Kong? We still have to factor in two respective graduate programs and starting a family somewhere down the road. (Long down, don't get your hopes up people!) The game is more challenging to work through now that we are married in some respects. We have different responsibilities and obligations. Still, the core principles guide us through. Will we be there together? Is the Church present there? How close is a temple?
So now a question for you, how did you decide on where "home" would be?