In October of 2016, your father was blessed with an opportunity to lead some of the most amazing people in an effort to “Make our Clients Successful.” We won’t go into each step of the process, but will focus on the thoughts and discussions we had that led us to accepting the assignment. We have categorized them into four areas; career, family, house, and pets.
Career: Ultimately we can’t say that moving to India was all part of the plan. Although we can say that being invited to the group of candidates for this job was very humbling, and we’re grateful for the opportunity. In the days and weeks after the opportunity presented itself, we talked a lot about what this would mean for your dads career and if it was the right path forward.
This position would be like nothing else I’ve done in my career, and I was excited for the challenge. A lot of people asked me about what I would do when we I got back from this assignment, and honestly, that was not even on my mind. While it’s important to have a plan and a general idea of where you want to go, it’s equally as important to focus on the present. Always remember that in life, nothing is guaranteed, even tomorrow, and life can throw you lots of surprises. It’s what you choose to do with those surprises that determines your future. Always remember that hard work and a positive attitude will take you anywhere you want to go – even to India…
Family: At the time of this decision you three were not quite 1, 3, & not quite 6. We felt these ages were ideal for being able to go with the flow and embrace the transition to another culture. We can honestly say that if this opportunity would have happened 5 or even 10 years down the road, we likely would have made a different decision. Timing is everything.
One clear downside to accepting this assignment was that your mom would have to leave a job that she loved, and has put a tremendous amounts of blood, sweat, and tears into over the past 11 years. I can’t say enough about the sacrifice she made and how much she is an amazing women, wife, and mom. We would be nothing without her. XOXO
Johnathon, you were half way through Kindergarten and having a great time making new friends and adjusting to school life. 2016-2017 was your first year in a new school with all new friends, and you absolutely excelled. You come from a long line of talkers, which helps. 😎 Because of this, we didn’t have any concerns about your ability to embrace this adventure. Honestly, we were excited because we thought that you would likely remember much of our experiences and make some awesome international friends in the process.
Christopher, buddy, you were attending Shawnee Mission Health Early Learning Center (SMH ELC) and had no problem making friends either. Again, a talker 😎. If we decided to move, you would have to be enrolled in Pre-school, which was currently part of the SMH ELC curriculum, not a separate entity. We discovered the American School of Bombay (ASB) had a PreK program, so schooling was no longer a concern for us. We were even more excited you and Johnathon would go to the same school each day. You were always a ‘go with the flow’ type of personality and when we first told you we were moving to India, your response was “let’s go right now!” You’re our wild man and social butterfly, and we love you for it.
Madelyn, you were only 10 months old when we made this decision. Moving to India would mean you would no longer attend a childcare center during the days and instead stay home with mom. We hope to look back on this post and see that the time you got to spend together in India helped establish a close relationship between you and your mom…maybe with some ups and downs because hey, no ones perfect. 😘 We did worry about you getting adequate interaction with other kids, however after talking with other parents from the American School of Bombay (ASB) we learned there were many kids in the Powai area that were your age.
Speaking of ASB, schooling was another big factor we looked into before committing to this assignment. It’s a big topic so we’ll cover this in a separate post.
We can’t close this section without mentioning that not only would you be impacted by this move, but our extended families would be greatly impacted as well. Although the move challenged much of what is ‘normal’ in our families (lots of visits, easily being able to get in a car and drive to their houses), everyone has been amazing, supportive and understanding. Their support, and discussions of planned trips to visit, only emphasized that we are truly blessed. (It’s on the internet now, no backing out of a visit. 😜).
House: The family was clearly the hardest and most important part of the decision, however we also had to think about our house, pets, and other possessions.
We worked very hard to fulfill one our dream to build our own home, and in the summer of 2014 construction completed and we moved in. With this assignment starting exactly 3 years after construction completion we knew that it would not be in our best interest to sell the house. Plus, selling the house was not our preferred options since this was not a permanent relocation. Fortunately, our great friends Brandon, Angie, Beckett, and Avery were looking to sell there house, and agreed to housesit while we were gone. It just worked out perfectly. Kids, also remember, opportunities in life are a lot about timing.
I’m sure you don’t remember, but in 2013-2014 we lived in Uncle Steve’s basement prior to moving into our new house. It blows my mind now, but Johnathon, you were 2 and Christopher, you were born while we lived with Steve. He helped us a ton by allowing us to live with him, we love that guy.
We wanted to be able to do for the McAuley’s what Uncle Steve did for us – pay it forward if you will. Angie and Brandon sold their house so they could live in ours while we were in India and would purchase their next house around the end of our assignment. Their house sold in less than a week and everything fell into place – again, timing.
Pets: The pets were another important consideration. Other expats in Mumbai have brought their pets with them, but we kept hearing life for dogs in India was not a good life. During trips to India before the move, We had seen dogs on leashes being walked, but no real open space to run existed. (This thought process reminded me that I bought Oliver on my first trip to Mumbai, in 2013, and then texted your mother as I boarded the plane back. Not my finest moment.😎) After talking with others, the paperwork and cost to bring the dogs with were extensive, and the safety of Oliver and Gus could not be guaranteed while on the plane.
In the end, we would have loved to take Oliver and Gus with us to Mumbai and keep the family together, but they wouldn’t have been happy cooped up in an apartment with no room to run off leash. So, it worked out perfectly that Oliver was graciously pulled from us by Emily and Garret to live the next 3 years on their 40 acre ranch with Trip, Trux, and Jake. Although we were not thrilled about asking Emily and Garret to take on another dog with all the horses, dogs, chickens, turtles (I’m sure there were turtles), etc… but they wouldn’t let us consider taking him anywhere else. They are amazing people and we are very grateful.
Gus on the other hand has for some time been a little cautious of you three with the spastic nature (read ‘boys’), therefore Nana & Papa offered to watch our Grumpy Old Man. He’s been with them for 4 months so far and I think Papa and Gus are getting along better than anyone expected. Thank you all!
I think this post is long enough, so I’ll close with saying that this adventure would not be possible without a dozens of people helping make sure we could seize the day. We thank everyone, and we couldn’t have done it without each and every one of you.
Love, Mom & Dad