After months of paperwork, hours of packing, tearful good-byes and three long flights, we arrived in the Philippines close to midnight. Landing in the dark with my sleeping child next to me I had feelings of trepidation, excitement and amazement that I actually pulled this off. I have wanted to move overseas for long, long time. I was able to travel and live overseas quite a bit growing up thanks to my parents who showed me that picking up and moving to a foreign country was something to embrace. I have had the opportunity to live in a number of different countries and I have incredible memories from each place. After spending the last decade in the States drifting from job to job and not knowing what I really wanted out of life, I knew I needed to venture out of my comfort zone and experience something new again. I needed to shake things up to get me to refocus and find some clarity. And to be honest, I was itching to move abroad for years and knew it would be good for me but for whatver reason I could never quite make the leap. I had job offers from Shanghai, London, Kuala Lumpur, Amman and Sao Paulo (to name a few) but I always had an excuse: contract too long, salary too low, too much crime–reasons I now know to be inconsequential when weighed against the benefits that living in each of those places would bring. Fast forward a few years and the desire to live overseas was burning strong and I found myself unemployed and disillusioned with how my life had turned out. I knew that a trip abroad was necessary and knowing that I was going to adopt from Ethiopia one day, I decided that living in Addis Ababa and volunteering in an orphange was something I had to do. I needed to think of someone other than myself, I needed to do something worthwhile and I desparately wanted to learn more about my daughter’s birth country. I spent a month in Addis and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It was invaluable and life-changing. After completing my adoption and getting a year of parenting under my belt, living abroad came back to my mind. This time around though, with owning a house and having a child, it was exceedingly more difficult. Now I had to factor in renting out my property, finding a school for my daughter and worrying about not only my adjustment but hers. It was very challenging but I made it happen. And to be frank, the need for a nanny and to save money were the things that pushed me to do it. And it’s now real. We are here. I have a nanny (called a yaya here) and for the first time in years I am saving some money. By living overseas I hope to grow as an individual, to find some balance in my life– which is so hard as a single parent in the States –and to create some unique experiences and lifelong memories for my daughter and myself!
So, welcome to Joy and Coconut! Feel free to follow along as I blog about single parenting, food, travel, finding joy in the everyday and our new lives as ex-pats. I’m grateful for the opportunity and excited to see what unfolds!