See, I’ve moved around a bit in my life. But it hasn’t always been that way. I was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan (and, if you’ve been friends with me in recent years, you’ll know that being from Kalamazoo is a big part of how I define myself). I don’t come from a wealthy family or a family that travels, even, really. We had family that was only an hour’s drive away, and we’d only see them twice, maybe three times a year.
But, there has always been something in me that craves to break free and try life outside my comfort zone. From the time I was very small, I always wanted to learn a new language (it started with a calendar I got from a McDonald’s happy meal that had a few Spanish words in it…I was hooked from then on), or see new places. For some time, I insisted I would be an international banker. I didn’t really know what that meant, but my mom was a banker, and I wanted to travel, so I thought I would combine the two. Little did 10 year old Kristy know that one day she actually would marry an international banker and realize her dream of learning new languages and traveling the world.
A brief history of my travels:
I first left the country with my friend Liz, and her family. We went over the Bluewater Bridge to Canada. It was an amazing summer.
I went to Spain (also with Liz) with several members of my high school Spanish class when I was 15 – this was also my first time on a plane. I think I still get just as nervous every time I fly. I don’t remember a lot about the touristy things we did, but I do remember getting the chance to speak Spanish to a local (we asked where the bathroom was!), and that was awesome.
I had the incredible opportunity to travel to London to dance in a parade with 1400 other US cheerleaders on New Year’s Day 1992 (I was 17). Awesome. Again, I don’t remember the touristy bits too clearly, but I do remember a few of us getting on the wrong tube line and having to navigate our way back to the hotel. Best Christmas vacation ever.
I left home to go to college at Albion college which is 40 miles east on I-94 from Kalamazoo. I loved it there. A little too much, it seems. I ended up dropping out after my sophomore year because I couldn’t manage to actually go to class. Oops.
I moved to Chicago (for the first time, briefly in 1996, for about 2 1/2 months) “permanently” in July 1998. I met Steve in June 1999. This is when it starts to get interesting.
We were in Chicago together for two years. I don’t remember a whole lot about the first year, but I’m pretty sure that’s because we were constantly out enjoying ourselves and having way too much fun! Chicago always feels a bit like ‘home’ to the two of us.
We moved to New York City in March 2001. I have left part of my heart in NYC.
My first international move was in December, 2004 – we moved to Dubai, UAE. I am very glad to have had this experience. Mostly because I still have so many friends from there, but also because it was different and it was way outside my comfort zone, at least initially.
In July 2006 we moved down the road to Abu Dhabi (the capital of the UAE). That’s where I had Jestyn. AD will always hold a special place in my heart.
In August 2008 we moved to London. We were there for a year until we moved up north, nearer Steve’s family (we were part of the detritus when the market tanked…no job, no money, no London).
We lived in Tarleton, England for about 18 months. Part of my heart has stayed there as well.
Steve got a job with HSBC and we headed back down to London. We’ve been here a little over 2 1/2 years. We bought a house last year. Nearly one year ago exactly. But now, we are headed back to the good ol’ USofA.
Houston, you’re gonna have a problem (sorry, I had to steal that, Liz). OK, probably not. At least not with us. We’re good people, honest.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, all this travel brings with it certain levels of optimism, cynicism, frustation, elation, fear, excitement and anxiety, among many other wonderful and strange emotions. I need to get those out. And no move thus far has brought more opportunity for real evaluation of my feelings like this repatriation will. I don’t need a massive platform or soap box, but this little corner of the internet should suit me just fine.
If you’re interested, keep reading. I really will try to keep my posts brief (otherwise they just don’t get written).
Thanks for reading so far.