The Variables List

When it comes to transitioning to another country, life begins to feel like trying to solve an equation with multiple unknown variables. Like any good marriage, we bring different skills to the table. Amber knows how to math while Matthew finds algebra abhorrent. Despite the disparity in our mathematical prowess, there has been a lot of talk on how to solve our current life equation.

Often we consider pros and cons. God has given us minds and He does expect us to use it. So we make our lists and we give God wide margins to write in. This has often been our approach and then along came Thailand, parenting, marriage, moving, schooling, and a myriad of other activities. That’s a lot of variables and each of those moving parts impacts the others. For example:

In August our housing situation concludes. So whether we have all we need to go to Thailand or not, we will be on the move. If we’re lacking visas in August, these are some of the variables:

  • we could find a place to couch surf in BC, but if we are waiting on visas, we cannot be sure how long that will take and who has space for a family of four?
  • we could go to Ontario where Matthew’s family has room but then we are spending money to fly the wrong direction and where do we leave the stuff we plan on taking to Thailand?
  • Daxon is registered for kindergarten in Abbotsford, so do we try to stay near for that? If we went to Ontario, could Daxon – as a British Columbian – attend school there? More than that, would it be fair to take a spot from a local child in any kindergarten knowing that we would be pulling out sometime during the school year? Conversely, is it right to deny Daxon a kindergarten experience simply because we are moving?
  • we have applied for our Thai visas in Vancouver so being near the consulate is advantageous, however being in Ontario would allow us to see friends and family we do not see as often
  • we have made a commitment to tackle life in an integrated fashion alongside our friends Megan and Zach Wylie. Right now we are all on the road and we don’t like being apart. How do we all navigate couch surfing together?

Another example of variables is landing in Bangkok – in a city of 14 million, how do you pick where to call home?

  • do we try to live in one house with the Wylies? Are there even houses in a metropolis like Bangkok to make that an option?
  • could we find apartments in the same building?
  • what can we afford?
  • what places us in the most contact with local Thais?
  • does it give us access to transit – both national and local?
  • can the kids get to school?
  • can the adults get to language school?
  • this doesn’t even begin to cover things like what kind of space we want to live in

What about schooling for the kids?

  • do we send them to a Thai school for the first few years to learn culture and language?
  • do we home school?
  • do we send them to a private school?
  • what are the comparative qualities of education and what other options do those schools connect them to?
  • Thai schools incorporate Buddhist teachings
  • culturally, Canadian childhood staples, such as sleepovers, are not common in Thailand. Could our choice of schools deny our kids part of our childhood experience and is that difference a negative or simply a difference?
  • what can we afford?

These are the life equations that have been on our minds, in our hearts, and have formed the backbone of conversations and prayer.

That said, we are so happy to say that God has been great in helping us solve some of these variables. Daxon has been accepted to a private international school in the Sathorn area of Bangkok. The whole thing is actually quite miraculous and God has provided in some neat ways. It solves the schooling variable and the where do we live variable (as we will live within walking distance of the kids’ school).

Moving to a new place is not linear, but little by little we are moving variables from the unknown side of the equation to the known.

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