Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Goodbye Ireland

Too soon I find myself rushing around the room, measuring 3-ounce bottles, shoving socks in the black holes of our many suitcases, and praying for a miracle at the weighing station tomorrow. One more round at the airport and we are on our way east from Ireland to our final destination… Budapest.

But first… a quick wrap-up of our week in Dublin…

It all started with a seven-hour, overnight flight from New York to Dublin. We were able to grab a few hours of sleep with children piled on our laps while the car seats we lugged through two large airports sat empty beside us. We stumbled half-awake into our cab, somehow managed to juggle our mounds of luggage up to our second-floor hotel room, and each fell into the nearest bed for the longest, most beautiful naps of our lives…

Post jet-lag fog, here were a few of the highlights…

Our favorite place was a small pub called The Portobello. With a meal deal including a large dinner and a pint of Guinness for 10 Euro, we couldn’t resist. Joel and I enjoyed the best beer we ever tasted, Finn was psyched about his chicken nuggets (which he told everyone about), and Aiden shoved down his food as fast as possible so he could hang on the small brass pole beside our table, tipping his conductor hat to the passersby as though they were seeing the same thing he was (The Polar Express, of course).

We tried our best to control them, but besides sliding down poles, waters were spilled, tables climbed on, and of course noise sufficiently increased. Still, as we left our second visit, a sweet lady at the next table (who I thought was annoyed by the chaos) took a moment to talk with our children and tell us how good our boys were.

After wiping the shock off my face I started to think about all I heard of the Irish and their love for children. And though it took four days to find a high-chair or straw here, the kids were so warmly embraced that I think my definition of “kid-friendly” is forever changed.

After a day of sight-seeing in Dublin, we joined a bus trip to the Wicklow Mountains. Aiden explored castle ruins where he swiped the keys from the castle man’s pocket and saved the day (in his mind, of course), Finn chased after chickens and bunnies with a running commentary to anyone who would listen (English-speaking or not), I enjoyed the gorgeous views and Joel the “historical stuff” at Glendalough and New Grange.

Between sight-seeing and bus trips we made sure to appease our train-loving son with a ride on the rails. We rode to a small (but crowded) fishing village where the boys first felt at home in Europe… in nothing but their undies (and even less for Finn) running freely through the water.

At the end of the day we returned to our favorite restaurant in Dublin where Aiden proclaimed, “I’m glad we’re here.” To which I asked, “Where Aiden? In the restaurant or in Ireland?”

He didn’t even hesitate. “In Ireland.”

And suddenly it was all worth it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

How it all began...

photo: xlibber
Our adventure took off on a cold February morning as we sipped hot, airline coffee and pored through interview notes, headed to Boston on a small passenger plane.  Nervous and excited, we anticipated days of grueling interviews and a literal world of international schools at our fingertips. 

As the short trip neared its end we pulled a nearly blank sheet from our bags.  On it we were to list our goals and hopes for our school of choice.  Line by line we painted a picture of the perfect school, perfect community, perfect jobs.

We started thinking in ideals and were already politely declining offers in our heads as we stepped into the crowded hotel.

Three days, seven interviews, and a few rejections of our own later we sat in our hotel room with two offers and one giant question mark.  We needed to make some decisions.

Pulling out the list so optimistically created just a few days earlier we felt the weight of disappointment growing with each line.  The existing offers, while fitting a few of our goals and values, required too many compromises for our young family.

Which left us with the giant question mark.  With the most intensive interview process thus far this school held a position for Joel only.

From the very beginning we were told a single teacher with three dependents held little to no chance of securing a job in an international school.  Though I stayed at home since the birth of my first son, this was a dream of ours, and I felt okay going back to work.

But with one final interview left and some cautious optimism on Joel's part, I let myself feel just a little excited.  I knew no matter what it would be a difficult transition for our family, but with mom still at home perhaps it would prove just a little smoother.

So with that same cautious optimism we checked through the list.  In a way it was too good to be true. It hit all of our major values and many of our minor ones.  It matched goals we added on a whim with little hope of actually attaining.  It was, in fact, above all we could ask or imagine.

And the next day after a nerve-racking, stomach-turning wait (on my part) Joel emerged from his interview, job offer in hand.

We were given five days to accept, and though giddy from the offer, we took every minute of it, making sure this was, in fact, the best decision for our family.

With absolute confidence, on a Thursday morning, we signed and sent a two-year contract that would lead us on a journey to Budapest, Hungary.  

And though it seemed an eternity six months ago, we are now counting down to our departure in days.

We plan to keep you updated through this blog.  Though I certainly cannot promise a post every day, we will try to keep up with the major events as well as some day-to-day aspects of our life overseas.

This is truly a bittersweet time for us as we say good-bye to the places and particularly the people we love so much.

But we are so excited to begin this new journey and realize this is not truly good-bye, just a different kind of beginning that we hope, in the end, will bring us even closer to the ones we love.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Blog Returns

In anticipation for our future adventure, the Scanga blog returns!

Check out the new subscribe by email feature on the right.