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Our Denver Family’s Move to Saudi Arabia: Going From Good to Great

I’m a Colorado girl through and through.  I’ve lived here since I was a toddler and except for college have spent all of my life living here and I love everything about it.  For the past 7 years, my husband and I have lived in Lakewood, and though we really liked it there, there was something pushing us to go farther and expand our lives.

So we decided to make the big leap and move overseas, with our three kids ages 6, 4, and 21 months.  To top is all off, I’m about to have baby #4 any second now (we left the U.S. as late as we could when I was 36 1/2 weeks pregnant).  Yes, I’m going to give birth in Saudi Arabia!!!  

Now we’re adjusting to our new life in Saudi Arabia…one of the last places on earth I ever thought I’d live.  My husband’s background  in finance brought us to a University called KAUST where we are living in a very international community (over 80 nationalities living here) with some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met.  So while we’ll miss the rivers, lakes, mountains and especially the weather, we’ll be spending the next several years in the Middle East, focusing on our family and traveling and experiencing the world together.  

So, why did we move?

jessicaDeep within in me, there is a desire to make a substantial difference.  A desire to supersede all expectations for me and blow the norm out of the water.  Even more than wanting this sort of change for myself, I want it for my children, for my family. This is the driving force for our move.  Not just to move to a different place.  Really, it’s to move our family from good to great.

Don’t get me wrong, we have an incredible life.  However, behind all of that, there lies unrest.  The unrest that comes from feeling like I can do more.  No.  That I should do more.

At no time have I seen more clearly how quickly time passes than when I look at my children.  How quickly the years have sped by while the days have crept along.  In the end, I often feel like I’m in survival mode.  Surviving the day to day of parenthood and the often repetitive tasks of feeding, clothing and caring for my children.  Whether on the trail or at home, these things can easily consume my life, leaving my days busy but less than full (like I talked about in Busy The One Trend that’s Ruining Everyone).

We decided to change that.  To stop living the life that everyone else was and that we were told was “best” for our family.  To live deliberately.  To take charge.  For us, we decided to make this look like an overseas move.  To stop saying “someday we want to live overseas” and change that to “yes, we’re moving overseas”!

 Why Do We Want to Live Overseas?
When Andrew and I were dating, we spent several months living in Kenya.  To say that this was life-changing would be a serious understatement.  It took us out of our bubble of the US and exposed us to the WORLD.  We learned an incredible amount about who we were and our place in this world.  Since we got to experience that and learn together, that has always been an incredible strength in our relationship.  We knew right away that we desperately wanted to provide that for our children.To venture to the unknown and discover and explore it together.  And while vacations are nice, they often lack the permanent change that we were looking for.  This had to be something BIG!We want to have the common and consistent things in life be each other, our relationships, and our faith.  To be able to travel, experience new and amazing things on a regular basis.  To take the time to slow down and teach our children from all the amazing experiences we are having together.  To fully take advantage of this fleeting moment called childhood.  To make our family strong, interdependent, and best friends.jessicafamilyHow will our move accomplish that?  We’re moving from the busy corporate work world to a culture and place where the demands on us will allow us to put our family first.  Where 8-5 really is the norm, and overtime isn’t just something that everyone does one a regular basis.  Where the expectation to constantly reach out through school, church, and community are not as strong, so we can be a little selfish and look in – look in to what matters most, our family.And though I know I will desperately miss things like Target and Costco, I know that without the constant distraction of consumerism, I will have much more time for US.Where we will not only have large amounts of time to spend together, but also money to facilitate travel (which although we’re not big spenders, with 6 people flying, things add up fast).Realistically, we know that many days we will fail.  Not everything will be spectacular.  Things will be hard and unfamiliar, but we will move on – together.  We will become better.  For ourselves.  For each other.  For our children. 
So while we’ll be saying goodbye to the mountains, rivers, weather, and people that we love, we feel like we’re giving our family MORE.

Follow Jessica’s Saudi Arabia adventures on her blog, Bring the Kids.