In late December, Chris turned to me in the kitchen one afternoon and asked, “Do you want to move to China with the kids for a few months?”
My response was one word spoken without hesitation, thought, or any questions. “Yes.” Ask me to travel WITH my crew and the answer is pretty much always going to be “Yes.”
He began sharing with me an opportunity he had that could potentially involve all of us moving to China and a couple months later here we are – boarding a plane on Monday!
Why are you going to China?
This is the biggest question we are asked, for obvious reasons! Chris currently works in the foster care/adoption realm, as well as, in business consulting. He has an opportunity to do what he does here alongside associates living in China. Basically, he will be doing much of the same things he does here, but in China. Thankfully technology allows him to also work remotely, so he can continue his work here. SnapShops is online, so I can work from anywhere.
What do you plan on doing? Where are you staying?
We will spend most of our time in Beijing. However, we do have some bucket list locations we want to visit. We will be doing as much exploring as possible!
What will we be doing daily? – this is pretty unknown, at least for me and the kids. Once we arrive, we will begin figuring out schedules and plans. There are a lot of work-related opportunities for Chris and a few for me. As far as day to day life – we really have no idea. We know a couple things about the friend’s apartment we will be living in, but we really don’t need details, so we haven’t asked for them. We have done so much traveling (including a couple trips to China before), we feel comfortable just figuring it out once we get there.
How will you travel around? Planes. Trains. Buses. Taxis. Vans. Lots and lots of walking!
How are you preparing the kids?
We are talking a lot about cultural differences and working to prepare them for those. They are used to living on 2 acres in a small town. We are moving them to Beijing! Thankfully, we know enough about the culture we feel like we can help them prepare and we have tools to help them handle culture shock if they face it.
What about kids and eating?
One of the most common questions we have been asked has been related to feeding our kids while in China. Honestly, this is not a big concern for us. Our kids are very willing to try new foods and we know they will like a lot of the food available. We do also want to stretch them and encourage them to try things they would not have the chance to eat at home – eating local food is part of the adventure of travel!
That being said, we are packing a few things for those times they need a taste of home and something familiar. Over the course of this year I am partnering with CLIF Kid to promote their Come Out to Play initiative. I am thrilled that we will be able to take CLIF Kid Zbar Protein and CLIF Kid bars with us on our trip. We anticipate doing lots of hiking and day adventures, which having quick snacks with nutritious and organic ingredients on hand will be so helpful. I might hide all the chocolate chip ones for myself.
We are also packing a few spices. We know over the course of 11 weeks, we all might want something a little familiar for our main meal. My sister introduced us to these Trader Joe spices – they are awesome on rice, noodles, eggs, avocado…basically everything.
My goal is to take 2 medium sized duffle bags and then each person get 1 backpack. In short – we are packing light. Chris and I have been to China a couple times and I do not want to manage a bunch of bags and 5 kids in the airport and train stations. No thank you! We are pretty much just taking summer clothes and a few other items.
Each of us are taking a journal. I’m also tucking in some watercolors and brushes to use in our journals.
Some of our good friends created a “Campbell’s China Challenge” list for us. It is so amazingly thoughtful. On the list is a bunch of random things for us to try to accomplish while on our trip. The kids are supposed to take pictures/videos as they check things off list and text them back to their friends. Such a great idea. Our youngest has already claimed “Teach a Chinese friend to dab with you.”
I’m packing my jump rope and yoga cards. Aside from missing friends and family, I’m not looking forward to getting out of my morning workout routine. I have a plan for working out there, but it won’t be the same as seeing my early morning class friends.
I’m also taking a Norwex cloth to help us fight germs and bacteria. My friend Mandy sent me one – she is an avid traveler and has lived overseas many times, I’m so grateful for her thoughtfulness!
Answers to questions followers on IG asked:
What about your house and pets?
Some of our dearest friends close on their house the day we leave for China. They will be in transition as they build a new house. Thankfully, they agreed to stay in our house and keep watch over things (including the cat and chickens). Our dog will be staying at my in-laws on their farm. It is her favorite place, so we aren’t worried about her.
What kind of camera bag will I take?
I have a backpack that will hold my laptop and camera. I actually use a small insulated lunch bag for my camera. My camera fits snuggly in it and then I put it in the backpack. I will probably take my 50mm lens and 85mm lens.
What do you teach the kids regarding if they get lost in a foreign country?
Each of the kids will wear an ID band (see the picture above between the journals and paint). Inside the ID band is a spot to slide in a paper with all our contact info and the contact info of our local friends). We will go over standard safety procedures, how to recognize ‘safe’ people and at each location we visit we will have a specific plan.
Touristy & non-touristy goals? Experience as much of China, the people and the culture as we can!
Will you be meeting your youngest’s birth family?
We will not – at least as far as I know! I will not share much about this part of her life online, but I will say it is extremely difficult for Chinese adoptees to reconnect with their birth family. Honestly, it feels impossible. We do hope to visit the town she is from and the orphanage she was in – she is looking forward to that happening. If I could sit down for a meal with any person – past or present – it would be her birth mom. I do not dream of meeting celebrities. I do dream of meeting the mom that heard our daughter’s first cries. However, that is not currently an option. We are doing a few proactive things regarding finding as many answers as possible for our daughter. (If you are an adoptive parent whose child is from China and would like more information on that topic, feel free to email me.)
Do you need a visa? Yep…ours arrived this week. Nothing like cutting it close!
Will we be able to explore on our own (without the kids)?
I’m not sure, but I won’t want to. My kids are at such fun ages and it experiences are so much sweeter when they are with us. We will miss our date nights though!
What about the blog?
I do plan on blogging, but it might take a week or so to get things going. SO….next week I have a whole week of giveaways planned gearing up for Mother’s Day. Each day I’ll be giving away a 1 year SnapShop membership along with a fun prize from another company. Monday will be $100 gift card from Mpix…so, you’ll want to check in all next week.
I will be posting to Instagram as we travel. You can follow me on Instagram or see the pictures on the left sidebar.
Okay…I think that about covers it. Now I better start packing those duffle bags!