Choices About Life Abroad

Nine years ago this photo was taken, I was five months pregnant with my first child. I found out I was pregnant barely a year after my husband and I had moved abroad to Panama. At first we struggled about whether we should stay in Panama or just move back to California to have the baby and start our family. Moving back home seemed like the reasonable thing to do, the obvious thing to do. But one night after work we took a walk around our neighborhood in Casco Viejo, a place we’d grown to really love. It was balmy and breezy on the water, music poured from balconies as people sat on their sidewalk stoops. Our little old colonial neighborhood was aglow with light and such a good energy. We agreed that we didn’t want to leave. We both knew that if we returned and delayed our adventures and lofty goals, then it would be hard to try to move abroad again after the baby was born. So we made the decision to stay and soon enough Joaquin was born in Panama. Ten years after moving away, we are still living abroad (now in Guatemala where our second child was born), as committed as ever to this crooked, adventurous path. It definitely hasn’t always been easy, much of the time it’s unsure and bumpy, but it’s absolutely been worth it. In times like these, this photo reminds me of so many happy, challenging days and gives me courage for the unknown ahead. It motivates me to stick with listening to my instincts, to envision the future I want to live, to practice patience, and to acknowledge all the good that comes with trusting in what we can’t yet see.