Forgoing Family Traditions


Our swiftly approaching move to the land Down Under has uprooted the family traditions we’ve started since our first child was born 6 years ago.

Why forgo? Many reasons, but for one, it’s not a family tradition if the whole family isn’t there to enjoy it. This move has meant my husband has had to commute to and from Australia in 2 six week stints. Between the 2 stints, we did what we could to achieve the “annual” tag for the family activity. We sure did go pumpkin picking at this huge farm an hour away from the house like we always did, but we went early in the season (September) on an 80 degree day, and Daddy was gone again before the time was right to carve the pumpkins. So they sat and still do on our front porch uncarved. Daddy missed Halloween trick or treating, so I left the house decorations up until he came home and we are still all eating candy.

Now, celebrating our daughters’ birthdays one week apart around Thanksgiving is the payoff for missing Halloween. Daddy refused to miss these huge milestones, so we are back on track in the best way.
This means for me, Mommy has to make choices about other things we forego due to our belongings currently being sorted, donated, trashed, organized, packed before the movers carry it all away for the slow boat in a couple short weeks. It’s always been important for me to make them a homemade cake or cupcakes for their special days and ya know, that’s the furthest thing from my mind right now. Not to mention I will be selling my KitchenAid standing mixer as quickly as I can–it’s going to cost HOW much in Oz? I will however, substitute that with making fruit kabobs for the school celebrations and ordering a sheet cake from Costco for their joint birthday party (something I said I would always keep separate). I still have to get through Thanksgiving dinner, which now features an already cooked turkey from Whole Foods!!

Next holiday up, Christmas. How do we do this when our ornaments are on the ocean on their way to our new continent? Breathe, I tell myself. No homemade Christmas cutout cookies with buttercream frosting. We will be OK! Tree, scaled down from our typical 9 foot live Douglas fir…. not sure at this moment but am thinking one of our new pines in the back yard may work! At least we have Christmas lights here as they won’t work in Oz! So we will light the heck out of a tree and due to our friends having a wine tasting party, our kids made decorations that we will save and put on the tree and offer up to Gramma to take as keepsakes.

Getting this all out in a blog is already lifting the Mommy guilt of not doing the annual traditions we love so much. I have to tell myself, we will create new ones, this is a blip for now, we can always celebrate fully when we get there in January, wait….Summer? Thinking ahead, depending on the weather at Christmastime, it may be too hot to even think about cranking the stove heat to bake!

Anyway, I am beginning to embrace the sacrifices we had to make to our traditions to take on this fantastic adventure, and realize there are new ones we have yet to create for ourselves. My December and the girls’ November birthdays mean we could actually have POOL PARTIES! Oh yes, I feel much better now.

The Great Migration – Modern Era


I had always imagined I would travel the world but I guess had never imagined living anywhere outside of the United States. I’ve done a fair bit of traveling, although not as much as I’d like to have under my belt. Now, I’m actually moving to Australia, to live for an indefinite amount of time. Huh? Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine trading deer for kangaroos.

Thanks to an amazing work opportunity for my husband, we are packing up two small children, two cats and a dog and leaving our American life behind. Unlike migrations of generations past, ours will be on a huge ship in the sky and take just over a day of travel to get there, not months. We are also making the choice for new personal and work opportunities, not leaving due to famine or religious persecution, at least not in a literal sense.

This is difficult in some obvious respects; we are leaving my family (hubby’s a Brit) and our dear friends behind. We have to shed all of the small luxuries we’ve grown accustomed to like fast internet, nice (and fast) cars, a home on an acre of land, my day job which has always been the higher breadwinner for us, and modern convenience.

Why are we doing this then, leaving what many would call the American Dream? Because, and simply put, there’s a greater opportunity elsewhere and we are a bit disillusioned with the current state of the American Dream. My husband has been trying to grow his research program at his University here in the US but they don’t seem to be interested in supporting his work. Even though he has had funding success-what happens with ever shrinking NIH budgets when he doesn’t get funded? It’s a bit too focused on making money at the moment.

For me, I’ve lived in the pharmaceutical world for over 10 years and it’s dismal. Corporate integrity is on the line as my company pays for past mistakes, the anticipated blockbuster sales are lackluster, and I am in a current position I didn’t strive for and which buries my talents. I also have my genealogy business that deserves attention to see what it truly can become. The time is now for greener pastures.

While not exactly green, we are headed to Melbourne, Australia, which seems to be in the process of a reinvention. Named the most livable city in the world the last several years, we are about to see what all of the fuss is about. I visited in February for less than a week but it was enough to know Australians are friendly and my husband would be supported in his line of work. No longer an island, there was a true team dedicated to propelling science that encourages an active lifestyle and its direct effects on chronic health conditions.

While the transition planning, hubby’s Oz job commute 2 times for several weeks, house move and sell are all big factors and adjustments for us now, we know in our hearts this is the right next step for us and are open to what our Oz future holds.

Stay tuned, there’s always more…