It's been almost two years since I've typed in this space...What has happened in that time? Massive amounts.
Liam is now going on 3 years old. At this time he is having an extended holiday with his family in Manila while we prepare to move to the US, hopefully Portland, Oregon. Portland is my hometown and though most of my family live far and farther from there, it would still be a lot closer to most friends and family than NZ is.
It's a hard choice to make. In many ways we had created a great life here in NZ. We both have good jobs that pay relatively well. We live in a nice house in a great location. We enjoy many aspects of life here. So, why the move? I am the impetus. Many things have come together in my little brain over the past year or so that make it feel imperative to move back. A major aspect of it is career prospects (and career satisfaction).
One issue is the job itself. Though I very much enjoy working with students, 4.5 years doing the same job has taken its toll. Not just the job, but the instability in it. I have had three different colleagues and a long stretch of doing the job totally on my own with no administrative help since my first year in the position. It makes doing a good job difficult. I never intended to be in the same position for this length of time, but there is very little room for progression on a small campus.
The university has also been going through a lot of change, not necessarily bad in the long-term but has been a nightmare in the short term. A lot of good people have either lost their jobs or have left out of fear or frustration. The new hires have often been head-scratchingly bad fits for the positions they were hired to fill and motivation around the university seems to be very low. Unfortunately, I am not immune to this.
But the careers issue is not the only reason I feel the need to repatriate. Family, friends, support and history have become surprisingly important to me since Liam came into my life. My mother and sister both have chronic health problems that have me concerned for their long-term stability. I feel that I should be closer in case the worst comes to pass. I've also realised how much I miss having the opportunity to see them, even if only on an annual basis. In the 4.5 years I've been in NZ I only just this year finally went back for a visit.
Then there is Liam, he has still only met my father from my side of the family. My dad actually came to visit in time for Liam's first birthday! It was great, but I can't accept Liam not having a connection with my mom and sister and niece and nephew. I also realise that I want him to have a greater sense of his history. Not necessarily specifically as an American, but definitely as part of the northwest and Portland. He has no risk of not having that from his mother's family and culture as he has already been to the Philippines four times (and for several months this time) before even reaching his third birthday. But my family is not able to travel here and our finances do not allow for us to make regular big trips to the US to see my widely dispersed fam.
So, a lot of instability for the family while we make the plans and the changes necessary for the move and until we manage to get settled. While this is all in process Liam will live in Manila and hopefully become fluent in Tagalog while getting closer to his family there. With luck, early in the new year we can all be back together in a nice new home in Portland.
That's a little bit of a catch up...