The theme for this post is thankfulness. I feel incredibly thankful for so many things right now, and I want to get this feeling down on paper (well, recorded at least).

First of all, a general list of what I’m thankful for at this current moment:

  1. My lovely and fun little family (Donnie and Paul).
  2. My extraordinary extended family and friends all over the world.
  3. My job-it’s challenging, but I love it.
  4. My daily life-running in the morning, scooting to work, the students I work with, the people I interact with daily, and coming home to my clean apartment.
  5. Travel-I love exploring and I am so grateful for a life that allows me to do so.

The list could go on and on, but I think this is top 5 right now. I’m past the November blues of missing home and everything holiday-ish, and I’m 10 days from heading back to Texas for Christmas. In fact, Thanksgiving was last week, and it was actually cold! Like snuggle up in a cozy sweater and listen to Christmas music-cold. We had a low key gathering of just us, the Varvels, and Callie to celebrate. It was a delightful evening feasting on what is probably our best Thanksgiving dinner since we’ve lived in China. It was good company as well, and I went to sleep late in the evening with a very full belly just like everyone should on Thanksgiving.

But really the main thing that I am thankful for is exciting news! This month we were offered a transfer to Brindisi, Italy. Donnie was offered the Directorship at the QSI school there, and I was offered a secondary math/science position. The school is much, much smaller than our current one here in Shenzhen, but it’s an excellent opportunity. We were taken by surprised when the regional supervisor called Donnie for a meeting to discuss the opportunity, and even more surprised when the offer was Italy. We have always dreamed of living in Europe, and it seems that our dreams are coming true.

I am still processing the news of our move, and I have ups and downs when I spend time thinking about it. We did the exact same thing we did the last time we knew we were moving countries, and we searched apartments. Luckily, Donnie gets to take a trip there in the spring, so hopefully that will take some of the guess work out of it. It’s so thrilling to imagine a life living in Southern Italy. It’s a beautiful area, and the travel opportunities are amazing. We’ll also be closer to friends who have moved there, like the Welshes, Sanders’ and many others. I feel very lucky, not everybody gets this post and I know there were lots of other eligible candidates.

My heart hurts a little bit for Paul. He is older now and is more conscious of how this move will affect him. He’s excited for living in Europe, but he’s also apprehensive, just like me. Making new friends, leaving Amy and starting over aren’t easy things to do, but I know we’ll be ok in the long run.

It’s funny, I remember the feeling from years ago when we found out we were moving to Shenzhen. I couldn’t wait to sell everything and start over.(  I’m not at that point yet. I’m sure I’ll get there. Right now, I’m still caught up in the day to day events and short term planning. We’ve set up a budget to start saving for a car, but we go back and forth over whether to ship our belongings or purge and start over. We still need more time to decide.

As you can see, my feelings right now are a little jumbled. But it comes down to one underlying theme for me, and that is thankful. I am stunned and overwhelmed and excited and nervous and scared and thrilled, but under it all, I really am so appreciative for this opportunity and adventure ahead.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that your heart is full as well.


Much love to all, j

Here are some pics of the city and school we’re moving to:


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