I leave Cambodia for Australia tomorrow morning – on January 12th, one month short of 11 years since I first moved to China.
My whole adult life, basically. The whole span of time lived outside my parents’ house. My entire career. All the things I did on my own, as an independent adult, I did in those 11 years.
My first Christmas away from family.
My first job.
My first apartment.
My first bill payment.
My first phone plan.
My first visits to Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.
My first real visits to Thailand and Singapore.
My first filled-up passport.
I turned 25. I turned 30.
I made friends from every continent but Antarctica.
I helepd run more than 30 youth camps and conferences.
I ran seminars on TCKs in three cities.
I ran seminars on leading worship in three countries.
I produced a(n admittedly amateur) CD.
I wrote a book.
I could go on. I have crammed a lot into the past 11 years!
I think the hardest part about leaving this life and moving to Australia is knowing that on the surface, I’ll look no different to anyone else. The experiences that have marked me so deeply won’t be obvious to others. Maybe a lilt in my accent, maybe some odd jewellery, maybe a blank expression when I miss a cultural reference, or a faraway look when I’m dreaming of life somewhere else. But for the most part, I’ll appear to be an ordinary local.
I have complete and utter peace about my decision to move to Australia, to attend SMBC, to do what I’m doing. It is the right thing at the right time and I have no concerns about that. I have felt a lot of closure about my life in Asia and am very thankful for that. It comes at a time when many of my friends are moving on in their own lives, too, which helps. All the same, it is the end of an important stage of my life.
I’m so thankful to have had these four months in Cambodia, a buffer between leaving China and arriving in Australia. I’ve had time to get used to not being in China, not speaking Chinese, not being around my China friends – while still being in Asia, still being in a bilingual environment, still being around expat friends. Now I feel ready to invest in new relationships, to be part of a new community in a new place.
I never thought I’d say this, but I’m ready to move to Australia. To live there. Maybe not permanently, but at least for the next three years.
I don’t feel sad, I don’t feel excited, I feel – at peace. This season is over and the next is about to begin. I’m curious to see what happens next…