And so our journey begins….

And so our adventure begins….Our house is packed up.

Kitchen Packing

It’s amazing how much stuff one accumulates over the years.  When I saw all the boxes, I was tempted to tell the movers to just take all that junk away and throw it out. 

furniture pack

The thought of having to go through all those boxes once we return makes me want to cry. 

And we’re off to the airport.

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As an aside, I’ve been reading this book. 

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I started reading it last summer when I was on a mission trip to Guatemala.  I got half way through it and then life got in the way.  I picked it up about two weeks ago and it has been so apropos for my experiences lately.  Packing up, moving all our stuff into storage and moving into my mom’s tiny, one-bedroom condo hasn’t exactly been the most pleasurable experience. There have been plenty of opportunities to focus on the negative.  But, this book has really held me accountable to stop complaining and choose gratefulness in all circumstances.  Benjy says I’ve turned back into “1992 Tala.”  I’m afraid to ask what exactly he means by that, but I imagine it has something to do with all those late night feedings, billable hours, demanding clients, over-bearing bosses, the kids’ crazy activity schedules, homeschooling, volunteer commitments, terrible Jacksonville drivers, unending road construction and life’s other irritations that has contributed to a spirit of grumpiness accumulating in my soul over the past 21 years or so.  This book has given me a serious attitude adjustment (I assume back to the more positive attitude that I apparently had sometime in 1992) and I highly recommend it if you’ve gotten to a place where you feel like life is just something to be endured.

Anyway, back to our adventure which is what I suspect you’re more interested in reading about. 

Many have asked me if I’m nervous about moving to such a foreign place. When Benjy and I first starting talking about moving overseas, I had a panic attack just talking to him about the possibility of moving to Hong Kong.  What if we got lost?  How would we ever find our way back home if we couldn’t even read the street signs with all the Chinese characters?  I know now that, being a former British colony, most all of Hong Kong’s street signs are in both Chinese and English.  But at the time, I didn’t.  As I was reading my Bible one morning, the Lord gave me this verse: “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9.  And this has been my life verse over the last few months as I’ve been peppered with it from random places every few weeks at just the right moments when my anxiety began bubbling to the surface.  Strangely, I’m not at all troubled about our move anymore.  All the questions of where will we live? How will we adjust? What will we do?  Those questions are all still before us, but I’m not worried because He’s given me His peace.   

We left Jacksonville on a Monday, December 1, 2013.  The first leg of our trip ended in Chicago, where we had an overnight layover.  We took a train into the city to have “our last American meal” at Gibson’s Steakhouse.  It was a great meal, but we were all astounded by the size of the banana cream cake we had for dessert. 

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The picture doesn’t do it justice, but that’s just one slice of cake.  We all had huge portions with enough left over to feed at least 3 people. 

The next day we were off on the second leg of our journey.

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The kids enjoyed the business class accommodations (thanks Fedex!).

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 We finally arrived in Hong Kong on a Wednesday night, December 2, 2013.  Benjy had arranged ahead of time for us to stay at the Hyatt Regency in Sha Tin.  After much negotiation and wrangling, we were able to get a very nice 2 bedroom suite.  This is the view from our room. 

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You can see the MTR station (the subway) at the bottom left of this picture, which makes it very convenient for us to get around the city.

Being heavily jet-lagged, we all woke up the next morning at 4:00 a.m. and had to wait until 6:30 a.m. before we could finally get breakfast.  We spent our first day in Hong Kong doing some sightseeing in Stanley. 

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Then we took the Star Ferry and headed back to our hotel.  By about 6:30 p.m., all of us fell into bed exhausted.