Buckingham Palace April 2006 and December 2008. Same location...but a very different me!
Today is our last day in Siberia, we are finally moving home to the US. This past week has been an emotional one for me. We are of course thrilled that we are moving back home, but we are also sad to say goodbye to dear friends and the countless memories we have made here over the past 3 years. So allow me for one moment to look back on how this journey began...
I remember getting the call from my husband that we needed to talk about an offer that had been presented to him. We sat down to discuss the new opportunity and at the time I had no idea the adventures that were in store for us. He started off by saying, the offer is in Russia. My first thought was, "Ok, Moscow, that is not too bad. Very western. A big city, lots to do". Then he proceeded to tell me, well it is actually in Siberia. Without hesitation, I looked at him and simply said "Yes, let's go for it". For years my husband put off working internationally so that I could go to school, and now it was my time to repay him by allowing him to expand his career by taking a risk, one that has proven in many ways to be the best decision we could have made.
With my passport empty, we started off on a journey unknown to us. In my mind, I had envisioned all the new experiences we would soon be apart of. I wanted to see the world! We started off in Canada, I remember getting the first stamp on my passport and I was thrilled! Now, 3 years and 25 countries later, I am a new person. I see things in life differently, it truly has changed me forever.
I will never forget when we landed in Moscow. I was so excited to try one of the two Russian phrases that I learned...Where is the bathroom. I ventured off on my own in the airport and asked a girl behind a counter and she looked a bit puzzled. I am quite sure I butchered the phase big time with my Texas accent, but nevertheless, I asked again and it worked! I was on my way to the bathroom, I did it! I asked by myself and got an answer! Bravo, I thought, I can make it here, no problem. When we arrived in our new city Tyumen, I could not help but think that Siberia was a bit different than I had envisioned in my mind. It was better, however it still was not home. I new that we would be here for at least 2 years and it was up to me how I would spend my time here.
In April of that year, we took our first vacation to London and Paris. You can imagine the excitement I had getting to visit two of the most amazing cites of the world. I had always dreamed of seeing the Eiffel tower, and I knew it was a moment I would never forget. At the end of each day we would review through our pictures and reminisce about the memories we had just made. It was here, that I had a feeling come over me I will never forget. I remember seeing a pictures of me in front of the Eiffel tower as well as Buckingham Palace. I was speechless. I did not recognize in any way the girl who was in the photo. It broke my heart. Who was I?
You see, I was never overweight growing up. It was not until college that I let myself go. Once I was married in 1999, the weight gain escalated big time. I was married to the man of my dreams, a real living prince if I ever knew one. He loved me unconditionally and reminded me of this every day. But he loved me so much that he did not see the weight that I gained over those first 6 years of our life together. I was blissfully happy with our marriage, but at the same time, the girl I once knew was gone, forever....or so I thought.
Now, 3 years later, I am slowly seeing the girl I once knew back in high school. I was telling someone the other day that I never knew I would age in reverse, and it is true. I feel as if I have added years on to my life. There are countless blessings that have come as a result of us moving here, but the most rewarding is by far that I have turned my life around. I am no longer the girl who cries when I see photos of myself. I never again want to feel as if life is just passing me by. I want to take hold of every challenge and reach for all that I dream of. I want to shout from the rooftops to everyone who is out there hurting that you CAN change you life, you can make a fresh start TODAY. The best decision I made was to not let fear stand in my way of reaching my dreams. Yes, I was afraid of failure, but just like 3 years ago moving to Siberia, it was a risk I was willing to take, and I am forever thankful that I did.
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." Robert Frost
September 2006 compared to December 2008