So, we are moving to Laos.
As you do, I hear you say.
It came a bit out of the blue to me too. I mean, we applied for the job through az's work but we didn't think we would actually get it. But sometimes life takes you on unexpected paths, if you willing to look in that direction.
The funny thing is that this, like other times we have moved, to Chile and Vietnam, has always felt a bit unpredicted. I mean, while I may have harboured thoughts in my life of visiting these countries, I never thought about actually living in them. Which is a very different state of affairs of course.
In the case of Chile, I had read about the country and its history largely through Isabel Allende's novels in my teenage and early adult years. I adored them (she remains a favourite author of mine) but I never imagined I would live in the locale of her epic stories.
So too, I always intended to visit Vietnam as a tourist but when the opportunity came during a holiday in Cambodia in 2003, lo and behold, my passport was stolen while I was tooting around Phnom Penh on the back of a moped. I ended up spending an extra two weeks in Cambodia instead of traipsing through Vietnam.
In the case of Laos, I have at least visited. On a lovely, unplanned, long weekend with dear friends via a cheap airfare from Hanoi. We visited the beautiful, timeless town of Luang Prabang. In fact, we loved it so much, az and I planned our wedding there but various circumstances intervened and we had to change plans. Check out that story for some more gorgeous shots of Luang Prabang including this one below...
My point is that for all the unexpectedness and unknown of casting the die and ending up in a foreign land, I have been the better for it. No preconceived ideas, no associations, no expectations. Expectations can often be the ruin of a great experience.
And so, I am heading back to Laos, this time to the capital of Vientiane, with nary an expectation - or idea, really - of what to expect. And this time it's not for a weekend jaunt but for three years of real life. With a husband and two young kids, no less.
It's not for the fainthearted and I've certainly felt a bit that way in the last few months but I hope my expectations will be formed there, in Laos, and not before.
Want to hear about my plans for what Laos holds in store in me? Tune in next week...