It is the day that never ends…

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Funny Faces @ LAX

… it will go on and on my friends.  Some people started flying, not knowing how long it’d be, and they just keep on flying forever just because – it is the day that never ends…

Wow – that was one super duper ooper long day.  It started at about 3:30 am in Albuquerque on Tuesday morning, the sun came up at about 6:30 am while on our first flight, and the sun didn’t set until just before we finally arrived three flights later in Beijing on Wednesday evening at 8 pm.  Although the sun was up the entire time as we followed it (or it followed us) from Tuesday morning until Wednesday evening – seems we somehow lost an entire day (or night I guess) in the process.  One tired group of travelers finally arrived at our temporary apartments in Beijing close to 10:30 pm Beijing time.  Boy, were we exhausted.

The Technology that made the 14 hours bearable for all.

Thursday morning has arrived, kids are starting to stir – but made it until just after 6 am, pretty good all things considered.  I’d have to say that although the flights lasted seemingly forever, I’m very impressed with Korean Air.  Each seat back had a personal movie/game/etc… station that made things bearable for each of us on the 14 hour flight.  Plus, the meals were great, and they gave some nice toys and other items to each of the kids on the flight.  Would highly recommend Korean Air for oversea flights – much much better than our experiences on United w/out the aid in having technology for everyone.

Here are a few more photos of the trip:

Michael had the flight attendants serving him the whole flight!

Food on flight.

More Funny Faces @ LAX

Kids give-away from Korean Air

A couple of videos as well:

- Todd

The Journey Begins

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Waiting at the Albuquerque Airport

My left hand man on the flight!

The journey has officially begun. I’m sitting here at altitude in our first flight, just left Albuquerque five minutes ago on our way to Los Angeles. Trevin is sitting next to me at my left, simply awed by the view at six in the morning seeing the city lights glitter as we leave behind the city, experiences and friendships of the past six years. Michael commented “I’ve never seen Albuquerque from the air, it’s cool!” I must agree – Albuquerque does look rather cool this morning, especially as I look at it through the eyes of our kids for the first time. This is the first flight that Spencer has been on, and Trevin’s first that he’ll remember. I’m feeling rather calm for all the change that we are currently undertaking. Perhaps in some degree I’m still suspending reality in my mind, as Idon’t think it really has hit me fully that I won’t be in Albuquerque any longer, let alone that I won’t be in the United States. I won’t be going into work each day in my own car in a very familiar area, I won’t be frequenting familiar restaurants (although KFC and McDonald’s will still be available in China), I won’t be speaking English with everyone, I won’t … the list goes on.

(landed in LA)

McDonalds @ LAX (aka EXPENSIVE)

Well, one down, two more to go.  We’ll be boarding our next flight at 11am – this one’s the long one.  It’ll be 13 1/2 hours to get from LA to Seoul, Korea.  Fortunately, our plane *should* have personal televisions in each seat, this will be a lifesaver for our family of 7 with 5 kids between 4 and 10.  An aside… we just ate breakfast here in LA from McDonalds – the most expensive McDonald’s breakfast I’ve ever paid for.  Ahh well – at least we are all fed and feeling good :)  Time to head over to our terminal now!

- Todd

Small Miracles

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Stock photo of me in China ;)

Our journey is about to become very real very soon.  It is hard to explain all the thoughts, emotions, feelings, etc… associated with moving our family across the world to take a job in a foreign land, knowing that EVERYTHING we encounter in this journey will be a new experience for each of us in our family.  On paper, there are many things that would make most sensible people never take the plunge that we are about to take (who in their right mind uproots their family of 7 with children ranging from age 4 to 10 and moves them to the other side of the world???), or at least to second guess themselves throughout the process.  While I am keenly aware of such concerns, I have known from early on in this process that this journey is something that our family is supposed to be doing, and therefore feel at peace with our decision to accept this job in China.

Over time, perhaps Jill and I will be able to share some of the myriad miracles (tender mercies) we’ve become a part of as we have made the choice to follow the promptings that have led us to this current point in our lives – that of moving to Beijing, China.  Let me whet your appetite with one that occurred just yesterday.

I’ll have to give you a bit of background first.  A few years ago we purchased a four-plex apartment as an investment.  Jill managed the apartment, while I was the “fixer-upper dude.”  When we made the decision to move from Albuquerque, of course we’d both have to give up these roles and find some other way to handle our four-plex while we are overseas.  Selling the property is not an option, mainly due to the drop in value of the property over the past three years – it just wouldn’t make financial sense.  That leaves us with the option of hiring out an apartment management firm to take over for us, at the cost of 10% of the rental income each month.  This was really the only option that seemed to make sense to us, so Jill found a management firm she liked, and got it all setup.  The downside?  Well, we’re barely making about $200 above our costs each month on the apartment during good months when all units are rented, so the 10% fee completely eats that up, making us actually lose a bit of money each month (even in the good ones).  We figured this is just something we’d have to ride out.

Yesterday we were going through some financial clean-up before heading overseas, closing some bank accounts, etc…  While I was on the phone with a banker, at the end of our phone call she asked me if I’d be interested in talking with their mortgage personnel about our mortgage with them.  I figured sure, why not?  I thought we already had pretty much the best rate we could get on our investment property, and didn’t think this would go anywhere, but was proved wrong.  The mortgage banker told us that they could get a rate at approximately 1.5% lower than our current rate.  The net result in monthly payment?  A $200 lower payment.  Suffice it to say, I said sure – let’s do it, and we are now in the process of refinancing the mortgage on our four-plex to save us precisely the amount of money it is going to cost us to have an external company take over management.

This type of experience has become the norm for us as we’ve decided to follow in faith the promptings we’ve received to move our family to Beijing.  I am thrilled and excited to begin this new chapter of our lives, and yes – a bit nervous as well, but the overriding feeling I have is peace, knowing that we are doing what our Father in Heaven wants us to be doing at this point in our lives.

Stay tuned as Jill and I blog about our adventures as we transition to life in Beijing, China!  We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

- Todd