Friday, 19 February 2010

Plan Q: Living with parents at 29

Never in a million years, when I was 18 and moving out of the house for college, would I have imagined that at 29 I would be living with parents. In-laws actually. In New Zealand no less.

Even last June when Dan and I turned the ignition on the green card process, moving in with his parents was nowhere on the radar. Our plan A was to scoop up that sweet little green card by September, sort out some jobs and be in Los Angeles by Thanksgiving. Job done.

Plan A morphed into plan B morphed into plan C. We knew we wanted to be out of England by Christmas (please God, not another winter!), but it was hard to make solid plans around a green card that was taking much longer to manifest than anticipated.

One day in October Dan's mum threw out the idea that we spend a few weeks with them in NZ before heading to the States. Dan said no, we really need to get to Los Angeles as soon as possible. We had to be responsible. The next evening though, riding a bus home in the dark, realizing we were desperate for a holiday, we thought that NZ wasn't such a bad idea. Actually, it was just what we needed.

A few weeks turned into six months and here we are. This temporary stint in Auckland is what I like to call plan Q, because it's so far from where we originally thought we'd be when we started our England exit strategy.

Just because plan Q isn't what we had in mind originally doesn't mean it's not exactly where we need to be. It was just too hard to comprehend back then.

Plan Q is ideal because we're able to spend a lot of time with Dan's parents. As nomads we have to batch our family time – Dan hadn't seen his parents for three years. Living rent-free is also not bad. It's even given me the time I need to write the book that's been in the back of my mind for a year.

I like that I'm comfortable with plan Q in general. At 18 I wouldn't have been. I would've needed control and to have my plan A work. But now, with this process that has taken my plans and thrown them to the other side of the earth, I can just laugh. As a person of faith, I feel like I can honestly say, OK God, whatever, I give up long as I have Dan by my side, a roof over my head and a coffee in reach, I'm fine.

Even plan Q is evolving. The last few months in NZ have made us realize that maybe LA isn't the best next step for us. So we're headed to Seattle in June to live with my parents (thanks mom and dad!) until we get sorted and plan X, Y, or Z takes shape.

I know that life not going to plan doesn't always look as lavish as a rent-free summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Sometimes it's much, much harder. (Cue moving to England.) But by now, after so long on this faith journey, I know that something will work out. It has to. It always does, even if it's a plan Q.

(By the way, see that volcano in the photo. I climbed that today.)


Rachel H. Evans said...

I'm happy to hear that you've found time to work on that book! Sometimes Plan Q is serendipitous for a writer. :-)

Great post.

Jenny said...

i'm loving these cross processed southern hemisphere!

and i'm loving even more that you're moving back to seattle...whoohoo, it's about time!

alisha said...

Rachel, plan Q does feel pretty serendipitous indeed!

Jenny, I'm trying to be as So Hemisphere as possible. :) And it is about time that I'm back in Seattle - it's been way too long.

La Dolce Vita said...

Seattle is always a good choice! :)))) We miss it!

Consider that here in Italy, on the average, most young adults, until their 30's and over remain at home with parents if they don't have a good reason to move out. Those who move out, usually remain in the same building or same block of their parents. Recently it has been invented a new italian word to describe this behavior: "bamboccione". It could be translated in something like "grown-up child" with a sort of negative accent! In my opinion this common behavior by young italians, more than a national custom or way of life, it's half way between social discomfort (problems to find a job, unemployment, etc...) and laziness to leave the nest for an unpredictable future by themselves.

On the contrary when I was in college I had plans to live abroad, find a job elsewhere in UK or USA and be citizen of the world. After some adventures by myself in London and Australia (that were more holidays than real attempts to live abroad!) then, if I can use your terms, my plan Q arrived too. :)) Now at 33 I appreciate it more than what I would have ever imagined before. I live with Ely, but our parents live close (mine in the same building!), we can see them almost everyday, I work with my dad and everything couldn't be more perfect than this as long as around there are those people who really care for us: the family!

So, I think you made the best choice to spend time with your families in NZ and Seattle. It will be a perfect moment to stop, relax and enjoy family warmth. Moreover it seems like in Seattle there are some good friends waiting for you. Isn't it enough to find an excuse to settle there then?!? ;))) *grin*

Sian Dixon said...

Great post - hope-filled and faith-inspired. Love it. Thank you for the pick me up - God has a plan (whether it's A or Q) for everyone. Thanks, Sian x

alisha said...

Mario, I like the phrase 'bamboccione'. It reminds me of the film Failure to Launch. I do think the more we are able to leave and do the things we need to do far away, the more we appreciate the friends and family in our hometown. I sure do. Also, don't you live in Trento? I read in a magazine this weekend that Trento has one of the nicest lifestyles in Italy! Amazing.

Sian, I'm so thankful that you've been there with us every step of the way from A to Q and I miss our weekly encouragement sessions. :)

La Dolce Vita said...

Yes, we live in Trento. It's true they say it has one of the best lifestyles in Italy (I read it lately too!!). In fact all seem to work well and it's a good living. The only problem: it's boooring! It's a small city and there aren't all those fun things to do you can find in a big city like Milan, Rome, London, New York or LA...anyway...fortunately there are planes and it's pretty easy to move around!!!! :)))
But I always appreciate when I come home in my home town. Despite all the boring thing, I like living here and love it. :)

Jess Fouche said...

Plan R? Live with the Fooshes!!:) If Seattle doesn't fit the bill there's always room at our house. We even have complimentary wake up calls. Given by 3 year old's. :)
I so love the freedom reflected in your life, your open hands to God letting him take you where He wants you. Right on Lish & Dan!!

Nadine said...

Like John Lennon said, Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.

In 2006, we moved to Hawaii for one year and one year only. That was a firm length of time and we knew we would return to LA in 2007.

But four years later, we are still here and although we are starting to discuss a move for this fall, it's not back to CA.

Funny how life's plans change and evolve.

alisha said...

Plan R with the out what you wish for Jess! :)

Nadine, I'm intrigued to know your Autumn plans...but really I'm just happy that you have some ideas in the works because it's so fun to be dreaming of what's next.

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