Thailand Q & A
In my last post, I shared our family’s big news that we will be moving to Thailand in early 2013. I also said that I would follow up with more details in my next post so, as promised, here are some of the questions (and their answers) others often ask in regards to our move, along with some they probably want to ask but don’t. 😉
Why move overseas? We are going in large part to position Shun-Luoi in a place where the humanitarian photography side of his photography/videography business can thrive. He has a heart for people in southeast (SE) Asia and would love to do more work there. There should be more opportunity to get the type of work he wants if we are there, as doing so will cut out the costs needed for traveling expenses. In addition, we will be in closer proximity to many of the organizations who are actually doing the type of work that Shun-Luoi would like to be part of.
Why Thailand? Shun-Luoi lived in Thailand for a year back in 2004-2005, so the country’s culture and language is not completely foreign to him. Also, the cost of living there is lower than in many SE Asian countries, but we will still be in close proximity to these other countries where Shun-Luoi hopes to do work.
Where in Thailand would you live? We are currently deciding between Chiang Mai (in the northwest) and Bangkok (in the south). Find them on this map.
How long will you live there? We plan for this to be a short-term move, starting with one year. From there, we will reevaluate.
That’s a long way away from family – what do your families think about such a move? Thankfully, we are blessed with 2 sets of parents who are very supportive of the decisions we make. Back in 2001, before I made my first big move away from family (from Minnesota to New York state), I asked my mom how she felt about the prospect of me living 17 hours away from her and my dad. Her reply reflects what our parents have felt about each move, including this one, that Shun-Luoi and I have made; she said, “As a mother, I want to keep my children close to me, but who am I to stand in the way of God’s will for your life?” Having their support has meant the world to us, especially as I come to better understand how Shun-Luoi’s and my decisions also impact many people we love beyond our immediate family.
Does Dawn ever freak out at the thought of the move? Umm, no? Ok, ok – while “freak out” may be a bit dramatic of a phrase, I will admit to having moments of anxiety about such a major move. As I tell others, I am very acutely aware of the need to walk by faith right now. When I don’t do so and instead walk in fear, I get sucked into all of the, “what if,” questions and worry about the unknowns or things I cannot control. This ultimately affects me and my family very negatively, and it’s not the “place” in which I want to live. I want to trust God, the author of this adventure, and look to him for continued guidance, comfort, and grace for each step of the journey.
Is this move simply about Shun-Luoi and his dreams? Are Dawn and the kids merely getting dragged along on this move? First off, I do not feel that Shun-Luoi’s dreams and the good of me/our family are antithetical. We feel that the right thing for our family at the moment is for me to stay home with the kiddos. My current priorities in life are my husband, my kids, and the people we get to live life with (neighbors, friends, etc.); these priorities are not contingent on my geographical location. However, some of what Shun-Luoi wants to focus on is contingent on geographical location, therefore we will move overseas where we both can focus on the priorities God has given us in this season of our life together. With marriage comes situations where particular dreams have to be given up for a time, or given up altogether; that’s just part of it … by marrying me, Shun-Luoi gave up certain things, as did I. However, when you get married, you also become a new unit in which one of the spouse’s dreams is the one that should be acted on; doing so, while not easy for potentially all involved, is nonetheless the best thing for all involved. This move is the best for our family and I am completely supportive of it even though it was not my dream. Also, it is true that Shun-Luoi is a dreamer and visionary, but in the last 5 years of our marriage, I have learned that he will never sacrifice his family on the altar of his dreams. He truly wants to be led by God and therefore submits his dreams and ideas to Him in order to know which ones we should act on and which ones we shouldn’t. This makes all the difference. Because of it, I don’t need to worry that someday one of his ideas or dreams will become more important than me or the kids. This move is a God-led dream that is best for our entire family.
And there you have it – a few more details for whoever’s inquiring minds want to know. 😉 In the future, I will share more details and stories about the move here and there and also plan to interview Mr. Shun-Luoi Fong himself so you can learn more about humanitarian photography and why he loves it. In the meantime, feel free to ask any additional questions you may have …