Be Present

Well, the transfer certainly feels real now. Of course it was always “real” – from the moment Barr called me to say “Are you ready to move to Dubai in 2 weeks? It’s happening”, I knew it was real; we would be moving overseas, something we had literally always wanted and discussed as a couple, but until we moved into our apartment this weekend, the process didnt really feel permanent to me. I think it was the extended hotel stay. Maybe a bit because I am not working in a corporate environment (at all, yet…that is the question). But no matter the reason, it wasn’t until we had spent a night in the apartment that I had a moment of reflection and clarity that we live here in Dubai now.

We didnt “leave” Charlotte, so much as I think we just wanted to live (and work) abroad. We love, love, love Charlotte, and I absolutely think that we will be back in Charlotte one of these days, probably not too far from now. BUT, we also love to be a bit (or even a lot) out of our comfort zone. We also love to travel. We also love to learn and explore new languages, people, customs, religions, architecture…you get the idea. Honestly, when we sat down to have the “are we really going to do this?” conversation, the consensus was that Abby and Barr don’t typically do what is “easy” – to be cliche, we oftentimes take the road less traveled – why would this decision be any different, right?

Both of us have had the privilege (because honestly, it is!) to live, study and/or work overseas: he in Manila/China and me in Calgary (hey, it counts!), Singapore and Rome – and quite frankly, we couldn’t wait to do it again and together. So, here we are.

This all being said, homesickness has now hit me. It took moving into our apartment and that moment of self reflection to settle in my chest that this isnt always an easy transition. All it really takes is one look at social media, of your friends and family back in the States (or wherever), and that wave of nostalgia and dare I say FOMO hits you. I won’t lie: I had a moment this past weekend where I was like “why did we do this? why am I not with my friends? why can’t I easily call my mom/Mema/sister/mother in law/friend?” But I think it goes back to that life is too short and one choice always will result in the act of discarding another – you will miss out on or say “what if/why did I do that and not this” no matter what. You just have to have faith in yourself and those you love and ultimately just be present; I think that’s the key – living for now because you can’t change the past and you can’t plan everything (though I may want to) – life just comes at you sometimes, and it’s too short to dwell on stuff you can’t change (though I may want to!)

An amazing print by the talented Ayang Cempaka

An amazing print by the talented Ayang Cempaka (Source:

So, that is my urging to my readers (or reader: hi mom!) 🙂 and to myself: be present. When you’re with someone, listen to them. When you’re  some place new or different, embrace it then. And when you make a choice, big or small, make it thoughtfully, and then live in that choice. That’s all you can do. I’ll end my little moment of self reflection and sage advice 😉 with Psalm 119:114 “You’re my place of quiet retreat. I wait for your word to renew me.”

I’ll be putting up some pictures and design boards shortly for our new place – certainly not complete, but getting there! I may need yall’s help with some design choices! Until next time…

2 responses to “Be Present

  1. Hey from NY! These blogs are awesome and pretty educational actually. Sounds like youre finally getting settled out there and so far its been a great adventure. Keep posting those pictures….loving it! Miss working with you….be well and enjoy! 🙂

  2. Abby,
    Such a thoughtful and inspiring post! Brody and I definitely go through stages of homesickness, it is completely normal when you are living overseas. My advice is to use that energy to plan something, an upcoming trip, a party or a date night! I find that making a plan helps me focus on looking forward to something in the near future, instead of thinking what I am missing out on at home. I hope this helps! Keep posting, you have a talent!