I’ve got a bit of bad news, so let’s tear the bandage off quick: Susan and I have gotten a divorce.
Now that’s out in the open, let’s talk very briefly about that. We are still on good terms with one another and are very committed to providing Olivia with two strong, loving parents that just happen not to be living together. Olivia is handling the situation well and has not exhibited any major problems. She thinks it stinks and would like it not to have happened, but she’s coping with strength. And I think that’s about all there is to share. We would both appreciate your quiet respect for our very personal decision.
So on to the many other things…
Olivia has started kindergarten in Chattanooga (Soddy Daisy, specifically) and is doing an excellent job. She loves the school, the teacher, the children… the whole thing. She’s been very well behaved for the teacher – they have a behavior chart from 1-7 and she’s had 6’s or 7’s since the beginning save for one day when she was overly excited about Johnny Appleseed!
Olivia is still taking dance classes, switching from Ballet/Tap/Tumble to Ballet/Tap/Jazz. She very much enjoys doing crafts and artwork, expressing her creativity in lots of ways. She really takes her time when coloring – with crayons, pencils, pens – to select the right colors, to apply the right pressure, etc. When writing, again she takes her time to form the letters well and clearly. We’re very impressed with her creative side!
As part of the creative side, I’ve exposed her to a couple of musicals – “Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast”. Despite being a little lengthy, she really enjoyed going to both. It doesn’t hurt that it offers her an opportunity to get dressed up! Over time I’ll be looking for other opportunities to expose her to music and dance… especially as her attention spans grows.
Susan is back to work as a nurse in her old hospital system and seems to be enjoying that as much as the workload allows. She’s been able to balance the work demands with her desire to be around our super awesome kid.
I’ve begun splitting time between the US and Asia, racking up a tremendous amount of time in airplanes. I’ve been very lucky to be able to set my own travel schedule so I have been around for all of the important dates in Olivia’s busy life – first day of school, dance recital, etc. It’s a bit of strain on me, but totally worth it.
Generally, I spend 3 weeks in the US and 3 weeks in Asia. When in Asia, I land in Tokyo, but so far I’ve not spent a full stretch of time in Tokyo. I’ve had the opportunity to visit Sydney, Hong Kong and Manila so far. In the future I expect I might see Seoul and Taipei, plus plenty more of Manila.
To answer the most posed questions:
- No, I am not flying business class – premium economy all the way.
- No, I’m not always jet lagged – the first 3 or 4 days are tough, but I push through and don’t let myself start bad habits like napping during the day or waking up insanely early. I am most challenged at 3A and 3P.
- Yes, I have a lot of frequent flyer miles and I have a modest status with the airline. No, it does not offer me upgrades to business class over the ocean, but I will occasionally get bumped up on my (short) domestic legs.
- Yes, I’ve seen the movie “Up in the Air”, as of last night. An awful lot of it felt familiar to me and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
So the next common question – what is this job that has you flying back and forth? That’s a little more complicated. Basically I’m facilitating communication between our US and Asia organizations. I assist with business launches, operational readiness, escalations of issues, etc. In addition to that I’m helping mentor, coach and prepare the IT resources in the region to work with the global support team. Finally, I’m helping improve our global support processes. It’s not always easy for US-based support teams to understand the perspective and needs of our Asia counterparts.
Olivia and I will be headed to Disney World later this month, so we’re both looking forward to that a great deal. I’ll have one more Asia trip before Thanksgiving and then I’ll be home through New Year’s, something I’m also looking forward to. I’m seriously toying with a trip to Yellowstone with Olivia next June, but at the moment I can’t do much planning, what with all the park service websites offline.
The Yellowstone trip has a very interesting origin. First, I have a good connection to Yellowstone through my family. My dad has spent countless months there over the course of many years. One of our few family vacations was to Yellowstone and I’ve been there 3 or 4 times. During a few of those trips, staying in the Madison campground, I experienced the Montana “Big Sky” in all it’s glory. A few weeks ago, Olivia and I took a little time to lay in the driveway of my sister’s house and look up at the stars. Only last Saturday, Olivia invited me to lay on the sidewalk at Ben & Dru’s house to do it again. From then I was sure I needed to give her that experience of seeing such a beautifully clear sky.
My apologies for not having any new pictures recently. Seeing as how both Susan and I have switched to iPhones, Flickr has become less of a focal point for sharing or backing up photos. Of course that does somewhat limit that audience that can see what’s going on… but that’s more through accident than planning.
So that’s the nutshell version of the past several months. It’s been a challenge, with lots of personal change and growth. It’s not necessarily been the most pleasant period of time, but it’s also not the worst. From this, many things will sprout. I know that all three of us have grow stronger and are moving forward with great strength, thanks to our friends and families.