Sunday, February 10, 2008

conspiracy theory

Moving to the other side of the world provokes lots of questions.  Many people express sympathy, wish us good luck or express admirations for "being so adventurous".  I have had many of the same thoughts and have been filled with excitement at times, but lately, it's mostly anxiety.  Tons of it.  I started biting my fingernails, sleeping restlessly, frequenting the bathroom, eating way too much chocolate, and experiencing weird aches and pains in my legs.  The underlying cause of the anxiety isn't that we're moving across the earth, it's that we don't know exactly WHERE in the eastern hemisphere we will be.  I wasn't totally honest with you when I posted last week and said that we were moving to Dubai- we are moving to Dubai, and then somewhere else.  John accepted a job with a firm that is headquartered in Dubai, however they asked if we were open to living outside of the UAE and accepting a more permanent assignment elsewhere.  We said "sure!" (it's an adventure right? of course, all is contingent upon the country/ city being live-able and safe for our family- specifically me and the kids though).   The boss man then throws out a few countries that are possibilities.  Are you ready?  India, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.  Ya, I'm sure you're thinking similar things to what I was thinking- maybe worse.  However, I am (surprisingly?) open to discussion and consideration of all of them, minus the one that starts with a P.  

Now,  here's my question:  Looking at those four countries, are any of you wondering what the H my dear husband does for a living? Me too!  
I'm starting to think that he works at the same "bank" as Sydney Bristow and Michael Vaughn.
Here's why:
  • He graduated BYU in mechanical engineering, worked a year in consulting and 5 years working back and forth between Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman on different government defense projects. These jobs were during our dating and newlywed years. I never saw his office and I wasn't even allowed inside the gates to the parking lot let alone the building he worked in.  I know he has some sort of "secret level clearance" from the government.  I think he was just a design engineer, but again, I never saw any of his work and never met any of his co-workers.
  • He also did some real estate ventures on the side, namely our house renovation.  I knew John wasn't "content" in engineering, but his whole application and acceptance process for grad school was very sudden and pretty rushed (some of you may remember how hard it was for me). Who spends 2 years renovating a house to their taste and liking and satisfaction and enjoyment and (ok, I won't go on) and leaves and sells it?
  • Then we moved to Cambridge MA for a year where he got his Master's in Real Estate development from MIT. OK, MIT for engineering makes sense.  Even computer science, physics, economics, but real estate development?  Real estate development? And a terminal, one year masters at that.  The majority of MIT students had never heard of the program, our own neighbors doubted it's existence when they couldn't find it listed on MIT's website . His program met in a random building, away from the other colleges and they even had a separate graduation ceremony in September while I'm pretty sure every other program at the school attends (and is invited to attend) the campus-wide graduation in MAY.  Our neighbors, the Lowe's, who share some of my suspicions, gave John a shirt from Bunker Hill Community College as his graduation present, because they were sure BHCC (the college up the street from MIT) had to be where John was spending his time because of the for-mentioned reasons, although I may have missed a few.  Oh and he had class trips to England, Germany, China, Hong Kong and a couple states in the U.S. as part of the "coursework".
  • Now he's starting a job with an international real estate development firm based out of Dubai and we are looking at living overseas "somewhere" for the next few years. There's a statement in itself.  This job has been long in the making.  Just before Christmas I was embarrassed that we were telling people "it's either Seattle or Dubai". Not, Seattle vs Portland or Dubai vs Yemen.  Nope ours was Seattle? or Dubai and on to who knows where from there?  Besides that, who goes half-way around the world to "develop real estate"?  On the other hand, who hires my husband to develop real estate half-way around the world?
  • John doesn't have an explanation for these and other loopholes. he just laughs, no justification, no defense- just a nervous laugh (ok, so maybe I imagined the nervous part).
At this point, there's no real turning back.  John left on Wednesday (yes, I'm husbandless). I miss him, I'm doing fine here, but excited to get our family and home in tact and move on with normal life (ha ha).  I'm planning and hoping to join him with the kids sometime in the next few weeks, I'm just waiting for the movers to come pack us up and before they can pack us up, I need to know where we're going.  yes, this is really my life, can you smell it too?  fishy. 

Any pointers for managing anxiety?


  1. MIT does have a real estate program

  2. Lots and lots of alcohol! Just kidding. Maybe he really is out there playing "Rambo" on these "class trips" kicking butt and shootin up people just cuz they "got in the way". I wonder what his alias' have been??

    I'm also with you on the Pakistan one. Sounds a little jihad if you ask me.

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  4. Toria,
    Great entry, both Brian and I loved it! Wow, though. i'd be afraid to live in those countries! Yikes. :) Hope you find out where you're going real soon, and hopefully you actually get to "see" where he's working! haha
    Good luck with everything!
    Love, Veronica

  5. I have to say you are WAY braver than I would ever be! Even to consider it! I could not go to an open ended destination. Especially SA or P!
    I typically manage anxiety with chocolate, or ice cream, or a combination of the two. It only produces more, though, as I can fit in my clothes after a month of self medicating. Sorry I can't be of more help!

  6. This post was CRACKING me up! He really does sound like James Bond or Jason Bourne... :) I will be so anxious to hear where you REALLY end up. If it makes you feel better...we will come visit you in any scary place...we took my four year old to Mynmar (Burma) last know--the county that is on the same "X list" as Iran, Iraq,Venezuela etc...
    I will think of tips and send them your way...
    Just will be closer to some of the most beautiful places to travel in the world!! :)

  7. It'll be awesome Toria. The most worthwhile experiences in life come at a price, right? So don't worry too much, if you can help it. Yeah, sure, you'll have some challenges coming up in the near future but if anyone can run with this experience and make it AWESOME it's you. You have the tenacity. Even if you end up in Pakistan, you'll meet amazing people, you'll see amazing and exotic places and you'll get a perspective on life that will change your life and make you a better mom, a better person, a better wife, the whole bit. I can't think of the right phrase, but if I were a Texan I'd say, "Grab that bull by the horns!" You can do this once you decide that you can, and in the end you'll be so glad you did. One last thought- people are just people once you get past the outer layers of cultural behaviors. Our new neighbors are from Pakistan, he is high up in the government and doing an MBA here then going back. They are kind, warm, unselfish people and I have never seen such sweet and well-behaved children. No matter how scary a country seems to us in a world full of war and anti-Americanism, there are good people everywhere, and beautiful cultures ready to be embraced. So be smart, be safe and follow the Spirit, but don't be afraid. It'll be great.

  8. That post is so funny. I think your mission might have been compromised by going public with a lot of this, so I would keep an open eye. Watch out particularly for anonymous commenters, for example...

    You guys are such great sports. I think whichever country lands the Clasons is a lucky one, and the experiences will be incredible. Please keep us (readers) informed.

  9. OK, so I deleted my response to the "anonymous" commenter because I realized it sounded a little too sarcastic. I think anonymous may be in cahoots with John's boss or with the organization in charge of keeping this all under wraps.

  10. Toria! You'd better watch your back, don't you know what could happen to you for letting people on to John's line of work? Even as I'm writing this I'm looking over my shoulder, and that ain't easy. Call me when you're in town, but I don't know if it's even safe to get together!

  11. Toria- You brave soul!!! Now I know why you were not suppose to go on a mission--you are going to live one with your fam!! Keep us posted FOR SURE!

  12. Wow! That's a lot to take in. You are a brave soul and I know you'll be happy where ever you end up I just hope you're Safe!! It was so fun to see you at the baptism. I hear you're coming back in town soon. Hopefully we can get together then!