Thursday, April 7, 2011

Moving to Macau, China. Again.

Three years ago, our family was packed up and ready to move to Macau. My husband was working on developing a brand new show, and we were going to relocate for a few years as it got off the ground. We'd sold off a lot of our household goods, and purchased our favorite hair care products in bulk. The boys were registered for a new school and we had the lease agreement in hand for our beautiful new flat in Macau. After having lived in Japan and Hong Kong for short term relocations, I was so ready to settle into 2+ years of living in a foreign country.

Thirty days before we were scheduled to get on the plane, the whole world went through a major financial crisis. The publicly owned corporation that was funding the show saw their stock go on a free fall from the $200 range to an all time low of less than $4USD per share. It wasn't just our flight reservations that were cancelled that day. Ultimately the entire project was cancelled and everyone, my husband included, lost their jobs.

It was devastating. I felt like the butt of a very cruel joke as I sat in our living room filled with carefully packed boxes that would now need to be unpacked. Our saving grace was that the bottom fell out while we still had a home here in the U.S, and not after we'd already given everything up and relocated. Can you imagine?

Our family in front of the Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral in Macau during a visit in 2005 while we lived in Hong Kong.

Fast forward to this January, when Michael once again found himself under-employed. A project he thought would keep him employed for the long term abruptly ended, while scene shops and production companies that had plenty of work in 2010 found themselves laying off staff in the New Year. We struggled along and this time our saving grace was the fact that we'd been working diligently to get out of debt and built up an emergency fund.

Right about the time when we were at our lowest point, Michael got a phone call from someone who had seen his resume and felt that his skills perfectly matched up with a position as Technical Director for a $2.5 million show that had recently opened up... in Macau, China.

He spent about a week doing interviews via Skype and phone, and finally he was offered the position. We had three days to decide. Of course, during those three days, Michael had to take the boys to Cub Scout Rocket Camp and then do a load out of a show in Orange County. So all our decision making was done via text message (so grateful for unlimited texting!).

We had a handful of concerns that Michael was prepared to negotiate. But when he finally connected with them very early on Monday morning, they addressed the concerns in our favor without Michael having to say a word. So... it looks like we are moving to Macau. Again. For real this time!

Here's the tough part: Michael will actually leave in twelve days. They need him as soon as possible so he can learn the show from the departing technical director. The boys and I will remain here in Los Angeles until early July so they can finish out the school year and our accompanying family visas can be processed. Then Michael will come back briefly to collect us and we'll fly together to our new home in Macau. The next 90 days will be the most difficult part of the whole thing. The boys and I are enormous fans of Michael and are going to miss him like crazy.

Standing on the highest point in Macau. The buildings on our side of the water are in Macau.
What you see on the far side of the water is China.

This is an amazing opportunity, a much bigger deal than the previous gig that fell through. I'm filled with equal parts excitement and dread, which means I'm not sleeping and can't eat and can hardly breathe. Once again we're getting rid of our household goods that would be less expensive to purchase than to store for 2+ years. The flats in Macau come furnished, so we'll only ship over a couple things, like the boys' bunk beds made by my Dad and such.

Macau is a Special Administrative Region to China, much like Hong Kong. It has an autonomous government in all areas except foreign affairs and defence, in which it must defer to China. The entire country is only eleven square miles, yet there are half a million people residing there, making it the most densely populated place on Earth. I don't think they'll notice another four people, do you?

Of course, you probably want details on the show Michael will be working on, right? Okay, I'll spill! It is a show called The House of Dancing Water, directed by Franco Dragone, one of the founders of Cirque du Soleil. It has so many technical details, my husband drools when he starts talking about it! Here is a one minute trailer for the show, just to give you an idea:

Crazy huh? Very exciting, and very much a dream come true for our whole family. Now pardon me if I make myself scarce in these parts over the next two weeks. I have to soak up every minute I still have with my husband!


  1. WOW! Your family is full of adventure. It sounds like an amazing oppurtunity. Congratulations Michael! We will miss you too. Good thing we get to see you Sunday:)

  2. Too cool! This is right up your alley and I know you'll all love the experience. This trip, the boys maybe old enough to really remember the rest of their lives. Congrats and all good things! Love and Hugs, Greg and Kelly

  3. Excited. Horrified. Amazed by the beauty of the show. So sad for me. Hopeful I can visit.happy you have work.eager to hear about your many reactions!

  4. Parabens, vão encontrar muito boa gente em Macau. Execlente oportuinidade para aprender Português e a cultura Portuguesa em terras do Oriente.
    Boa Sorte!

  5. WOW Heather.. so excited for you all! Will need to plan a trip to Macau to see you, the boys and Michael's awesome show! Did I tell you we saw Michael's show at HK Disneyland a couple of years ago? :)Hugs, Cezanne

  6. amazing stuff, heather! that show looks CRAZY!! wishing you luck on your next adventure.


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