Can you move your 75 year parents perfectly cross country?

Key words… Parents, Seattle, moving

Coffee Reggiegram: What makes a major move perfect?
Is near-prefect perfect enough for you?

咖啡短信 :如何做到老年人完美迁徙?

Part 1: How would you make such a big decision?
第一部分 您是如何做出如此重大的决定?

Would you rate our cross country move as dramatic? In 2016, we moved to Seattle. Many friends worried that, at age 75 years, our 2,500 miles move might be very stressful. We would lose many old, old friends, and miss longtime warm relationships of church, community and hospital. Especially 47 lovely years serving in our mission minded mother church. Could we handle all that at our “high age”?

The reason for the dramatic move was the urging of our west coast family to be close to them. For decades they lived thousands of miles away, and we only saw each other once a year or so. So we were also excited for this radical change.

Covid-19 helped prove our move was “perfect”. Lockdown stay at home lunch using priceless ancestral village dinner table, Esther’s normal work desk.

Did you know moving older parents’ can be a crisis? Many years ago, my dad in Hong Kong suddenly became very ill and bedridden. My parents had to be moved reluctantly, dad even carried on the back of our then teenage son into the plane, to Cincinnati. Our son was in charge of this very stressful and complicated move, see “Coming of age” on And he did not relish a rerun of history!

After 2 years of family discussions and prayers, we finally made one of the most difficult decisions in our life, our own big move!

How confident would you be to buy a home you never visited? We had made only one previous choice ever in buying a home, to live there 44 years! So now what’s the best way to find a new home!?

Since we have always lived simply and frugally, this was a perfect time to also downsize to a small condo. Which however is easier said than done, after decades of accumulated “stuff”!

But thanks be to God, we did not even have to find the condo ourselves. Our son and his wife called one Friday evening from Seattle, with a video and photographs of a unit they selected. Their seasoned realtor sealed the deal before Saturday noon, a sight-unseen deal in 19 hours. Plus, our condo price went up 30% within months. All quite “perfect”.

Don’t you agree 2 minutes makes a great location? The realtor’s chant is “location, location, location”. Located in Seattle’s Newcastle area, we are now exactly only 2 minutes local driving from a shopping mall that has nearly everything we need. Even a good Chinese restaurant, and a library next door, our first time ever use of a modern public library!

What do you think of cougars or bobcats? Our 20 minute very calm drive to Costco is on a private like road with practically no other cars, through a forest of elegant tall northwest trees. The average height of Washington trees is 200 feet, so the views are impressive.

To add excitement, there are cougars and bobcats spotted in these areas also. One bobcat even visited our condo area!

Even doctors’ visits usually are only10 to 20 minutes away on local roads, again through green forests which are literally everywhere!

Would you drive with glaucoma? Since essential services and family are so close by, we have stopped expressway driving, a huge change from frequent freeway drives in Cincinnati. Plus my one eye glaucoma has unnerved my wife so she has taken over driving. Which suits me fine, my personal chauffeuse!

When expressway driving is needed, say to see the glaucoma specialist, our son or Esther’s nieces personally uber-escort us, a perfect arrangement at our age!

So, do you think our move was perfect? Five years after our move, we decided it was a “perfect move”. Or nearly prefect. Being a glass half-full optimistic person, nearly perfect is perfect enough for me! Plus a bit of American hyperbole!

Part 2: Have you heard about the infamous seattle weather?
第二部分 您听闻过西雅图糟糕的天气吗?

First, is Northwest forest air fresher? While not specifically on our wish list, we live in the middle of a big forest. Washington State has stringent rules preventing deforestation, so there’s plenty of forest still. Evergreens predominate, and remain reassuringly non-naked in winter, in contrast to pervasive bare-trees in the Midwest.

All year round, we can breathe fresh mountain cool wet air, clean and little polluted. A great change from the heavily polluted Asian cities of my work and ministry for the last quarter century! Perfect to “clean out” the lungs.

Seattle is really pretty, most lakes are within a few minutes drive.

Would you like a real babbling brook? Our condo is right next to a brook that is literally babbling! We didn’t ask for that, didn’t even realize it, nor even heard its gurgling until a few months after moving in. A great pleasant surprise!  Day and night, water from a high mountain pours noisily, poetically and melodiously, down into our brook. Reflecting also the notorious fame of wet rainy Seattle.

Would you like rain all the time? Which gets me to the infamous Seattle weather. My helpful smartphone has the insolence to display an umbrella under rain icon when I type out Seattle. But for us, the weather is quite perfect because it fits well with my stage of life, and concept that prison is the best place to write (see for this title).
您喜欢下个不停的雨吗?连绵的雨让我联想到西雅图天气不佳的名声。我在我的很有用的智能手机里一旦输入西雅图,屏幕就会在雨的图标下顽固的显示出一把雨伞。但于我们,这个天气实在是太完美了,因为它很契合我们所处的人生阶段,符合我的观念:牢房是最好的写作地方(请参阅 与曾叔叔闲聊: 在狱中写作)

And we’re poetically in prison because 9 months of the year it’s really cloudy. Or gloomy if you’re a half empty person. This overcast weather allowed me to finish my 3 bilingual Coffee with Uncle Reggie books, in 4 instead of the projected 5 years, which is really exciting. I’m even thankful for covid19 since that further locked us in, giving me extra time to expand hugely our international book distribution! Perfect timing for me.

Did you know Seattleites have an attitude? And since I’m a half full person it’s beautiful to see the short bursts of sunlight that peek out often, even when it’s cloudy/gloomy. It doesn’t come out for long, 20 to 30 minutes, but those flashes are inspiring, and makes me grateful to see it. I can imagine a southern California native probably not being as grateful, but we and many Seattleites are. It’s definitely a place to perfect our attitudes of gratitude. Don’t you like my half-full attitude!?

Except for July and August, the Seattle weather is mostly cool. Native Seattleites love the 50sF weather, often wearing shorts! No severe winters, so there’s minimal snow driving or shoveling. No severe summers, so minimal air-conditioning. Pretty perfect for our life stage, though I need sweater, scarf and cap most of the year.

Typical tall northwest tree-lined “private road” to Costco. Snow is usually very light in Seattle.

Did we move for the weather? We did not move for climate, scenery or environment. Our “essential requirement” was our new home had to be physically close to family. It is. Our son is 12 minutes local driving south of us and Esther’s nieces are 8 and 12 minutes respectively north. And covid19 affirmed this.

When seniors (that’s us!) were urged to stay at home, the family immediately responded. They regularly delivered essential groceries, and Chinese take-outs for in–home lunches with us. A historic new experience and clear vindication for our move, to be helped, or pampered by family when necessary. Necessary pampering sounds perfect.

What’s an All Nations illegal lobbyist? And we’ve found our new house of worship. Surprisingly, in a large multi-ethnic 4,000 member church, the first time in our life. It’s mostly white but amazingly has Chinese, African, Hispanic and even Asian Indian sub-congregations within its umbrella.什么是万国的非法说客?我们找到了我们新的敬拜之所。非常惊奇,我们一生中第一次在一个巨大的多个种族,可容纳4000人的大教堂。大部分是白人,但惊奇的是还有华人、非洲人、西班牙人,甚至印度人等少数会众,都在它的保护伞下。

This fits my decades-long dream of an All Nations Church from Cincinnati days. In this new church, we started a mini ministry to translate Sunday English messages to Chinese, a novelty for the church.

Plus, I became an “illegal Asian lobbyist”. A non-member, non-official Asian hanging out in the church lobby for 2 hours each Sunday, greeting and meeting people, especially visitors and minorities. I never had any official badge except for my cup of coffee and a smile, but no-one kicked me out, so I kept up the practice.
另外,我成了一名“illegal Asian lobbyist不合法的亚洲游说客”。英语的lobby是大厅. 英语的lobbyist是游说客). 不是成员,”非法定”亚洲人,每个主日游荡在教堂大厅两个小时,招呼和接待客人,尤其是初次到访的人
和少数族人. 我从来没有任何

So, what’s this popganmi ben sawan thing? So, all in all, our move worked out well, wouldn’t you agree? There is actually a fantastic promise, “Everything works out for the good of those who love the Lord”. A really optimistic cup half full promise which has been my perfect life guide. And explains our “perfect move”. Of course, the truly perfect move awaits us… popganmi ben sawan! (Thai: see you in heaven!)
因此,天堂见是怎么回事?总之,我们搬家进展不错,您同意吗?实际上有一个奇妙的承诺:爱上帝,诸事顺逐。真正乐观的承诺是我的完美人生指导,也印证在我们“完美搬家”上。当然,真正完美的搬家在等待我们….popganmi ben sawan! (泰语: 天堂见!)