Monday, August 20, 2012

The Waiting and Enjoying Simple Pleasures of Life

Time passes quickly when life is changing its pattern. One last trip to our home for the past 6 years and there will be but traces of our life there. Our passports are in New York with our Visa applications and now we wait.

Our waiting days are spent in the place I grew up. My parents have lived here for 40-years, neighbors to my 100-year-old grandmother, with another of her sons on the other side of her. Acres and acres of land where deer roam, hawks circle overhead searching for a meal and bumble bees glory in the beauty of my mother's garden.

I haven't spent this much time here since my university breaks and it feels good to be home. My parents left us to our own devices for the weekend, but also to tend to their chickens and mow the vast land. I enjoy the simplicity of these tasks. I'm amused by the rooster who sets his own boundaries, never straying too far from the hen house, though his aggressive behavior within it has him cast out.

My children feel at home here. Freedom like they've never enjoyed in our suburban neighborhood. Here they can run outside, out of sight and climb trees, explore what feels like a forest and run and run and run. As long as I can hear their shouts of joy I let them experience a bit of what I was so lucky to have growing up. Though I didn't realize it then, of course.

I feel relaxed and fulfilled with fewer "have-to-do" moments than when I'm running my own household. I watch the bumble bee poke into flower bud after flower bud, enjoy the feel of the breeze and the jingle of the many wind chimes.

Today, however, it's back to Grand Rapids to finish moving out of our house and to take my sweet girl back to the doctor for a check-up. More on her fevers, hives and maladies in a future post.

Have a wonderful week.

What place is "home" in your heart?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cats, Closets and Long Applications

Things are moving quickly around here! When you're moving overseas, it is no easy task. The last time we did this it was just my husband and me and a company that did everything for us. When we moved back to the US 5 years later, we still had the company that did everything for us, but additionally, 2 cats and a baby!

This time we're moving 3 kids and the same two cats, without any help, but at least to a great place and a decent job for my man. But the paperwork is crazy.

I had to rush the cats to the vet on Monday to ensure they got their rabies vaccines 21 days prior to our departure. My clinic is amazing! They did all the legwork to for me and it's a good thing too! As it happens, 21 days after their vaccines I'll have to take them back to the vet for another health check, at which time the doc will be able to complete a health certificate for them, which then needs to be endorsed in Lansing.

We're planning on leaving on or around the 22nd. I'll likely be taking the cats back to the vet on the 20th then heading straight to Lansing to stop off at the USDA before meeting up with hubby and kids again at my parents' in Detroit before we board a plane to England. Sheesh! I'm out of breath just typing that!

How could we leave such a cuddly kitty behind?

Today I sorted through my closet. One box for donating, one box to sell and one box to store or take with us. I got rid of anything stained or with holes, which eliminated 2/3 of my wardrobe. We'll have plenty of room in the suitcase for wine accessories, I guess! :) I'm waiting to do the kids' rooms until they are with Grandma this weekend. Gotta be sneaky with two girls that want to move every toy they've ever had with us to the UK.

Onto figuring out Visas. My husband is a European National, as are our two daughters. We never got around to getting the little guy his French passport, but he's apparently too young to matter as far as paperwork goes. I, on the other hand, do not require a visa, but an EEA Permit. To get the permit I have to enroll my biometrics (i.e. fingerprints and photograph) and apply for the permit. Lucky for me, there is a support center that does the biometrics just minutes away from my house.

When I tried to make an appointment online, it would only book me in at the Detroit center. Immigration customer service agents are delightfully helpful over the phone! However, what I discovered after answering many questions and spending 10 minutes on hold was that the Detroit office has to refer me to the biometrics location and that requires walking in! So, I'm supposed to go to 2-hours to Detroit to make an appointment 5-minutes away! The gentleman on the phone encouraged me to try to walk-in to my local office, but cautioned that they still may make me jump through the hoops.

And did I mention that the permit application is 17-pages long?!!!!!!!!

Don't you just love bureaucracy?