Tuesday, July 22, 2014

visas in hand and new flight details

To catch you all up:

Ev and I spent Saturday morning doing the final packing of our house. We called about our visas and FedEx said there was no way they would be there on Saturday, so we left Asheville knowing we were going to miss our flight on Sunday morning. This all led to a very hectic 24 hours including a 6:30am wake up call from India regarding rescheduling our flight we were to miss. I've said it before, but we truly feel like we are in good hands with our school. They bent over backwards for us and more than that, they were all very relaxed about the situation and solving it.

With hopes of receiving our visas on Monday, I left Evan and the kids on Monday morning to drive back up to Asheville. My plan was to finish touching up some paint, clean a bit, and read as I waited on our FedEx delivery. When I arrived in Asheville, I called FedEx to get an approximate delivery time (we still did not have a tracking number) and was told that I wouldn't receive the package until Tuesday. Ugh.

So there I was with no change of clothes - not even a toothbrush - making plans to stay overnight in Black Mountain with Doug & Mary (let's be honest, I was really there to love on Baby Will). In the meantime, Evan was at his parents' house with the kids and Oakes decided a 24 hour stomach bug would help the stress levels a bit.

This morning I was out of Mary & Doug's by 7:10am and heading back to our empty house to get food from the fridge, etc. I wanted to get to the FedEx office at 9am, when I was told they opened, as they agreed to hold my packages for my pickup. Unfortunately, they don't open until 9:30 and even when I was in the office at 9:30, was told that there would be an extra 20-minute wait on held packages today. 

Here's the whole picture: I'm in dirty clothes (including some baby spit-up) with messy hair/no make-up and we've had delay after delay after delay on these elusive visas. I'm keeping Evan up-to-the-minute with texts as he's got a sick kid doing all sorts of nasty sick stuff. So when he told me 20 minutes, I just started laughing out loud in the FedEx office - 20 minutes was nothing in the scheme of this whole wait we've had, but it was also the last little punch. In reality, it only took about 10 minutes and when I opened my envelopes at 9:42am, the sarcastic side of me wondered what our next step would be if the passports in said envelopes contained someone else's identity. 

Of course, they didn't. And by 9:44 I was back in the car, getting onto 240 to head back to my worn-out husband and kids.

We aren't sure why Evan's is flagged.
Actually, I feel sure it's because of his beard.
He says it is flagged as awesome.

Our flight leaves tomorrow with a nice layover in Chicago - we should arrive in Munich by Thursday morning and plan to stay around southern Germany until we depart for Delhi next week. I'm calm now but I imagine I'll become a little tornado of nerves tomorrow morning as I run laps making sure we have everything packed and we are ready to go. Goodnight.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

delayed plans

I expected to be writing a farewell post right now. You know what I'm talking about, the kind of thing like you hear at the Emmy's or what-not where we thank our family and friends and talk about all of the good times we've had here and how much we will miss everyone. 

And while all of that is true (and the post may still happen), this post is not that.

This post is to tell you all that we are not leaving tomorrow, as planned. To tell the story of our past week, where we've made phone calls to the Embassy and to the company that handles visas, emails to our school, and called in so many favors from friends that it isn't even funny.

We thought the visas would be in our hands shortly after the kids' visas arrived (mid-June) as we submitted them in late May. And by the processing time offered on the company's website, it really should have been in our hand in early July at the latest. 

But I also feel strongly that things happen for good reasons. I've run into people this week whom I never run into who only served to strengthen that mantra. And when we finally reached our tipping point of stress on Wednesday afternoon, we decided the stress wasn't worth it: we would make it to India, just maybe not with our German vacation plans intact. So we relaxed. And you know what? Things turned out okay.

We found out that our visas had been cleared late on Friday afternoon. Too late for them to be overnighted and way too late for us to hop in the car and drive to D.C. to get them by hand. Today was spent doing the final packing of our house and now we are at E's parent's house, about 2.5 hours from home relaxing on furniture items that we sorely missed this past week - like a couch.

It's likely that the visas will be delivered Monday or Tuesday, so we will stay at E's parent's cabin which is an hour from home and is an easy drive to/fro each day. It's also likely that the visas will not be mailed at all, due to the confusion, and we may be making a quick trip up to D.C. to pick them up by hand. Who knows. 

We still don't know when we will fly out, and again, we are sort of okay with that. We've already cancelled hotel reservations in Germany with plans to be back visiting in December if we can't see the family now. And if this experience has done anything positive, it has taught us - me, particularly - to begin to relax a bit more and just take things as they come. It's also reinforced that we are going to be working for a really great group of people who have been incredibly patient with us this past week.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Do you want chocolate?

In typical Ev & Wendy style, we decided on Monday morning to: rent a truck, load it, drive it to Charleston, unload it at my dad's warehouse, and then drive back to Asheville late that night. 

We picked up the rental at 10am and were on the road at 3pm. 

By 7:30pm, we were at the warehouse where Dad and Ev (and one of Dad's employees) unloaded everything in a super-fast 45 minutes. It's amazing how it took 3 hours to load it all and so little time to unload! Dad and Mom checked the rental back in, and our family turned around for the trip back up the mountain. 

Our sweet little lady is not a car-sleeper, so that made for a late night for her. She spent an entire 20 minutes alternating "Do you want chocolate" and "My boo-boo hurts" while E and I tried to ignore it. Below is a recording (not much of a visual video, we just wanted to capture the audio):


Poor Oakes was truly trying to sleep all this time. Finally at 11:40pm, she conked out and at 12:30am we were pulling into our driveway. 

Our house is very empty now: boxes, mattresses, and some suitcases. We are busy cleaning out the garage now and wrapping up loose ends. Oh, and I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but the house is rented and renters move in on the 1st. Yay!

Also - for those of you who've asked, yes we will definitely be keeping up with the blog while we are away. It seems the most unobtrusive way to let those of you who want to follow our adventures, do so. If you have signed up for the email alerts but aren't getting them, let me know and I'll manually enter you into the system. It doesn't seem to be working 100% right now...