Monday, March 23, 2009

Not a worry in the world...

lately I have been more or less accused of taking this upcoming move too lightly.
It is on purpose that I say 'accused'. Dutch people do have a tendency of looking at things while coming up with all possible ways why it might turn out to be a disaster.
And the Dutch love sharing those possibilities. Best part of that is afterwards coming up with the sentence: "I don't want to be the one telling you afterwards I told you so, so you better be prepared for it, because it is very possible it all may go wrong...."

And I have been hearing that too much lately. All possible scenario's came up already just to make sure I will be prepared for the worst.

Turns out that the effect is the opposite from what seems to be their goal.
I will not share my concerns with them, but will tell them that we will do great, we won't miss the Netherlands, my family will come over and there hardly are any differences between PA and my part of the Netherlands.

Well, bullsh.. of course.

Leaving the country you were born and lived for 45 years isn't easy and will be very hard at times.
Of course I have my worries, mostly for my son who will have to get used to a whole new life without his family, without his schoolmates and in a country of which he doesn't speak the language very well yet. He will have to go to school in a system he doesn't know on an age that usually isn't the easiest part of life.
Still, I know my teenager as a wonderful smart and intelligent boy that adjusted to some big changes the last few years and all I can do right now is hope that he will do well. He has the right mindset and wants to come with me, has had the opportunity to look around a bit already and until now liked what he saw.
He is still at the age that it is easier to adjust than when you are already set in your ways.

As I am....
Over the last few months I realized that it is usually people younger than I am who jump into deep water. And several of those have had it really rough getting adjusted.
There are certain things I will miss very much, there are things that I worry about if I think about. The biggest one is not having the freedom of getting to know the area by myself, go out and about since I don't have a drivers license and getting on the bike to go groceries shopping won't be an option.
After living on my own for some time now I love my freedom to go as I like.
I have very much enjoyed my adventures getting on the train and traveling to the other side of the country without having to depend on other people as I had to do for 20 years.
I worry on how I will handle the fact I will have to depend on Jack for every step out of the house for a while.

I also worry about my family, if they will be able to come over to visit.
And to be honest,I doubt if any of my sisters will be able to come over and visit us.
I worry about keeping in contact with them, since it already seems to be very hard to keep the contact going now. It will be hard missing them even though we don't seem that close.
I will miss my parents visits when they have been shopping in town and drop in for a cup of tea, it won't be that easy anymore.

And there will be many little things, like 'nasi kruiden', yoghurt that is different than I am used to, having to get used to Fahrenheit and ounces instead of Celsius and grammen.

There will be times that I won't be able to find the words to tell Jack why I am mad, or happy. There will be times I won't be able to explain why I feel like crying when there seems no reason.
There will be times that I will show signs of being homesick.

But do I have to make that a big deal now?
Do I have to start saying to people: Yes, you are right, it will be hard, maybe we shouldn't do it, because maybe it might not work?


Because knowing there may be hard times is something else than giving up before it even started. It is totally different from having faith in the future I feel we have as a couple and a family.
We are leaving a lot behind, but we are also gaining a whole new life.There will be wonderful times ahead also, we already know of many things we do love when we are there. We will be fine. We love each other.
And fully counting on Jack's support and help to guide us, you might actually wonder who should be worried here, us, or Jack, LOL

So there, I said it now.
You can stop coming up with all kind of doom scenario's.
Because we are going, no matter what you come up with.

Friday, March 20, 2009

We are planning a wedding

Eeks, I know, I am in shock also.
But I guess we are, actually planning a wedding.

If you want to find out more about white dresses and flower arrangements...
Don't look here.
We'll do it our way.

More to follow soon.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

60 days

Exactly 60 days ago today we got our first NOA.
And in those 60 days every bit of information we got on the procedure, the length of it, changed.
We have seen people being approved in less than 90 days, which makes you wonder, how close are we getting?
Will we be the lucky ones that get it all done fast and without too much trouble?
Or will we be like those couples who are waiting for 6 months now on their approval.

In the meantime I am just trying to get ready for it from my side, Jack from his side.
Most things have to be done here, but with a visit coming up, Jack made the appointment with the school my son will be going to.

One of the hardest things I had to do up to now is giving up most of my volunteer work.
Since I was in the board of GINN, it wasn't something I just could drop and walk away from. Some time ago we were so lucky to find someone who would be doing great taking over the lead, so we started working together and 2 weeks ago she officially took over the job.
After 9 years of volunteer work, of which around 5 years it was an almost full time job, it feels strange to come home and not turn on the pc because I have to.
Believe me, I still do turn on the pc, out of habit.
But instead of 50 to 80 e-mails to answer, there are maybe 10 a day now, of which 3 at least are spam.
LOL, I shouldn't complain, GINN is in great hands with a wonderful board, people who over the years became friends to me.
But the last week I did get a touch of the empty nest syndrome.
Which got worse since my right arm still is pretty useless.

I need to find stuff to do. First I tried watching tv, but I found out that even though the amount of channels may have more than doubled, 2 times nothing is still nothing.
And the news still is just as depressing as it was 5 years ago. Unfortunately reading isn't working either since my eyes aren't what they used to be.

I'm playing Bubbels
Left handed. And I am getting pretty darn good at it.

Oh, and Cara found the covers I put in the flight kennels today and decided that it makes a good place to curl up.
She is also getting ready.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Can't keep up

There is so much going on right now, I am trying to take it one at a time.
First of all, it doesn't help that just over 3 weeks ago, my bike went down on a concrete parking lot, taking me with it.
After gasping for air for a few minutes, I went back on the bike thinking that would be the last of it.
Why I ended up asking my Dad to drive me to the hospital last Friday?
Well, just over a week ago, my right arm that had been painful for those weeks, got slammed against a car door. The pain in my arm doubled fast after that.
Which is why they had to make sure nothing had broken inside the elbow.
Anyway, nothing is broken, but something is hurting pretty bad, so I am looking at therapy now.

In the meantime, I wasn't able to work. Which makes the time frame left for the course I was going to take, too narrow.
Would have had to start much later and it looks like our Visa may be adjudicated a lot earlier than was expected at first.
Right now, we may expect approval from the USCIS the end of May, beginning of June. Soon after that things will start rolling here in the Netherlands, meaning we have to get our stuff ready for that.

Moving in the last weeks of my son's summer vacation looks like a real possibility now.
If VSC (Vermont Service Center) keeps up the good work, than the date we get our visa may even be a bit earlier.
On the other hand, we also might turn out to be one of those couples whose visa journey takes a year instead.

This is why I have two huge kennels in my living room right now, so the girls can get used to them already. They arrived last week.
Regulations to bring dogs over looked pretty easy at first, but it turns out to be quite a challenge.
Both my dogs are sight hounds, meaning they are lightweights, with pretty long legs and necks. This caused some confusion over the kennels we need.
KLM wants a kennel high enough to have 10 cm above the dogs head when it is standing up.
If we would have gone for that, we would have had to have kennels made. Very expensive. And they would have been so huge, 3 of my dogs would have fitted into the kennels.
But it is already clear the dogs won't fly through KLM, they are so much more expensive than most airlines. After looking into it, it will probably use an American airline flying from Brussels.
The kennels I have are the biggest most airlines allow. Common sense tells me they are to big, but after reading through the guides of different airlines, this was the best option.
And these are IATA certified.
Now my bank account needs some time to recover.

Because the next step will be vaccinations...
Not for the dogs, nah, my turn.
For some reason my records are gone and since I am too old (ugh, ugh) the records weren't kept at the GGD.
I will have to get my shots, just like the dogs....
To keep the costs at a minimum, my own doctor will give them to me, instead of having them done at the medical in Amsterdam.

And in the meantime, I am selling stuff that I won't take with me.
So if anyone wants a pair of leather pants in perfect shape, or a good leather jacket...saying good bye to memories.

So much going on and so much more to come.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Expect the Unexpected

It seems every time we plan a trip we encounter unexpected issues that could potentially change our plans. We both have had dog babysitting issues, I had the company I worked for get taken over by another and that caused some panic. We planned a trip during soaring oil prices and air tickets were going through the roof. Now, it is just the general world economy that has everyone scared. Through it all it always seems to find a way to work out and to be very honest, we have been very fortunate that we have been able to be together as much as we have. Petra has been in the US 4 times, 3 of them with her son and I have been to the Netherlands 3 times all within the past 19 months. Pretty good I think.

Now we have our latest trip planned for the end of April. Petra and her son will be coming over for the first time during the spring season. We need to meet with the school that her son will attend here and start to get those arrangements made. We will find other things to do also. I checked what is going on here during their trip and was happy to see that there are a couple of things locally that I think we could enjoy.

Greyhounds in Gettysburg is being held during that time so that is an obvious one for us. I think Petra will be very interested in seeing how these events are held over here compared to what she is used to in The Netherlands. And yes, they do dress the dogs up for a parade. LOL

Another local event is the annual Apple Blossom Festival near Gettysburg. That area is one of the largest apple growing regions in the USA and the trees should all be in bloom and covering the hills and valleys for as far as you can see. It's an old fashion country festival and should also be pretty interesting for them to see if for no other reason than to get a good laugh at all of the ways apples are used in food. My favorite is the apple dumpling.

Since we are only about 1 1/2 hours from Washington DC I hope we can go there as well and see the Air and Space Museum and other Smithsonian museums.

We'll all survive this terrible economy we have currently and our plans will move forward. No one ever promised us that something so good would be easy. These vacation trips have been great fun but I can't wait for the day that we plan them together from the same place.