Friday, October 30, 2009


Just a quick shout out to my awesome husband! He just found out today that he got a scholarship! He is one in only five out of a class of approximately 50 to get it. We are thrilled...things are really started to shape up nicely! Man, we are feeling blessed these days! :-)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Today I had an extremely close call...too close. After I got the unexpected phone call I had such a surge of pot-luck emotions that I literally cried (and I'm not the kind to normally cry over things like this) for about a 1/2 hour. After I explained to Mike what had happened (in between hiccups and bursts of sobs) he felt relief...and a little frustrated, too. As I said, it took me a little time, but I composed myself and got the necessary things taken care of. I got some needed help from my mother, went to the bank, wrote a letter, faxed some forms and my close shave should now be on the road to go-ville.

So...what was this all about?


Shudder, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach just writing that word!

Since Mike and I got married three years ago we have had our fare share of...we'll say 'exposure' the immigration process. Thankfully Mike has always been fastidious in his paper work, so although it is a pain and somewhat expensive, it hasn't been that bad.

Well, with the whole move to Scotland planned in two months, it's been my turn to experience it. Again, thankfully, we have tried to be fastidious about the required paperwork and we have started very early to ensure we don't run into any last minute problems. SO...about 6 weeks ago I sent in my paperwork applying for a Settlement VISA which should allow me to stay in the UK with my family for a number of years.

This sounds much more simple than it has actually been...but I will spare you the incredibly inane details. Suffice it to say that this Settlement Visa is my second attempt to get it right, their website it NOT (NOT, NOT) as "self- explanatory" for people in funky situations like ours, and it has cost us A LOT of time and MONEY! OH...and I do need to say that before I sent this one off, I called a supposed, "helpful" hotline, which costs $3 a minute, and I spoke to a woman with a very thick Indian accent who assured me (twice, in two separate phone calls) that I had filled out the correct VISA and included the correct information.

So...I sent it....

6 weeks later I get this phone call:

ME: Hello?
BRITISH WOMAN: Hello, this is "so-n-so" from the British Consulate General in LA. I have some questions about your VISA application.

ME:OK, great, we've been curious about that.
BRITISH WOMAN: I don't understand your husband in the US or the UK?

ME: He's in the U.S. but he is a british citi...
BRITISH WOMAN (cutting me off): Emily, listen, stop...I know he is a citizen, you sent me that information, I need to know if he is in the UK.

ME: Uh..NO...I...
BRITISH WOMAN: Is he in the UK?

ME: NO! He is here in the US with me.
BRITISH WOMAN: SLIGHT PAUSE Why did you fill out a settlement visa?

ME: Because I tried the "other" one (I'll spare you the details of the "other one") and I spoke to someone who told me this was the only...
BRITISH WOMAN: You can't apply for this VISA if your husband isn't in the UK.

ME: That is exactly the opposite of what I was told...I called TWICE to confirm...
BRITISH WOMAN: Emily, stop, doesn't matter. Look, I would normally have denied this VISA right away and...if I had, then you wouldn't be able to reapply for a new one for two years. But I thought I should call you first, because your application was confusing.

Right then my emotions changed from severe annoyance at her constant usage of my name (especially when I was talking perfectly calm and being completely cooperative) to complete shock and immense gratitude. I also felt sick to my stomach...I still kind of do.

ME: I'm sorry it is confusing, I assure I would have not sent it to you if I didn't think it was in order.
BRITISH WOMAN: (Tone getting friendlier)I think I see where the confusion came. Look, if you can fax me X,Y,Z in the next hour then I can use what you sent and I'll get your Visa processed.

ME: Really? Thank you so much.

She then proceeded to explain what I needed to do and re-emphasize certain laws and then she gave me the clincher, sending me into an emotional spin of realizing the bullet we just dodged:

BRITISH WOMAN: Oh...and could you fax a copy of your sons British Passport? I see here that he's still little and that's what actually made me decide to call you. I don't like to separate families.

I about started sobbing on the phone as the realization of what could have happened smacked me across the head like a ton of bricks.

After I got everything in order and faxed those precious forms, Mike and I proceeded to talk about how terribly wrong that could have gone. If she hadn't called, I could not live in Scotland for two years! That would mean Mike would have to got to school somewhere else. Not too bad, really, but we have SO MUCH invested in this already, not to mention that this school is exactly where Mike wanted to go...his number 1 choice. So then other options...I could live here, with my parents, while he went to school and I would have to take Andrew and travel back and forth under the restriction of my passport. (Only allows you to stay in three month increments).

Anyway, there are multiple other options, but you get the idea of how close we came to a big disaster! I'm not going to lie, my first feelings were pure frustration, I was feeling extremely loathsome to our "friends" across the pond and wondered why on earth we have been planning this incredibly stressful, practically unknown MOVE over there?! WHY?!

And then I felt the peace...I know that we were extremely blessed today. I know that Heavenly Father was watching out for our little family...we were simply too close to have made it without His help. Maybe now I'm supposed to say that after this "I know" this where Heavenly Father wants us to go. be honest I can't say that, I don't know if that's how it works every time. However, I can tell you what I do know, and it's that He IS always there. He certainly was today. I feel sick thinking about what we would now be facing if she hadn't called, or if she would have automatically denied my Visa, like she normally would. OR what if I hadn't heard the phone ring, or my cell phone dropped the call like it often does?

Perhaps there is a 'greater' purpose for our move but I like to think that it's more a confirmation that we made a good decisions for our family, and that--as in all things--Heavenly Father was there to help us follow through after everything in our power still ended up short. There are still some hurdles to go through and I'm sure I haven't seen the last of our immigration woes but it's been a good lesson...a good reminder. I am feeling so very grateful today.

P.S. I am also so much more sympathetic to immigrants, legal or otherwise...I feel your pain!!! I never thought I would be here either! Keep going!! :-)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Alright...we are back!

Hi! So, it is always so hard to find time to do everything you want in a day. Right?! For the last month or so I have been trying to organize and write out important experiences in my journal which is why I took some time off the blogging. See, it seemed like whenever I took the time to write a post, it took away from the time I should have used for keeping a journal hence....the blog break. However, now that I am "caught up" (as caught up as I hope to be anyway)I have decided to try an combine the journal with the blogging. I know, it sounds so cliche (I read 'seriously so blessed' too) but I have a friend who informed me of a website that can digitally create a scrapbook/memory journal using blog posts so...I believe that would be the answer to my time crunch problems. So...that means (and a really do apologize for those who will think think boring)that I will try to post more little things about our everyday keep it for the "journal". Again, sorry if it's boring but hey, you don't have to read it, right?!

Anyway, so now that I've stated my intentions I wanted to give a brief update on the Scotland happenings. It's getting closer and closer! Just a little over two months away from the big move! Mike's parents were kind enough to spend a weekend in Aberdeen to scope out the area for us...give us an idea of where it's best to locate housing, etc. They wrote an email about their visit a few weeks ago and it made me so excited I wanted to share a little excerpt from my kind father-in-law:

Hi Mike & Emily

We have returned from our journey of discovery. Being totally unfamiliar with Scotland, we were somewhat surprised by it. We expected the area below Edinburgh to be the same as Northumberland, but thought that by the time we reached Aberdeen, 200 miles north of us, we would be into hills and mountains and glens and lochs. Shows you how much we know! The Highlands are on the west coast, Aberdeen and area could be anywhere in England!

It's known as the granite city, for that is what it's built of. Happily there are lots of trees and open spaces to relieve the grey of the buildings. It's a very compact city which means it doesn't take you long to get places. There isn't the suburban sprawl you get with most cities. The countryside stops, the city begins and nowhere are you far from the former or from water. The city sits between two large rivers,the Don and the Dee, with the sea forming a third side. However they apparently have a problem with water shortage, which means building is restricted and hence I suppose the high cost of property.

We liked the city and think you will too, particularly since there seems to be an exceptional amount of sporting facilities. The university obviously has a sports centre, but then there's another one almost next door and a dry ski slope opposite, with a cycle track converted from an old railway line behind, a skating rink on the sea front and football and rugby pitches everywhere, as well as other sports centres. There's a long sandy beach with a large fun fair - a bit like an overlarge Newquay.

Robert Gordon University, or at least the bit you will be at, is about 6 years old, beautifully situated on the banks of the River Dee. There's the sports centre, classrooms for medical related subjects, a business school and art college, library and book shop, a doctor's surgery and a very nice nursery. Next door is a small shopping centre with Boots, Sainsbury's, Comet, etc.

We stayed on the outskirts of the city in a very old part of what used to be a fishing village. The single storey fishing cottages with their narrow lanes are still there and they still fish for lobster and crabs. The coast at that point is very rocky and the water apparently deep as I stood and watched some young lads tombstoning, egged on by their dad.

(From Dad):

I love the way he writes! So, it sounds like a great place and I'm really excited to discover it for ourselves! BUT we do want to make sure everyone knows...we would love to have visitors! (Hint, hint, nudge, nudge) So if anyone is looking for a great vacation, we will have a place to stay in Scotland (that is if we are able to find housing first...but I'm sure that will be a post for another time.)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I'll explain the bloggin absence...

Hi! I just wanted to write a quick post to stay I apologize to those of you who actually ready this about our major lack of posting recently. The things is that I have given myself a little blogging hiatus so that I can concentrate on a few other things I have desperately needed to get done. Those said this are nearly finished so I plan to begin blogging again in another weeks or so. I meant to mention this earlier so sorry that it's late! Anyway, we are all doing great although we have lots of catching up to do. We hope everyone is well!

We'll be bloggin again soon! :-)