Friday, June 20, 2014

The Passport

Well, in order to get the process of this Visa thing going I need a passport.  I had one, but I need to change it to my married name and it had just expired.  All I had to do was fill out the DS-82, (make sure you fit the criteria first to use this form). I got this off the Travel.State.Gov website.  Then I went to the post office and had them look over the form and take my picture.  That was fun because the lady taking my picture was pretty short, she was holding the camera over her head and had to re-do my photo about three times.  I also need two passport photos for my Visa application so I asked for extra copies and she was able to print those off too.  There is an extra fee for the passport photos.  It is not included in the passport fee.  Same government, different departments.  She cut the photo for me and stapled it to my application.  I then had to mail my application, attached photo, original Marriage Certificate (to show proof of name change), and my most recent passport with a check for $170.00 ($110.00/passport, $60.00 to expedite) and mail it all to the special expedited passports address on the application.  Super easy. Expensive, but super easy.  I'm now waiting for my passport to come back so I can continue with getting my Visa paperwork together.  Should take 2-3 weeks.  I am able to check the status if I want at the same website.

The Visa information states that I am not allowed to smile. It messes with the facial recognition software or something?  So I'm trying to keep a straight face.  The postal employee is trying to make me laugh and I did crack a smile but I'm mumbling, "I can't smile!" and he's doing this song and dance thing.  Lucky we got the picture because I was losing hope.

Because of the sudden moving situation I really haven't been focused on Visa paperwork, just the passport and getting packed and moved.  It's been stressful but I'm feeling better about the move, feel much happier in general, and really excited to be moving in with such a wonderful friend who is very accommodating and generous.

Have you or anyone you know gone through this process?  Any tips or advice for me or Vernon?  I'll take everything I can get.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Missing My Husband on a Cold Rainy Day

Today is a very chilly damp day.  I've been trapped in the woods all day waiting to talk to my husband on Google Hangout and the strong winds somehow blew the power out to the house.  It came on again pretty quick but then the internet was out. Thought it would kick in after a few minutes but no luck. I went upstairs and restarted the router, no go.  For the next two hours it was off and on about 3 times.  Can't use my data because there is no mobile service out here.  So, I didn't get to talk to my husband on Father's Day and I didn't get to see him on our usual Sunday Hangout.

I guess the combination of it being Father's Day and it being so cold and crappy out really made me miss Vernon.  The thunder and lightening finally came and it just downpoured in sheets for about 5 minutes.  All I wanted was to be cuddled up with him on the couch.  I was so chilled, and he keeps me warm.

I've been catching up on my shows, which I never have time to watch because of work and not living alone. Vernon sent me a message in between internet outages and said to relax, watch something and take it easy so that is what I'm doing. Even though I'm getting caught up on "The 100" and "Bates Motel" I'm still sad.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day Honey!

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful patient sexy husband.  Every day he loves and guides his two kids, Tom and Yaz as they grow and become responsible adults. They are both parents now and I find it comforting that they have a perfect example to look up to.  This is Diego, the newest member of the Phillips family.  He's getting big fast and so far, Grandad is the only one who can put him to sleep every time.  He does something called the "Diego dance". I can't wait to see that one.  I also love to see Grandad playing with sweet Saffron.  She's old enough to miss him when she hasn't seen him in a while. 

As I've said before, not only is Vernon a great dad to his two kids, he has been the attentive, supportive loving dad that my daughter deserves and never got.  She loves him and wants him to be happy.  She knows that he will always be there for her no matter what.  

Happy Father's Day Honey, I wish I could be there to spend the day with you and all the kids.  Would be an amazing day! I love you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I'm Moving to England!

Never again do I have to endure the extreme pain that this view causes me.  I am moving to England.  This has been something that we have  been talking about for a while and the wheels are finally set in motion.  I am amazed at how difficult and expensive this process is.

 The UK Border Agency has changed their website a few times since we started researching the Visa process and I'm really liking the brand new set up.  Much easier to navigate.  I'm not too fond of the income threshold requirement which was set in place in 2013. I was fearful that we would not meet that, but thankfully we do.  Well, I shouldn't say "we" because they don't care that I make well above the income threshold, they don't care that I am a self sufficient English speaking tax paying American, and they don't care that I have a job and an impressive résumé showing a variety of skills and experience.  They only care about Vernon's income.  We are lucky that he met the threshold so we at least know we wont be denied because of that.  The main areas they will be looking at are:  Finances, Proof of Relationship, Legal Marriage, and me not having a questionable/criminal background or a scary communicable disease.  This process is getting less intimidating the further we go because it's just paperwork isn't it? We don't have to make anything up, we don't have anything to hide, we just have to do what we love doing... telling people about our relationship.

I am a 43 year old mom and I have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years.  I have moved in with my parents and have thrown out, given away or sold most of my belongings, furniture, and household items. That was a very difficult thing for me to do.  I plan on hiring an international mover because I will be bringing along a few boxes and some select pieces of furniture that I am very attached to.  That process will be expensive also.

The MOST difficult part of this will be moving away from my daughter.  She is my world.  We have discussed it and she is not thrilled that I'm moving but she wants me to be happy and she loves Vernon like a dad.  She is attending school at Western Michigan University and her major is English, secondary education. In less than 2 years she will be a teacher somewhere on either coast of the US.  Maybe we can convince her to find a job in the UK? Ha ha, let's get me over there first.

So, not only is this the most stressful, difficult and expensive thing I have ever done in my life, I get offered a little challenge.  I was informed last week that Heidi and I will be homeless at the end of the month.  I cried for days.  Didn't eat much or sleep at all.  I hated everyone except Vernon and Heidi.  I even hated myself because I have finally failed to keep a roof over my kid's head.  In the past we've lived without enough food, months without hot water, managed to live years without a phone, TV, and internet as those items are luxury items, and have gone several days without heat in the brutal UP winters because nobody gives a shit if you are a single mother who can't afford to pay the heat bill, but she always had a roof over her head.  I had nightmares of us living in my car in the parking lot at work. What if people found out? Where would I shower? Nobody wants people in their house, they have stuff to do, family plans, no room, I don't blame them.  Asking the people that I asked was the most humiliating thing I've ever had to do, and they would have helped if they could, but it's not like I'm asking to borrow their lawn mower for the afternoon.  Also, during all of this, my dear husband landed himself in the hospital.  My life was falling apart and getting to the UK seemed impossible now and Vernon is so sick he's in the hospital.  I was afraid to tell him what was going on with me and I ended up doing the selfish thing and dumped my problems onto him.  The thing is, he's the only one I depend on, the only person I can really talk to. He should be, he's my husband. But I should have been a better wife and waited until he was better.  Now he's going to read this and scold me because he wants me to tell him everything that is going on with me, good and bad, because that is the amazing man that he is.  I just know it makes him feel helpless when he can't help me with such problems, just like I feel helpless with him being in the hospital without his wife by his side comforting him.  I will add that mum and dad have been absolutely AMAZING during this time and have taken a lot of the worry and guilt off of me for not being there. Well, Vernon seems to be better and should be getting out tomorrow and I have found a place to live.  A friend has a spare room for me and Heidi and she has already made us feel welcome and wanted; and we haven't even moved in yet.  I don't know if I will ever be able to thank her enough for this.

Another challenge that I faced this week was my boss.  I have been fearing this conversation for months.  How do I tell my boss, who has expanded my skill set, taught me new things, challenged me, and promoted me that I am moving to England?  Well, I did just that and his reaction was that he was happy for me, expecting this conversation sooner or later, and was ready with his answer.  He said I couldn't get away that easy and told me that I would be allowed to work remotely from England after I move.  How amazing is that? I'm going to get to keep my job. I love my job. Thank goodness it's in and IT. Not everyone can do what I have the privilege of doing which is work from home.  That conversation was yesterday, and I think it finally kicked in today because I really haven't been able to enjoy my good news as I have been focused on Vernon and his health.  This weekend we will celebrate and I will give him all the awesome juicy details during our Google Hangout.

Well this is already ridiculously long but I have so much to say. I will keep you posted and try to document this process.  I've been getting help from a fellow blogger/friend who did the same move and has been very supportive, informative and helpful.  One day I hope to do the same for another soon to be expat.