This update is slightly overdue; but the delay has proven to be a good thing, as there is more positive news to report. In the previous update, we were still in Cincinnati trying to get everything packed into boxes and then into the moving truck. The packing process went much better than we imagined, and we even had room to spare in the truck.
The cleaning process, however, took much longer than we anticipated. It is one thing to clean a 1600-sq/ft house when it is loaded down with all the living amenities; it is entirely another thing to clean such a house when it is completely empty. Ironically, it took us a bit longer. This unexpected time delayed our departure from Cincinnati to Atlanta by 3 hours.
Once everything was scrubbed, dusted, vacuumed, and washed, we walked out of our apartment for the last time at 3:15p on Sunday, 24-Aug. Jenn, with our exuberant little cat, Zoë, took charge of the Mini Cooper (which is for sale, by the way) and I braved the 16′ moving truck, which was certainly a chore to handle. After 8.5 hours of driving–the final 2 being saturated with the residual effects of tropical storm Fay–we arrived safely at my parent’s house.
We wanted to sleep in the following morning, which was something we both could have used, but the moving truck had to be returned by 3:00p. So, Jenn and I, with some help from various family members, unloaded the entire truck at three different houses. (We truly have too much stuff for two people; though I admit that the bulk of it is my collection of books). The only bit of frustration about the unpacking process was that it happened to be in the low 90s, a high humidity, and sporadic doses of rain.
In the days that followed, we began to wonder how long it would take to hear from the British Consulate regarding our visas. Then, out of nowhere, we received an e-mail (on 28-Aug) informing us that Jenn’s application was approved; mine, however, was not (yet). This news was bittersweet. They interestingly told us that my application had to be sent and processed at the New York office. (This after my contact at the Chicago office told me to send both to Chicago). Thankfully, the Chicago office went ahead and forward all of our information to New York (for a small fee). It once again became a waiting game.
In the meantime, we began pursuing the other concerns we need to address during our time at home–the chief being establishing a bank account that will help us in the future (both immediate and distant). We “interviewed” four different banks before we settled on Washington Mutual (aka: WaMu). One of the key selling points for us was that WaMu offered free wire-transfers; although, there is a third-party bank involved who will certainly take a small cut. This benefit will certainly assist us as we have to pay some bills shortly after we arrive in the UK. (We will also need to establish a bank account once we’re in the UK, which I understand can be a difficult process for internationals).
One of the larger bits of good news that we received was that we were awarded a grant from a local church. They were more than gracious to us, and we are forever indebted to them for their contributions. Shortly thereafter, we learned that the University of Gloucestershire instituted a new option for payment with respect to international students. Originally, there was only one real option: all international students had to pay the entire year’s tuition before the program starts. The new option offers a 50/50 split of payments–one half before the first term, and the other half before the second term. This option relieves a lot of stress that has been upon us lately.
This morning, I finally heard back from the British Consulate regarding my visa. I was approved! Jenn and I tried our best to contain our excitement, but our best was not enough. (We even scared the cat right out of her deep sleep). The only potential glitch right now is that we’re afraid that they will send all of the information to our Cincinnati address, which would be a bad thing. It would be bad because the package needs to be signed for, and there is no one there to do so. I faxed both the Chicago and New York offices and asked if they could reroute the shipment to here in Atlanta. We’ll see what happens.
As I mentioned before, we are trying to sell Jenn’s 2005 Mini Cooper. If there are any interested buyers in the Atlanta area, please contact me as soon as possible. If there are any interested buyers who are willing to buy it from afar, feel free to contact me as well. As much as we hate to see the car go, we both know it is something that needs to happen.
That is all for now. We will certainly keep updating as we learn more regarding our plans.