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Since the last time I wrote anything here, a number of significant things have happened. We sold our house (via word of mouth – thank you Steve!) and have since closed on the house and gotten rid of a lot of our possessions. As I write we are in the last hour of a two-day yard sale which has been quite successful thanks to the abundance of sunshine which defied the predictions for a weekend of rain.

I also now have four new visas in my passport. We spent an hour and forty-five minutes waiting in line at the Chinese consulate in Chicago to get the Chinese tourist visas. The Vietnam visas were mail-ordered. The visas for Cambodia were applied for online and emailed to us. And on May 21 we went back to the British consulate in Chicago,
and got my UK settlement visa. The gentleman to whom we explained our situation informed us that we saved $530 by applying in February: in the last three months the application fee had gone up from $520 to $1050. Eek! So even though we had to make an extra trip to the consulate, we were in Chicago anyway (for the excellent Arcade Fire concert at the Chicago Theatre) and it was definitely worth it for the money we saved!

Our house is getting very empty now. It’s a little sad. We sold a number of things – including our dining room table – on Facebook. (Go Facebook Marketplace!) Friends and family took a lot off of our hands as well. In the next few days the major task is sorting through what’s left and deciding what to do with the stuff that we’re not having the movers haul off to London for us. We also still need to sell our car. Know anyone who might want to buy a 2003 Mazda Protege? It’s a great car and we’re looking to make a deal!

Another major thing that has happened in the last week is that after 12 years of professional work in the Admissions Office (plus another two as a student worker before that), I had my last day of work at Calvin College. A lot of people have asked me how I feel about that. It’s hard to say because I still haven’t really had that much time for it to sink in, and I don’t know that it will really hit me until sometime next September when we’re settling into some semblance of normal life again albeit normal life in totally new setting. There are certainly aspects about working at Calvin that I will miss a lot – mostly the people there who are so dear to me. Twelve years was a good run, though, and having anticipated my last day for a good 18 months, it felt like the right time.

Plans for our Big Trip Around The World are pretty much in place. One week from tomorrow we will fly from Chicago to San Jose, and the adventures will begin. Keep an eye on this space for stories and highlights from the other side of world!

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