What is going on with Belgium? Well, to start with, here is the timeline so far:
April 2, 2014: Ben started a new job with Wynright Corporation. (If you want to know what they do, here is their website: http://wynright.com/.)
April 3 or 4, 2014: Ben received an e-mail asking if he spoke French. He replied that he didn't, but his wife did. When he asked why, he learned that the company was looking for a Project Manager at an installation in a client's warehouse in Belgium. Would he be interested in being considered?
April 4-20ish: Total limbo. I was excited but not able to tell very many people what was being considered. Our kids didn't even know. I think I told my parents (who told my brothers), and that's about it. As time went on, we considered that the chances of us moving to Belgium were dropping to about 20%.
April 20ish: Ben went on a business trip to California where he actually met the people at the office. (Yes, it was the first time. Wynright has an employee in Utah with whom Ben had been working for a long time doing data analysis, so they hired him on Jim's recommendation without even meeting him.) After meeting him, they were very impressed. Our chances of moving to Belgium increased to about 80%. We told the kids and everyone else on facebook.
April 30ish: Ben went to Belgium for the first time. I was left home scrambling to do passports and start all the paperwork. We were foolishly optimistic that we could move to Belgium by the beginning of June. In retrospect, how naive we were.
May 21: Ben and I both flew to Belgium. I was shocked and amazed because my dream of spending our 15th anniversary in Europe came true. Awesome! Ben worked every day, and I spent time researching houses, cars, schools, and how much things would cost like bikes.
May 31: I returned home, leaving Ben in Belgium.
June 15: Ben moved into the house we had selected.
So now what? Well, in short, paperwork stinks. In order for Ben to work in Belgium full-time for a year or so, he needs to have a work permit and a long-term visa. We can't apply for the visa until the work permit is issued. Ben and I also have to have FBI background checks,which take about a month to process. I started mine a couple of weeks ago, but Ben only found one place in Belgium to do his fingerprints. They do them once a week on Monday mornings. He learned this on Tuesday 2 weeks ago, and the office was closed for holiday the following Monday. He finally submitted his fingerprints this week. Ben can't be in Europe when the work permit is submitted for approval, so he is returning home on Sunday, June 22 until his work permit is accepted. He will then return to Belgium until he needs to appear at the consulate in Los Angeles to apply for the visa. Once we all have visas, we will be moving.
Meanwhile, the kids and I are cleaning and packing. We are also doing doctor, optometrist, and dentist visits to make sure everyone is healthy and has new glasses (if necessary) before we leave.
This near-month of separation has been hard, but I'm so grateful for modern technology! As I talk to Ben several times a day and video chat frequently, I wonder at the pioneer women who sent their husbands on missions for indeterminate lengths of time with nothing but the possibility of letters to connect them. Ben and I haven't been separated this long since our own missions. I have been blessed with extra patience and have acquired a greater admiration for all single parents. I don't know how they do it. At least I haven't had to hold down a job this month. I have had several days of training someone, but that's it.
So that's it! Stay tuned for updates as we get them, and I'll try to post some pictures soon of our earlier trip and of our awesome house. (Finding it was a whole story in itself.)
In the meantime, some prayers for fast paperwork would be appreciated. We can't wait to reunite our family on the other side of the Atlantic.