You know how when you are planning out a big project, you think about all the contingencies. What if water buffalo stampede our camp site? What if the Imperials intercept our droid and overrun our rebel base? What if the baby grows a moustache and Santa can no longer recognize him? You know all the silly stuff that almost never happens, but you should plan for anyways? Yeah. Our percentage is WAY up from the norm. BUT. No water buffalo, rebel bases or baby moustaches were harmed in the making of this London Journey.
So much has happened in the last week that I am not even sure where to start. What seemed like minor disasters last week are barely blips in looking back. I am fairly certain that if we had not been through the process of moving to Germany, we would have fled for the hills by now. On the other hand, there are so many cool little details that I want to share- the stuff that makes this whole Adventure thing worth doing.
For instance, once the temperamental Polish movers had finally settled their labor dispute and taken all our stuff, there was literally no place to sit in the old apartment except for the toilets. We all took turns taking a break as we cleaned, cleaned, cleaned.
British people are incredibly ready to stop and give you directions, even if you only seem a little bit lost. Sort of nice.
British roads are typically horrible. You might think that main arteries through one of the most major cities in the world would have more than 2 lanes. But, you would be mostly wrong. Driving 6 miles to the Ikea in the next big town over took us 40 minutes of screaming horror. The backwards driving stuff, of course, makes everything more tense. But, it is the aggressive British drivers, tiny roads, which become one lane when cars park at the sides, and the complete impossibility of figuring out what road you are on that make it hellish. Our rental car came with a GPS which saved our bacon more than once….. It also, though, frequently deposited us in back alley-ways and dead ends and construction zones with no clue how to get out… Seriously, if you don’t HAVE to drive in London, DONT drive in London.
Ah, but maybe I should share some of the MAJOR events.
First, the good news. David was approved by the British government for a slot in this month’s immigration pool. YAY. This means that we are now going through the process that I outlined last time. David, Audric and I are in Berlin, filling out paperwork and cooling our heels until we get the all clear to head back to London.
HOWEVER, We discovered that Morgaine CANNOT come into the country under David’s work visa because she is 18. She has to get a visa of her own. For now, she is under a visitor’s 6 month visa. But, we need to get her set up with a private school of some kind because she needs a student visa and cannot get one through the public schools (nor is she allowed to attend them). Also, if she leaves the country before she gets set up with a sponsor, for instance for our little Berlin jaunt, they may think she is trying to pull Shennanigans and deny her access. We could literally get stuck in an airline terminal like Tom Hanks. All this was laid out to us about 24 hours before we were scheduled to fly out to Germany. So, we kicked it into high gear. We unpacked enough of the house to be functional, bought enough food to get her started, had keys made, got her a bus pass, set her up with local contacts for emergencies and support (THANK YOU FLORIAN, Once again!), and generally did everything we could to make it possible for DD to spend a couple weeks testing out her Grown Up wings at home…. our new home… in a new country. Yeah, not exactly the way we hoped for that to go, but, we know she is a capable young woman. So far, from what we can tell, she seems to be doing great. So proud of everyone for doing what had to get done.
The other major event was not so easily handled, I am afraid. When we arrived in Berlin, we learned that my Step-mother, Connie, had been in a serious car crash. She literally lost all her blood, broke her pelvis and an arm and had major internal injuries. Latest word is that she has been stabilized, but has a long road ahead. She has been through so much, and it just seems incredibly unfair for this to happen now. But, we are encouraged by the most recent reports. It is incredibly hard being unable to be with the family, especially my dad, right now. For all those affected, please know love and light are pouring across the Atlantic as I type.
So, I guess now I will share a few more photos and a few more tidbits. Unfortunately, we have had some major technical and internet issues. This hotel has much better internet than the last one, but for some reason, I am still unable to easily upload photos. It took me an hour to grab the ones I am sharing today. I have many many more, but we will need to share those when we figure out how to do it.
So, just to finish catching up, we are currently staying in a nice Best Western in the old Eastern side of Berlin, very near Mitte, Checkpoint Charlie, etc. We have our appointment with the visa folks on Tuesday, and then depending on how that goes, we will be here between another 10-15 days. We are trying to eat cheap, because this whole process is insanely expensive, so we have stashes of bread and snacks and such in the wardrobe of our hotel room. Classy, I know, but you do what you have to do. We watched a BBC report on the Refugee crises last night and were seriously grateful that we have this lovely warm place to stay and a lawyer to help us get through what we need to get through. But, I have to admit, this gives us a whole other perspective on what those folks are experiencing. I cannot imagine fleeing war, but the frustration with the coldness of the harsh bureaucracy is vivid. Sorry, your 18 year old must forge her own way? Too cruel. Families don’t work like that. We have family friends who immigrated to the US from Africa and family members trickled across over the course of years and years. The sacrifice and separation of people just trying to forge a better life is awful. When folks like the people coming from Syria are actually fleeing for their lives, it takes on a whole other dimension. We need to do better, world. We really do.
Ok, well, I do have more stable internets, so hopefully I will be able to post more regular updates again- with or without photos. Please send your good thoughts and prayers to Connie. And, if you can spare a few more, to Morgaine, and the rest of us, too.