Last time I dusted off the laptop and posted a word or two we were waiting to find out where in the world we’ll be living this time next year. Obviously you’ve all been clicking ‘refresh’ constantly since then in a frenzy of anticipation so I thought it was about time I put you out of your misery. Josh’s name was not picked out of the U.S. green card lottery so Seattle has to wait. Amazon offered Berlin, we asked for The Hague, they countered with Vancouver and we settled on Dublin. The lucky country to be honoured with our presence will, once again, be Ireland.
We were tempted by Vancouver, yes we were. We’ve been there before and I have to say it’s my all-time favourite city. The backdrop of mountains and foreground of sea, the Sea to Sky Highway out of town, it’s all some kind of magical. It was offered to us on the grounds that it’s only two hours from Seattle, the assumption being that after working for Amazon for twelve months elsewhere Josh will be taking advantage of their internal transfer option to arrive at the original job in Seattle without the pesky lottery thing coming into play again. But then we thought, no. Two hours and a different country, it’s not as though the kids will be able to stay at the same schools or hang out with the same friends. It would be a long commute. And there’s nothing that we could do or see from Vancouver that we can’t from Seattle when we eventually get there. No, we thought, if we have to go to two different places they might as well be different places. We can spend a year in Ireland and look around Europe as much as we’re able, then go to Seattle and look around North America.
Things might change, of course. We may love Ireland and just stay there. We may pick somewhere completely different after that – Amazon has offices almost literally in every country you can think of. We might hate it all and just come home. There are no guarantees. But we’ve lived in Dublin before and we loved it, so it’s as good a start as any.
So the Emerald Isle it is. Birthplace of Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, and Amy. Home of Waterford crystal, Bailey’s Irish Whiskey and the Troubles. Dublin, the dirty old town (that’s not me being rude, it’s a song. Although, at least last time we were there, it was totally true) where Molly Malone sells cockles and mussels in perpetuity and public art is honoured with the peculiar habit of rhyming nicknames:
Now all that remains is to wait for Josh’s work permit (and, you know, to shift ourselves and all our stuff to the other side of the world and get our house into a fit state to rent out but I’m in denial about all that). And I really do mean wait. First we had to renew all our passports which is not cheap, let me tell you. We also renewed Amy’s Irish one so that she can have the pleasure of sitting and waiting for us on the other side of customs at Heathrow and Dublin airports. With the news that N.Z. passports will soon be valid for ten years again (just in time for us to NOT benefit) and the usual complaints about the cost of them came the assurance that they’re charged on a cost recovery basis only and nobody’s making a profit. About that I have one thing to say: How, then, can the Irish Internal Affairs Department renew an Irish one for the total sum of N.Z.$50, including international couriering both ways, when the N.Z. passport office can’t do it in Wellington for less than $80? Hmph.
So we staggered through the process of achieving seven passports and Josh filled in the necessary form, signed it and couriered it to Ireland at great cost where it was sent on to Amazon’s lawyers in London. Where it stayed gathering dust while first the lawyer then the paralegal went on holiday. By the time they’d all arrived back, tanned and hung over, it had been so long that the Immigration Department had changed the form and Josh’s filled in one was outdated and unacceptable. So they sent him another which he printed out, filled in, signed – again – and sent back. As part of the form-filling process they wanted the original working visas on which we entered Ireland thirteen years ago and the stamps in our passports showing that we’d left when we were supposed to.
Luckily I knew exactly where Josh’s passport-before-last, covering the relevant time period, was. He’d given it to Daniel to play with some years ago and it was in the toy box. Of course. So I dug it out and here’s what we found on the relevant page:
Yes. I dared Josh to scan the whole page and send it but he’s a bit boring about things like that. The one good thing I will say about the whole deal is that along the way I discovered that New Zealand passports are among the most valuable in the world and each one is worth $50,000 on the black market. It gives me a bit of reassurance that if it all goes horribly wrong overseas and Josh gets fired or something we’ll have a nest egg to fall back on.
Anyhoo. Because the new form that Josh had to fill in is, well, new, it’s going to take them 6-8 weeks to process rather than the previous 3-4. I asked Josh how different it is and he said, not at all, as far as he can see. Which leads me to wonder whether in 6-8 weeks they’re going to realise that he was sent the same old one twice and the new one zero times, and the process has to start all over again. Down that thought path lies madness so I won’t even start.
So there we are. Sometime in the next month or two Josh will, hopefully, get a work permit, work out the four weeks’ notice at his current job, and leave just before Christmas. Or, if he’s lucky, just after. The kids and I will finish the school year, spend Christmas with the grandparents, attend a couple of family events in January and follow after that into the northern hemisphere winter and a completely new life. The good thing is it’s still far enough in the future that I can enjoy daydreaming about it – I believe I’ve already mentioned the lemon meringue chocolate bars at Marks & Spencer and the cafe in Scotland where you eat cake for charity – without having to face the reality and get scared. Denial, you’re my best friend.