Sunday, October 23, 2011

Selling Subi

So, for a little update. Our preparations are moving along very slowly. We have so much to do, but it's really hard to figure out what to do first and honestly, Chad and I are such bad procrastinators, it makes something like this move very difficult. So, here are a few things we've been doing the past couple of weeks. We've been looking for places to live. This is very difficult since most rental sites are in Danish! We've got google translate bookmarked! Another strange thing about looking for rentals in Denmark is to be able to contact anyone about the listings, you have to pay to use the rentals sites, which run up to $110! Wow! We are really hoping that when Chad goes over in 2 weeks that they'll be able to assist him in finding a place for us to live. I think it'll be such a relief to us once we have that obstacle out of the way. Chad is excited about going to Denmark next month, but nervous too. I'm sure his trip will go just fine.
With us leaving for 3 years, we've decided to sell both our vehicles. Our plan had been to sell the van the beginning of December and use "Subi" until we move. We'd then try to sell it or just donate it. Well, things never go as planned, right? Subi started having problems, so we took it in to see what was going on and the work was going to cost $350-$700! More than the car was worth! The car guy told us he might have someone that would want to buy it, so he gave them our info and we got a car that night. The next day, they came and bought it! We were really torn if this would be the best thing to do since we would be down to just one car. So far so good though. Chad has been able to ride the bus into work and home again with nothing more than a little longer commute and better planning. It was kind of sad to sell Subi though, I've had her for over 10 years now, but she was really falling apart. So, that's one more thing checked off our list.
We also got the kids passports this week. We weren't expecting them back this soon, so it was a pleasant surprise. The problem now is, we need to apply for our visas, but we can't do it until Chad gets back from Denmark, because he needs his passport for the trip. We are worried that we'll be really cutting it close, if the visas take a while. We've been told they should take about 3 weeks, if all goes well, but that doesn't give us a lot of time if things don't go smoothly. Anyway, I'm sure it'll work out alright. Here is a picture of the kids passport pictures. Chad thinks Noah looks like a little terrorist. They had a fun time getting them taken.
So, for now, we are working on making lists of things we are taking with us and we'll probably get a storage unit at the beginning of November to start taking a few things over. So much to do!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

My thoughts on Denmark

I thought I should write a little bit about my feelings over this move. Be prepared, this will be long. First of all, I admit that I'm surprised it's taking place. For almost 2 years now, Chad has been looking for a new job. He's been working for the past 6 years at USU as a lab technician. We always figured it would be easy for him to find a job once he finished his Master's degree, but that didn't exactly pan out. Chad applied for so many jobs and time and time again he was rejected. It's been a tough time to find a job the past few years. Many entry level positions were going to PhD graduates, so how do you compete with that? We first heard about the Denmark scholarship last year. I don't think Chad even seriously considered applying for it because he was still hopeful that he'd find a job. Well, after another year passed by with almost nothing coming up, except a very disappointing experience with a job possibility in California, it was suggested to him that he'd make a great candidate for the Denmark position and so with really no other options, he applied. We didn't think there would be any chance that he would get it. After all, the University of Copenhagen is a really good school and to get a scholarship like this is practically unheard of. Especially with a lot of really great applicants from all over the world applying to the position. So, we were mildly surprised when they asked Chad for an interview. It went well, but it would be around 5 weeks before we even heard back from it. During that time we thought for sure nothing would come from it. Then we were told he was still in the running, several more weeks went by and we thought for sure this time that there was no way he was going to get the offer. We felt a little desperate to find work for Chad since the funding at his lab wasn't going to be renewed for next year and he would be out of a job at the end of December. And then the email came, congratulating Chad on his acceptance to the program. Wow, I tell you, I spent that day in major turmoil. It's one thing to think it'll be neat to go and live in another country, but to actually have that option before you is something completely different! Suddenly, the excitement of this hypothetical adventure starts to mingle with reality. We would be gone for 3 years! I wouldn't see most of my family and friends during that time, how can we afford the move, how will this affect the kids, we can't take our dog with us, what will we do with all of our stuff, how can we find adequate housing, we don't speak the language, what will I cook and believe me this list goes on and on and on! After this initial email, several more weeks passed by before Chad received the actual contract. During this time, we talked and prayed over what we should do. We have felt good all along about the decision to go, even though it's been one of the hardest decisions we've ever had to make. I have always harbored a desire to live in Europe for a while. (I had always pictured 6 months or a year, not quite this long.) England was always my preferential location, but I just love the idea of Europe! And now it's hard to believe that this dream is coming true. The hardest part of this entire venture is what we have to give up. We will literally pack up and leave everything behind. Not only our physical belongings, but it's very hard thinking that we will not see many of our friends and family for such a long time. That has been the most painful part of this. We will also have to leave our sweet dog, Nena, behind. I don't think Chad's too sad about this, but I'm pretty sad about it. We got her just after Chad and I got married. I think it'll be hard on her too, she's always been my little shadow. Luckily, my parents have offered to take her for us while we are gone. We will also take very few of our belongings, just some clothing mostly. I will also be closing up my Etsy businesses. I've worked hard the past few years to build them up, so it'll be hard to close them up. The next biggest thing I worry about is how this will affect our kids. I feel so bad about taking our kids away from their grandparents, other family and friends. They will change so much during those 3 years. I will be home-schooling Myra at least for the first little while. International schools are very expensive, so not an option, and public schooling is taught in Danish, so I don't really have any other options right now. I worry about the kids not being able to make friends and having those type of relationships that are so important during these early years. They will have to leave most of their toys behind, which both girls are pretty sad about. I also worry about them missing out on things that typically young American kids do. Another big worry I have is just the logistics of this type of move. Because we are going over for schooling, we have to make our own way there. Money is a big issue as we start to add up all the expenses, such as plane tickets, housing deposit, Visa (wow, had no idea these would be so expensive), shipping costs, etc. We worry about finding housing, surviving on public transportation for 3 years, selling our cars here, renting out our condo here (we have no plans to sell), etc. And then we worry about costs there. Copenhagen is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, the taxes are really high, along with everything else. If you buy a car there, the tax is 125%!!!!
So, as I look back through this post, it seems really negative. There are a lot of negatives about this venture, a lot of things that I am trying to work through. I keep having days where I'm so excited about going and then days that I am extremely depressed. But with all that said, we do feel like we are making the right choice. This is such an amazing opportunity for Chad to get invaluable experience in his field AND get a "free" PhD! I do think that the experiences of living in a foreign country will be absolutely priceless! I'm sure that we will get to meet some amazing people and have some wonderful experiences over the next 3 years. I'm getting to live my dream of living in Europe and we hope to be able to travel a lot and explore as many places as possible. Although I'm not thrilled about homeschooling, I think that it will be so fun to have my kids with me as I live my days exploring this new country. As this whole opportunity has come about, it's as if "all roads point to Denmark." We have come across Denmark in so many ways, meeting people that grew up there, are going there to serve missions, have returned from serving missions. Maybe we are just looking harder, but references to Denmark keep popping up in news articles, church talks and I've even had several sales from my shops to Denmark. And although we know this will be one of the hardest things we've ever had to do, we are certain that it will be one of the best things we've ever done. The poem by Robert Frost keeps coming to mind. Because we are "taking the road less traveled."

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.