Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Visa Woes

Yesterday we received confirmation that our visa application and documents had arrived at the UK embassy in New York. The current processing time is estimated to be between 4-7 days. After that, the approval packet will be sent directly to Jonathan’s company for processing and then finally returned to us. The absolute best case scenario is that we will have our passports back in hand by next Wednesday.

This wasn’t the news we wanted to hear. The weeks before our move are running out and it’s doubtful the company will sponsor a house hunting trip within 2 weeks of our move date. My fear is of packing up and shipping out without any idea of what our housing situation will be. On the other hand, it could be a positive thing.
For our past two moves we have purchased houses without knowing much about the city we were moving to. It might be a better plan to have a week or two to become oriented with Aberdeen before we decide where to settle down.
Already we feel torn between two scenarios: living close to town so that Jonathan could walk/bike/bus to work or living a few miles out of the city so that we can enjoy the Scottish countryside as our backyard. It would be so convenient to live close to town, only have one car and to be able to walk to restaurants, shopping, or even the train station if we wanted to head out of town.
However, country life is tempting too, especially after living in Houston for the past year and a half. When my parents lived in Aberdeen, they rented a house 6 miles from my dad’s office and had 3 acres of land. From the kitchen window you could often spot deer, rabbits, pheasant and an occasional fox. I loved going for runs around their house because there were several country roads that took me past rolling hills and scenic sheep farms. All of that space and yet only a 15 minute commute for my dad.
Wildlife in my parents' yard in Aberdeen
On the one hand, where else could we affordably live in a safe, clean, pedestrian friendly city with reliable public transportation?

On the other hand, where else could we live with this as our backyard?

Deciding between the two scenarios is likely to be our most important decision when settling in Aberdeen, but it feels abstract discussing it from Houston, Texas. The good thing is, there is no wrong answer to this question. Both would be an extraordinary and unique experience giving us two different perspectives of life in Scotland.
I’m leaning slightly towards a house in the country, mainly because I can’t wait to see this one’s excitement when she spots a pheasant in the yard.   

Jonathan is slightly leaning towards a house closer to town, mainly because I told him he could get a motorbike. Boys will be boys.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Laine, I am enjoying your posts and can emphasise with you on the dilema of town or country to some extent. I am British (England), but have lived abroad now on & off for nearly 10 years having lived in South Africa and then Saudi Arabia on expat contracts. My husband & I moved up to Aberdeenshire late last year. We rented for a little while in the City of Aberdeen and very quickly found a lovely farmhouse in the stunning Aberdeenshire countryside and never looked back. The journey into the City is only 30 mins and it is nice to leave the City and come home into the tranquility of the country. You have two dogs, so the country is a no brainer for the freedom, the walks and the wildlife. Whilst Ian (hubby) works, I took some time out deciding what I wanted to do, having just finished a contract with Cisco Systems in Saudi. I volunteer part time for a National Trust Scotland property, Drum Castle, Gardens & Estate and it has been fabulous localisation for me, a great bunch of people and a beautiful piece of Scottish heritage. Being English, living in Scotland, I may as well be a foreigner, the culture is quite different here to the South of England, also being out of the UK for a while, you almost start again. I will e-mail you my details, so you can get in touch with any help you may need in your settling into Scotland or questions you may have. Ian & I love it here, we really do and would recommend it highly.