Hey friends! It has been a few months since I’ve posted, so I want to give a little update and talk about a few things we have been experiencing.
For anyone who hasn’t noticed, we’re STILL in the U.S. This isn’t all bad because we have been able to have more time with our families and close friends. But seriously, we thought we’d be in Australia before Thanksgiving, so this waiting has been so interesting! I wouldn’t normally share all the following details on a blog, but so many of our family and friends have been wondering about things. I’ll summarize and recap:
Caleb’s first semester of school begins in February, but from the time he got accepted earlier this summer, he wanted to try to get over there early and do some medical research if possible. So, late July he began looking up research projects associated with the school. He found a researcher linked with UQ’s Department of Molecular Bioscience who was conducting research on insect venoms and their potential healing properties–if you know Caleb very well, you know this sounds right up his alley. By mid-August Caleb was Skyping with the project leader and accepting a spot to train in this research.
To make it happen as as possible, we knew we’d have to get started applying for a very specific visa. The way that the visa operates is by first being sponsored by the research department. This meant that Caleb’s supervisor had to complete an application to “nominate” Caleb for the visa based upon several qualifying factors. The paperwork is not simple, and with a huge organization like the University of Queensland, the documents for the sponsorship had to pass through many hands before they could even be sent off to the Department of Immigration. Once that finally happened, we had the green light to apply for the visa ourselves. By this time it was September–and I still had not received my new passport back after about 3 months from having my name changed (WHOOOOOOOOLE other story including dozens of phone calls, headaches, nightmares, a trip to Chicago…). Once I finally had my new passport in hand, we could correctly add our info to the application and send it off to Tasmania (cool). It was now mid-September.
Knowing that this visa takes an average of 2 months to process, we figured we would have our results of approval by the middle of November. Well, here it is nearly the middle of December and we have no visa yet. Further, the application for the student visa Caleb will need for school takes an average of 2 weeks to process, and we have not been allowed to apply for it yet since his other visa is still pending. What was meant to be an opportunity to get there sooner, settle in, and experience medical research has actually seemed to cut things kinda close! International students are advised to arrive AT LEAST two weeks before February (thought we’d have that in the bag), and we need to have an approved visa in hand before we book our flight and take off. So many factors, so many months, so much limbo.
What I’ve learned through these experiences:
- Expect detours and set-backs with new plans. For me, this doesn’t mean I need to become a pessimist, just that I should be more able to accept any possible outcome. Sometimes what seems like a great idea (even one believed to be provided by God as a good opportunity) can become more of a stresser than anything. I need to pound this one into my head so that I can face stress with a little more grace.
- Express thankfulness to family and friends more. I cannot tell you how many times my mind has been saved by just talking with Caleb (marriage is nice for not being judged for “ugly crying” tears of confusion–seriously, he stays cool as a cucumber), my parents, sister, Caleb’s parents. Everyone has been in this with us and has shared wisdom and given support when we’ve needed it most. THANK YOU.
- Continue in prayer and purposely include God in every step. His peace helps when nothing else does, and his ideas for our life shatter the records for what I could try to come up with.
- Look for bright sides when things seem foggy. It’s still possible that Caleb may have a little time to do the research project, which is good. But if not this time, at least he has made a connection with this medical research team and they see his initiative and drive. Plus: he is still going to medical school, which is the most important thing to him and is enough to be proud of on its own.
You live and learn. This year has been one for the books and this whole journey is only just beginning for us! Maybe we will be able to head out before 2016 hits, but in the meantime, I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas! Stay tuned for more updates as they come. I promise, I have a lot of fun posts planned for the future!
❤ Laura, MedWife (not quite yet) Down Under