I will take 3 Polish and a chicken bake and 4 sodas please.
Taking the food back to the table where my family are waiting I take the drink orders and go fill up our cups.
Costco is crazy.
It is huge. It has everything you probably want for your home.
And it has great chicken bakes.
So we sit in the food court area in the Costco near Salem Oregon, we are still on our way back to Belingham but decide to take a major detour to go visit some friends.
It is the end of August.
We sit reflecting on the summer we have had.
My phone starts to ring.. Rachel’s Mum has received some important mail with my name on it.
We beg her to open it.
It has arrived.
I can now work legally.
The emotion overwhelms. I cry.
In the middle of Costco food court.
With a chicken bake in hand. I cry.
Now this seems a strange thing to be happy to get… Now I get to work but really what this means is that I am here legally for 10 years. And I don’t have to worry about being split up for 10 years.
It is a fear you see. Seperation has taken an affect on me.
We go back to our friends house and that afternoon I secure my first job interview in America.
I will be interviewing at a door manufactoring plant. Something I have never ever done before.
Do I understand the American version of measurements? NO.
Have I ever worked in a mill before? NO.
Will that stop me? No.
I can smile easy again.
It came to the end of the Summer.
I was fed up with waiting… When was my Green Card going to come?
I received my Visa in my passport in June and I was aware that it could take up to 3-6 months.
I was praying everyday for the chance that it could be the day that it would come and our life here could start.
So we made a decision as a family to go and house/dog sit at my father in laws home whilst he was away for the majority of August Elk hunting.
We were aware that it would be taking us away from the community that we were starting to form and putting us in a place where we would have to entertain ourselves…
Key factor in this decision…
Bleed out our savings whilst staying with the community we were with… or save what we have and enjoy August next to the Columbia River…
We chose to Dog sit.
It was a good month.
It was tiring. But good.
It taught us a lot about what we can do for each other and our patience levels.
Each evening we would take a walk along the rivers edge, we would go “treasure hunting” finding washed up fishing gear, collecting it and cleaning it.
We found a lot.
I took time to explore my ambitions with wood working, using driftwood and experimenting with the skills (I think) I have.
Truth is… that month it brought us closer. We laughed together, cried together, relaxed together.
It was a month that has been pretty significant in our journey in the States.
Our first summer was insane.
It was an incredible welcoming to an area of the world that we were new to.
BBQ’s, Church get togethers, board game evenings, meals together… People knew how to make us feel welcome and loved. We needed it.
Daniel took me up to Yellow Aster Butte, it was crazy.
There were hundreds of flies… that was the negative.
We camped out on a night where the skies were so clear.
The was a meteor shower that night… I was sat on what it seemed to be the top of the world with a friend I had known for about a decade.
It was again a great intro to the area and what was available.
Snowboarding, skiing in the winter, summers by lakes and up mountains.
What else could we want?
The biggest issue in my mind throughout all of this was that I still didn’t have my green-card.. And I hated not providing or my family.
We were house sharing with an incredibly generous and loving couple.
The sharing wasn’t hard. The dependance on others who had earned the right to have their house was the issue to me. I felt like I was robbing them of their earned privacy and home life.
One of the hardest things I have learnt is to allow people to bless us as a family. To give them the opportunity to bless and give to us.
And for me to be thankful for it.
That is still something that I am learning to this day.
An amazing city right on the border to Canada.
Hipsters. Beards. Longboards. Tye dye shirts. Breweries.
Small breweries popping up everywhere. It’s an incredible place to live. But not so incredible for a person who has struggled with a dependence on alcohol.
But it’s a refreshing place to live.
Close to the mountains, waterfalls, bays, greenery. Bellingham is a great balance between town and countryside.
It has the feel of small city with the fast paced life style but the incredible option to drive five minutes down the road to get lost by a lake or into the tree line.
The first date Rachel and I go on is a walk by the bay. We grab a coffee and watch the sunset.
We breath a simultaneous sigh of relief.. we made it.
Tonight we get to go and explore as a couple for the first time in Bellingham.
We have a babysitter.
We have a list of places to check out.
We are ready to go.
We go to the filling station. Burgers named after cars.. Nice.
Downtown Bellingham is picturesque.
Amazing buildings, quirky decor (red fish and chips bus, telephone box etc…). A nice touch of home.
We walk along Boulevard park. A walk way over the bay. Sun setting. Nice.
We take a seat.
Look over the bay with the sun setting.
Coffees in hand.
We have landed.
We say a prayer of thanks for getting us to our next stop in this crazy journey.
Date night fulfilled.
Time to get the boys.
Still no green card but definitely not the worst night to have.
I am a proud person.
Pride is something that I would say I struggle with.
Moving to a new country, let alone a new home… I struggle to take the hand outs from people.
The hands to help with the move. I will remember those people and help them when they need it.
The meals brought round after you move or when you need someones truck… whatever it is. I do remember who was there. I do remember.
What I have learnt however with this move. With this whole not having a home thing.
I have had to accept a lot.
People have generously shared their homes, their food, their vehicles, their time, their love and their lives with us.
I like to know I have earn’t the money that pays for our bills, the rent, the food.. etc.
We as a family have had to accept a lot. We are thankful. We remember.
As a man, I struggle with it. Usually in silence as I do not want to resist the opportunity for someone to bless us. That may sound funny but I mean it in the way that I love to be able to help people, bless people or even surprise people with something that they may not even need.
But the thing that I have had to learn is that if I reject someone, I may very well be rejecting what they have been called to do by God, or maybe they just love us and want to see us living well.
I have had to put aside my pride.
But we have been blessed.
And we are so thankful.
Its moving day.
Brian and his son have come from Bellingham to help us with the move. U-haul trailer. Car loaded up. Ready to go.
Hugs and goodbyes are said.
Off on the journey we go.
It is a 385 mile journey, 6-8 hours.
The things is I can’t drive.
I don’t have my license. I don’t even have a permit. So I can’t even partner up with the driving.
There is nothing I dislike more than being a passenger. I like to be in control. This is not what was happening.
My wife is a fantastic driver. She is an incredible mum.
I am not a good mum. Far from it actually.
I will look at it now and admit.. I wasn’t a good parent at that time. I lost my patience, I got frustrated. To be honest there is no real way that you can solve kids screaming and shouting whilst driving over a mountain pass apart from a movie or melatonin.
We saw a lot.
All incredible sights.
The truth was that we were on a journey to find our new home.
To find our new place in life.
To fulfill what we felt God was calling us to.
To be able to rest in a place where we call home.