12 – Beers and Beards…

Bellingham, WA.

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.

Pretty.

We breath a simultaneous sigh of relief.. we made it.

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11 – So this is Bellingham.

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.

Deep breath.

We have landed.

We say a prayer of thanks for getting us to our next stop in this crazy journey.

Bellies full.

Caffeinated up.

Date night fulfilled.

Time to get the boys.

Still no green card but definitely not the worst night to have.

10 – Acceptance.

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.

9 – The Trip.

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.

Coulee Dam.

Diablo Lake.

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.

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8 – Pretty on the Outside

After a while of just being dad again I was offered the opportunity to join my Father in Laws painting team.

They painted high end homes.

It was crazy.

Looking over the valley. Million dollar views.

Learning a skill I never had before.

It was a great bonding experience. I enjoyed that work, it was hands on.

You could see the process of the work. Taping off, prepping the area, cleaning it, filling in all the holes.

Waiting for the follow up coat.

Covered up. All pretty on the outside.

No one will see the holes, scars on the inside.

Nice metaphor for life.

The move to the US was good. There were scars, hurting that would heal in time but with this time back together it was a good paint job over all of it.

The honeymoon period all over again.

Spokane wasn’t the end goal. We would be moving on soon.

Hoping it won’t hurt too much or hurt people too much.

Bellingham was the next step for our family.

Bellingham would be our new home.

7 – Time to Get Settled

Time with my boys. Time with my wife.

Time to explore the area.

America is pretty easy.

We are staying with Rachel’s mum and husband.

They are generous, loving and welcoming.

They have a fantastic house, lots of land, horses. The boys are in heaven.

At night time we hear Coyotes.

Not the kind of noises that I am use to.

Thins are different here.

A few miles up the road is a lake. Picturesque.

In the sun it looks incredible, fun. Boats and kite-boarders. People fishing. The works.

I still don’t have a physical green card… it is something that I am craving. It is something I need to legally be allowed to work, to earn money to provide for my family. It is tough not doing this.

It is almost a 2 month forced vacation.

Highlight of the week so far… my birthday (3 days after arriving)… Kyrie threw up on me in the middle of a Philly steak house restaurant.. haha it was disgusting. Rachel ran into a sports store to get me a different shirt… we ended the day with fried chicken and the NBA Finals. Not to shabby.

 

6 – Time to Re-engage

So one thing that happens when you spend significant time apart from children… particularly in this situation – two young boys. Consistency out the window.

The next couple of weeks of life is all about adjusting back to family life.

Being dad. Being husband.

Spokane is nice.

Playing with the boys all day, being with my wife as a team. It is a breath of fresh air. It is so welcomed but man it is a shock to the system.

I am slowly finding that it takes two or three times for the boys to listen to me instead of the one it took before.

But what am I to expect the boys are use to just having mum, Gramma and G-pa. I have been skype dad. Text dad. Dad whose discipline doesn’t hold weight, or comforting words have no real meaning. Talking over the phone didn’t hold my kids whilst they cried at night. Talking over the phone didn’t immediately add me to any family days out.

I was not in the family selfies. I wasn’t in the picture.

Nothing hurt more than the first time I realized that my voice didn’t hold as much weight as before… that I would have to reconstruct my position in my family again.

Joy.

Joy is when your sons run into your room in the morning and wake you up by jumping on the bed.

Joy.

Joy is when your sons give you hugs and don’t pull away even when the hugs are getting to long.

Joy.

Joy is being in the selfie with your sons. Being part of the memories. Being with my family.