Carrie's Adventures

Friday, January 30, 2009

The request has come... the Italians are done!

It has been a very exciting week here. I got a message from Akis to call home on Tuesday ~ it was just after 10am, and I figured the mailman had come. This could mean one of 2 things, the letter has come and they are asking for more information of god forbid, an interview to see if we are a 'genuine' couple OR it is a letter that has come and Akis can send in his passport.

Yep, it was option number 2. Akis was quite excited and has read the letter a number of times, but still wanted me to read it to make sure he read it correctly. The final stage is to send the passport to Rome, get the Visa put into Akis' passport and get the passport back. So Wednesday morning I took a trip to Kinko's and securely send the passport to Rome. I think this whole process has made me a bit obsessive compulsive ~ for now I'm not haunting the Immigration Forum, but rather stalking the FedEx website and tracking the package as it made its way from Vancouver, through Memphis, over to Paris and ultimately to Rome. It has arrived at the Embassy, signed for and everything, and now we need to wait to get it back. I am optimistic that the package will be returned next week. I mean how hard can it be to put that Visa sticker in a passport??

Once we do get the passport back, we'll be making a quick trip to the Peace Arch where we will exit and re-enter Canada so Akis can officially land. I'm quite excited about the process coming to an end and Akis being able to get on with settling himself here. He no longer needs to feel like a 'visitor', he can join the rest of us working stiffs.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Wahoo.... The Italians have started working

Yes, that is right, we have received notice that they have finally started working on Akis' portion of the application. We still don't know for sure how much longer it will take for the application to be finalized, but we do take solice in the fact that the papers are there and they have at least started to look at them.

We have been able to check the status online and by fluke decided to check it tonight. Imagine my surprise and excitement to see that we are now 'In Process' rather than 'Not Available'.

Through out this whole process I have become a bit infatuated with following an immigration forum. On this forum, people who send in applications in a particular month will start a thread and then provide each other with updates. In our particular thread where everyone sent their application to Immigration Canada in September, there was another couple who are having their papers processed in Rome. Rome started working on their papers on Dec 11th and on Jan 12th they received a request for the passport so that the visa can be issued. What is exciting about that is that Rome started working on our papers on January 2nd ~ if things are straight forward, perhaps we can hear something in 2 to 3 weeks. While we are trying not to set expectations, we are hoping that good news is just around the corner and Akis can then begin to get himself settled.
Cross fingers and toes!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Time with the family

With the current economic climate, the focus this year for Akis and I was less commercial and was more about spending time with people. Time is the one thing you can't put a price on ~ you can't buy it, you can't get it back, and I am glad we decided to take the time we had been given to go and be with people who love us.

Krista graciously agreed to come and pick us up at the airport ~ and after a 2hr delay in taking off, we were on our way. (Yes we flew with Air Canada...) Fortunately there was a great tailwind and despite leaving 2hrs late, the time in the air was only 3hr 38 minutes. In all the times I have flown to Toronto, this has to be one of the fastest.

Akis and I weren't sure what our plans would be and wanted just to enjoy company. We managed to see a number of people during this trip which was great.

The first portion of the trip was at Krista's house. We spent time with the Lavery/Loveys clan and caught caught up with all of Chloe's advancements. She was just about to walk and yes, of course after we left she managed to take 2 steps. Doah. The latest fun was playing with the window decorations...

Dad and Jane came a couple days after we arrived when we then had the turkey. It was a group effort to get everything together, and was Akis' first holiday turkey feast. While he has had turkey before on the ship, he has not had a full on Turkey dinner to celebrate the holidays. The stuffing was not a hit ~ I have no idea why ~ but the turkey and the gravy was a success.

While the bird basked in the warmth of the of the oven, the outdoors also thawed. The weather this year was certainly unpredictable. The amount of water was quite remarkable as the creek overflowed to create what one might be tempted to call small rapids. The water here has extended beyond the creek by a number of feet ~ what was even more remarkable was how all of this water ran off and was not there the following day!

Other activities at Krista's included watching Rudy make her way out of the Christmas bag, some overly competitive Wii playing, Boxing day shopping, and hanging out.

Akis and I then headed over to Dad's house ~ we managed to get in a fair bit of family visiting. We caught up with a lot of the family at Aunt Flo and Uncle John's house on our way back. Kelly, Donnie and their son Zahvier were visiting along with Donnie's mom. Aunt Cath and Uncle George also popped in as they were over for dinner ~ so we managed to visit for a few hours before heading off to Toronto to pick up my highly coveted kitchen appliances. (Yes it was a bit of a pain getting them here, but now that they are here, it was well worth the effort!!)
Other visitors included Uncle Don, Aunt Sharon and Chris who was home from England. We had another turkey in the spirit of the season, and it was great to catch up. The weather was a bit of the pits and Akis was surprised that they would drive through the blowing snow.
I managed to catch up with some friends (the Noes and the McMeekins) who live in Port Elgin, gathering for muchies at Sue's house New Years Even. The other bonus was Akis meeting more friends from home.
The final 'task' was to finally remove the last of my stuff from 'Jim's Storage', and as it turns out I also had started collecting things chez Lavery/Loveys. So one day dad and I headed over to Owen Sound to put the last of 8 boxes onto the bus and ship it out to Vancouver. It took about 4 days to arrive here and the only casualties were 2 beer glasses ~ not bad for over 100kg of stuff.
All in all, it was a good trip.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Christmas in Vancouver

With the lead up to Christmas, there were many things about this Christmas that were different. This was the first Christmas that Akis and I spent together and for Akis, it was his first Christmas with snow. For Akis it was beautiful as it represented all of the thing he has always seen on TV with the snowy white Christmases but had never experienced himself.

In the days before the holiday we had decided with the extra days off that my company gives their employees, we were going to spend some time in ON with my family. We opted to fly on the 25th as flights were cheaper, and this also meant that we could have Christmas morning at home, just Akis and I until we had to run off to the airport.

Vancouver, which is not known for having a lot of snow was blanketed and the 24th had big flakes falling. I did have to go to the office, but we called it a day at noon. When I arrived in the office, it was myself and one other co-worker. With the additional snow, a number of people had opted to not come in. This included the person who was taking the fresh turkey from my lone companion in the office. Geoff didn't have room for the turkey, nor the desire to cook one. As such, he was trying to get rid of this fresh bird ~ he even tried to take it to the food bank, but they wouldn't take it. Heading back home, Akis and I had no need for a 14lb bird, but his other option was to throw it out. Seeing that as such a waste, I left the office with 2 cloth bags disguising my 14 pound treasure. Needless to say, when I met Akis at Canadian Tire, he shook his head with the schlumping of this thing 2.5km back to our house. We wandered the isles, purchased the gifts we said we weren't going to buy this year, and then sat at Starbucks and admired the beauty and bustle that is the day before Christmas.

We were invited to spend the evening with Steve and Aislynn, also we were going to see Barry and Darci, but the weather and inability to travel through the snow filled streets had us staying at home and spending a quiet night alone ~ with our new cappuccino machine.

Akis was like a little kid, and at 1am, he asked if we could open presents. I said we could open one, but that the rest would need to wait until morning.

With a few gifts left in the morning and stocking stuffers that didn't quite make it into a stocking (realized we didn't have one for Santa), we drank coffee from our new toy and spent the morning getting ready to head back to see the family.