When we last posted, we were buried under a mountain of boxes waiting for the movers to show up to complete our pack out. Since then, we’ve made a little more progress on our move:
- Our pack out was a success, we think. We used all 600 lbs of our UAB (unaccompanied air baggage) and were again surprised by how long it took movers to pack and load our small apartment. The benefit of packing out so long before our departure is that we won’t have to wait forever for our stuff once we’re at post. We’ve been told that our UAB should actually be in Cotonou by the time we arrive and the rest of our things should be there just a couple weeks later.
- We received Flynn’s diplomatic passport and applied for our visas. When we called to check on the status, almost two weeks after we were told the visas would be ready, we were finally informed that our visas were completed. In fact, they had been delivered to my parents’ house via Fed Ex this morning. We were so glad they were finally done that we didn’t even remind the processing office that they swore up and down they would call us as soon as our visas were shipped out. Now that we have our passports back, we can finish filling out the paperwork to have our car shipped on July 26.
- After much debate, we’ve decided not to use a pet expeditor to help send Abbey to Benin. Actually, it wasn’t so much a debate as the fact that the expeditor we were working with suddenly became very difficult and eventually stopped calling me back. So now we are doing it ourselves and will save a lot of money in the process. Abbey has received her shots and microchip. Next she has to go to the vet to get some paperwork filled out. Then the paperwork has to be stamped by someone at the USDA office. We are flying Air France and her reservation is booked. They’ve confirmed there won’t be a problem sending her even if it is hot out.
- This means that our flights are booked too. We will be flying from DC to Paris where we will have a six hour layover. Then it will be on to Cotonou. Alex will have to start working the very next day. Fortunately, though, it’s a half day at the embassy followed by a three day weekend.
- Speaking of jobs, my job in Benin is official – I’ve filled out a W2 and everything. The tentative plan is for me to start working two weeks after we get to Cotonou. We have a nanny lined up for Flynn, but I’m taking some time to make sure he gets settled in before I start my job. In case things don’t work out and we need a little more time, I’ve been given some flexibility in the start date.
- And finally, we are currently enjoying several weeks with family and friends in the Midwest. Flynn is getting to spend some extra time with grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. He’s having a lot of fun, but he seems a little tuckered out from the experience.
That is all the news from us. We’re really enjoying the time we get to spend with our families before we go, and it finally feels like this trip to Cotonou might actually happen. Our next step? Trying to remember how to speak French.