The rumors are true! We’ve lost our minds! We quit our jobs, sold our house, sold our cars, and left our child, I mean Basset Hound, and are moving to Oxford, England!
As we broke the news to many friends and family over the last few months, the first thing they asked was, “How did this happen?” So I’ll try to fill in the details and answer some of those questions without boring you to tears.
One channel that we can always agree on is HGTV and one show that we love to watch is House Hunters International. After one particular episode that highlighted a village in Switzerland, we decided that we were going to sell everything we owned, quit our jobs and travel Europe for a year. A week passed before reality sunk in and decided that our pipe dream was not extremely responsible. So we went back to the drawing board and started thinking of alternate ways to live in Europe. Jared has always been interested in getting an advanced legal degree, so we thought this might be the perfect opportunity for him to further his education and us to experience living abroad. Jared started his research of schools and applied to four LLM programs: Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, and a smaller school in Switzerland. In November the application process began with lots of paper work and many international FedEx packages. I began dreaming of living in a cottage and working in a coffee shop…I’ve seen too many episodes of Rick Steves.
At first, we had our hearts set on Lausanne, Switzerland. The Swiss Alps were the backdrop of the city with Lake Geneva in the front yard…absolutely beautiful! Our first bit of news came in early March, Jared had been accepted to the University of Edinburgh. After much prayer and discussion we decided that this was not the school or city for us. The deadline to accept Edinburgh’s offer was much too soon, so we continued to wait.
Next Jared was wait listed at the University of Oxford. Although this was somewhat disappointing, there was still hope and two more pending applications to hear back from. Jared was accepted to the school in Switzerland and we (tentatively) started making preliminary plans to move there. The first strategic move was when Jared’s car needed to be repaired and, rather than fix it, we just sold it to the mechanic. Thanks again to David and Mattie for letting us borrow the Jeep Liberty for almost three months!
Finally, Jared was deemed a Cambridge reject, so we decided to try and make the move to Lausanne. We knew the Swiss visa process would be difficult and the local language (French) would present a significant barrier, but we were going to TRY and make it work. We contacted an immigration lawyer to help with my visa application and decided to list our house with a realtor. However, if you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans…
On the day that Jared’s non-refundable tuition deposit was due to the Swiss university, he was checking his email to verify that transfer from savings had reached his checking account. Having almost completely forgotten about the being wait listed, he was completely surprised when he found an email informing him that he was accepted to the Masters in Law and Finance program at Oxford. With a trembling voice, he called me on my cell phone at school. I know I scared my kindergartners because 1) my cell phone never rings in class, 2) I never answer it, 3) very seldom do you see a teacher giggle like crazy through tears! We decided that this just changed from something we MIGHT do to something we HAD to do.
After that, things happened so smoothly that it became increasingly clear that this was God’s plan for our lives. Our house sold in ten days, our visas were approved, and Jared’s law firm was amazingly supportive. Once everything was set, we started selling some of our furniture to our friends and loaded up what we were keeping in a POD and our families’ barns, attics, and basements. With a lot of tears and long goodbyes, we closed the sale of our house on July 27th and left Fort Worth on August 2nd.
Since then, we have “toured” Texas and stayed with our parents and friends. One of the most difficult things to do was leave our beloved dog, Oliver, in Tyler with Dustin and Ashley. We will not go into it much right now because the tears are still fresh on our eyes. Let’s just say that the alternate name for this blog was “Missing Oliver in Oxford.” We would be a lot sadder if we did not know that he was in such good hands with Dustin and Ashley and his best friend, Sam. Thanks again Kinders!
Two days ago, we sold our remaining car and are now making final preparations to leave. Tomorrow we will face the reality of packing our lives into four pieces of luggage. On Wednesday our crazy adventure begins…and by Thursday, we will be Oblivious in Oxford!