Two days before shutdown began at Doug's project, USAID Kiev finally got around to granting the NCE (non-cost extension) until December 23, 2011. I don't know if that was just something that ended up in the slush pile or if this indicates their general work style but in any case, that was close.
So now we know we are shutting down on December 23, not on November 15.
Our visas expire on November 15, though. What fun! Did I tell you I got arrested and speed-tried when I left the country earlier this year three days after my tourist visa expired? Even though our permanent residence visas had been in the works for months? Even though same visa was granted the very next day? I had to pay a fine, too.
So you can imagine I am very twitchy about this, "Oh, we think you can just dip out and back in and it will all be fine." No, siree. I want this in writing, with a big fat stamp from someone very high up in the government, best handwritten on pergament with illumination and fancy signatures.
Then there is the move which is scary. How did we end up with all those books? Oh, yes. This reading habit we have. I have to tell you that I'm really proud my boys filled notebook after notebook this homeschooling year but it all weighs a ton. Maybe you remember that we have this odd restriction of 20 inches? Because we get an air move not a ground move, and it seems the planes flying in and out of Moldova are really small, so they only take 20 inch cubes on board. We need to get rid of quite a few things - the white board, the table and chairs, Leah's high chair which I got at a sale at the International School and which I love (it's from Hungary, solid wood, so lovely). Unless we can somehow stuff it into the car.
Being clever, we thought we fly the kids to our home in Germany, have a nice Thanksgiving, then Doug goes back and stays until the end. I fly back before Christmas (thus burdening my Mom with the kids for a few days) and we both drive the car. Air luggage! (Six people! Six bags! That's more bags than we actually have here!) plus an empty car that can be stuffed to the brim.
Alas, it's not going to happen. Our lowly status as Short Termers doesn't allow for Doug to fly his family out. We have to drive. Bummer, really. I would have preferred not to drive with four kids over snow-covered hair-raising serpentines in the Carpathian mountains but obviously USAID doesn't think that's dangerous at all. I will trust they know their stuff.
So we are driving, on Thanksgiving. Why so early? Because we figure the weather will only get worse, and Doug has two days off, so we are not wasting precious days on the drive. He will then return on this free Air Moldova ticket (that's another story for another time) and stay until the project is officially, finally done. Whereupon he will fly back to Germany and spend Christmas with us. Whatever comes next, we have no idea.
Do you have a nice job for us? Maybe not in a landlocked country, or one that is ravaged by civil war, or famine, or abject poverty? Because those countries pop up a lot lately.
So, instead of planning this move which is scary, or dealing with the visa issue which is done by the project, I am procrastinating. Like, shooting photos. That's also nice.