Around 2am on December 2nd 2009, Johann called me at our home in Rialto, CA from Manama, Bahrain (where he was spending a 13 month unaccompanied tour w/ the US Navy) to give me the news we'd both been waiting 10 months to hear...that he'd FINALLY been given new orders for his next duty station AND that we would be moving to (drum roll, please....) Rota, Spain!
About halfway through the conversation (which I began half asleep), I was standing UP in our bed, jumping up and down, because this is great, GREAT news! Of course the best news is that we get Johann back for a shore duty tour (meaning he gets to come home every night and not gone on deployments or ships or whathaveyou's) but also, that we get to be a family in SPAIN!
Johann and I had discussed moving overseas several times over the last few years and what an amazing opportunity it would be for our family (particularly Reese and Rayna - aka R&R) to live in a different country, acquire another language, be a light for God on the other side of the world...and we checked out all of the possibilities available to Naval families (ie. Japan, Italy, Spain, Guam, Hawaii) You can imagine I had MY favorites... But God saw fit to send us to Spain...and so, our adventures began.
Johann was in Bahrain, so I had to take care of all the medical screenings (yes, that means shots...with screaming children...as much as we love Dr. Chang, R&R are not fans of his needle toting nurses), passports, phone calls to San Diego to set up shipments of all our worldly goods, etc. - add working full time to this equation...it was exhausting. But the excitement of the end result enabled me to push through.
Fast forward to March 9th...My last day of work! I left after a great lunch with my Gal Pals at work and made a bee line for Ontario Airport to pick up my husband! R&R did not know he was coming in that day (they thought he was coming later that weekend), so it was fun to surprise them!
We snuck up on Rayna at her preschool (and had all her teachers in tears!) as she saw me, then did a double take to see that her DAD was there too! Her face was priceless...she's so little, with so much energy...she just started jumping up and down, then ran into his arms squeezing his neck as hard as she could! - Deployments/Separations are hard, but REUNIONS are priceless!
Next we went to our family friend/Childcare provider Extraordinaire - Bridget's to pick up Reese...Reese was off track and Bridget took them (Reese and her daughters - Ronni, Destiny and Ebony) for a day at Chuck E Cheese as this was also Reese's last day of childcare...they weren't back yet when we got there so I called Bridget to see how far away they were (minutes) and so we drove around the corner and staked out waiting for them to return...
Bridget hurried them all in the house and closed the door. I rang the doorbell and Reese comes up, telling me about her day at CEC when Johann walks up behind me and after a 0.0002 second beat, Reese screams "DADDY" and takes off into his arms, almost knocking him over and they stayed that way for a good 10 minutes...Reese kept saying, "Daddy, you're HOME"...tears all around.
The next two weeks were filled with lots of running around - Johann and I had to renew our CA Drivers Licenses since they were due to expire next year. So, we had to retake the written exam so we could extend our date by 5 years...so we sat in the DMV for about 5 hours with R&R...they were good sports with their portable dvd players (Thanks Granny!) and we rewarded them for good behavior with a trip to John's Incredible Pizza afterward.
We had three shipments of our things...the first was the main "Household Goods" shipment which was pretty much everything...couches, tables, beds, trashcans, lawn mower, books, toys, art, lamps, etc...
There were two other shipments...the "Storage" shipment - for things we wouldn't want to take with us (ie. About 1/2 of my book collection -Shakespeare Anthologies, etc., our China Cabinet, our Ottoman, etc). And an "Express Shipment" of things we'd need right away (a COFFEE MAKER, some clothes, things for the girls).
Anyway, that all went away and we moved to San Dimas with my parents for two weeks. I should also add that we put our house up for sale. It went on the market on a Tuesday...that Friday we had 8 offers and we accepted one that Sunday afternoon. We could feel God's hand taking care of all of our needs and paving the way for this next move. It was a wonderful and comforting feeling to have things going so smoothly.
Also great, were the fun reunions with our extended family - Johann's Dad and Stepmom took us to Universal Studios - it was the girls' first time and we all had a BLAST! (Except when Reese was coerced (by her FATHER) to get on the Simpsons (yes, as in BART Simpson, which they aren't even allowed to watch) rollercoaster...sigh...Poor kid is traumatized for LIFE! LOL!
To Be Continued...