Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Big Surprise

As many already know by now, I just returned home to Scotland after a secret trip to Arkansas to surprise my dad at his retirement ceremony.  It was awesome.

My dad retired this month from 30-odd years in the Air National Guard.  For his retirement present, my step-mom, Denise, secretly arranged (with the help of my brothers and sister-in-law) for Jaguar and me to fly over to Arkansas and show up at the ceremony without him knowing anything about it.  We were worried he would somehow find out, but the secret was kept well, and my dad was utterly surprised.

He said he had thought earlier on that possibly this was what Denise was planning for him, but as time drew near and I didn't arrive, he put the thought out of his mind.   A few minutes into the ceremony, it was announced that 'we will be joined by two special guests...'  Dad couldn't think who those two special guests would be... until the speaker added '... From Scotland' and out Jaguar and I came.  The look on his face was priceless!

It was such a wonderful surprise, and such a great experience for us all to be there.  I am so proud of my Dad's military service, and so VERY proud that he ended up serving as the Command Chief of Arkansas, the highest ANG position in the state.  Go, Chief!

I loved seeing my dad and Denise again, and getting to know Denise a lot better.  I loved spending time staying at my brother's house and getting to know him, Charity and Ava better.  I loved visiting my mom and step-dad, David, and spending a bit of time with my niece PaisLee.  And I was so happy to snatch a few hours with my BF Devon and her adorable children on the last day in town.

It was also a blessing in disguise for our move.  At Scott's immigration interview, he has to prove that I am 're-establishing domicile' in America, since I am not currently living there.  While in Arkansas, I was able to renew my driver's license, set up a savings account, and hire out a storage unit (and put some stuff in it), all of which will help with the application.  I also received confirmation of Fifi's acceptance into a school, which will help a lot too! 

Furthermore, it helped me feel more settled emotionally.  This move is a hard one, full of mixed emotions. Until that boint, I felt very sad and lonely about leaving Scotland.  This place is my home.  I love it here.  (Hate the weather, but love everything else.)  Being in Arkansas for a week really got me excited about moving back.  The weather is gorgeous, the way of life is laid back, and my family is lively and fun.  And the food is DE-FREAKIN-LISH.

None of that detracts from how hard it will be to leave this place and this family and this school, but it does give me a lot to look forward to.

It also gave me a little break in which I can now see the remaining chunk of time we will still be in Scotland as a short, separated unit of time - seven or eight weeks, in which we have loads and loads to do!

Anybody want to buy my stuff?  (More lists to follow!)

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