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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Visa Fiasco: Moving to Chelmsford?

When we came to Spain at the end of August, we were in a hurry to get Adele and Iris to the first day of their new school. So we rapidly moved our belongings into storage, got the house ready to rent (which it is) and came over on tourist visas, confident that, long before they expired at the end of November, Matt’s company would procure residency visas.

We first planned to return to the States for the new visas mid October. This date kept getting extended, finally to November 21st. It seems that the Spanish consulate kept sending the company’s request for a work visa back as insufficient. They wanted more and better signatures, a different notary public, and so forth. I might have found it amusing that a multinational corporation with over a 100,000 employees around the world, and headquarters that look like the city of an advanced, but heartless, civilization

 could not get this one visa from Spain. But, actually, it is not that funny. Perhaps Ludwig Bemelman’s depiction of the Spanish Ambassador in “Madeline and the Bad Hat” can give us some insight into this dilemma. The Ambassador’s son had a very strange sense of humor:

Really, where the problem lies is not clear, but the fact is that when we return to the States on the 21st of November, the residency visas will not be available, and we will therefore not be able to reside in what is called the “Schengen” countries until, at the earliest, January, and, at the latest, early March. The Schengen region includes all of the European Union except the UK and Ireland.

Matt will have to work out of London. Personally, the prospect of living near the Tate Modern, The British Museum, the Victoria Albert, and others is mouth watering. Also, I am not eager to leave Matt working on his own across the Atlantic. Unfortunately, Adele and Iris are not so tempted by the wonders of London, and home schooling two unhappy children in another new city does not seem especially enticing. In fact, it would be a lot easier to set up camp and home school where we have a lot of family and friends.

So, the current plan (always subject to corporate and national whimsey) is that Adele, Iris and I will, until we get those work visas, live in or near Concord. We are looking for a furnished house or apartment in Concord or Acton from November 21st to somewhere between the second week of January and the first week of March. A house sitting situation would be fine. In fact, we would love to have pets to look after. And we need to identify this place pronto as Matt's company is ready to have us take an apartment in Chelmsford (about 20 minutes west of Concord). If you know of a possible rental, send me a note. Help us avoid moving to Chelmsford! With all due respect to residents of Chelmsford, this would not be my first choice.

To those in Concord and its environs: See you soon!

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