Monday, February 23, 2009

Ben and Ruth in Holland

Ben and Ruth made it safely to Amsterdam last night with our grandchildren. They flew all night, crossing however many time zones necessary, and landed safely this morning. I got a quick text message saying they were in their house, the heat was on, and they were going to take a nap. He also said they might have Voice Over IP phones by tomorrow.

That all sounds easy enough, but there were some concerns about them actually being allowed in the country at all. They'll probably blog about it once they're back online, but from what I understand, there are three ways to get into the country. You can have a visa, a work card, or a return ticket. They didn't have any of those things. Since Ben's being transferred, the visa and work card will be granted once he's there. You have to be be in the country to get them, and the paperwork is underway already. Since they'll be there for approximately three years, the return ticket would be a bad idea, so they flew one-way at company expense.

Add to these potential problems the fact that the person who was supposed to meet them with their house key has been out of the country for a week or so and they hadn't been able to contact her before boarding the plane. So if they did get into the country, they weren't sure if they could get into their house. If they did get into the house, though, they faced another possible situation.

You can't get a bank account over there until you have an in-country source of income. His job over there starts March 1st. His first paycheck will come after that. Then he can get a bank account. You can't turn on your utilities with cash or an out of country check. It has to be a check drawn on a local bank. Consequently, they weren't sure if they were going to have heat for the first couple of weeks.

Finding out last night just how many things could go wrong for them, I did what I always do when I wish I could take problems away from my kids. I pray. I get stomach cramps. I spend a sleepless night running back and forth to the bathroom and eventually remember to take Immodium. I was sure happy to get that text message this morning.

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