AFTER a brief hiatus due to the need to take the blog offline while the boat was on the market (can you imagine anyone reading about our misadventures and then actually buying Picaroon??), we are officially back at this blogging thing, if only because certain of our relatives refuse to use Facebook and keep bugging us for actual emails, and it’s waaaayyy easier and more entertaining to broadcast our lives to the entire world.
The last time I updated the blog was in May after my visit to Myanmar; Philip was still on the boat getting it ready to go to the broker’s in the BVIs. Turns out that there was an engine issue (which is not surprising after sitting for four months – perhaps a sea trial BEFORE getting someone to agree to take it to the BVIs might have been a good idea, n’est pas?) so after a few hours of panic, and with the agreement of our dear friend Jeanso that he’d look after the boat, we said, “Screw it!” and Philip got on the scheduled flight, just leaving the damn thing in Salinas. Turns out that wasn’t such a bad idea — S.V. Picaroon sold in October, from Salinas, to a couple of first time
suckers cruisers from the UK named Colin and Jackie, who fell in love with her at first sight and are slowly learning her systems and getting her ready to cruise again. I read their blog occasionally and chuckle as they make many of the same mistakes we did, trying not to go too far down the rabbit hole of shadenfreude.
Over the next six months, our adventures continued as we explored (follow the links for photos) Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai (twice), Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia on vacation, and my work took me to the Philippines and Laos. While we love Thailand, Bangkok isn’t a great place to live if you like to spend your free time hiking/biking/sailing (no green space), holding dinner parties (worst kitchen ever in a tiny apartment) or, really, breathing (a clean dish left on the kitchen counter is covered in black, oily soot within a week – UGH). So when it came time to decide whether to try to extend my contract with Unicef or move on, we opted for moving on.
Open to both the UK and the US, I started applying for jobs in both and headed to DC for a month in December to network, interview, and catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in three years. While I had serious discussions with a couple of organizations in DC, and agonized over one particular opportunity in DC, ultimately I accepted a position with an NGO in London called Girls Not Brides: the Global Partnership to End Child Marriage, as their Senior Advisor for global advocacy.
However, before we can move to the UK, we have to go through the rigamarole of immigration, which is a total pain in the butt. Those Brits REALLY don’t want poor people to immigrate. Despite the fact that we’ve been married for 13 years, and in addition to the $1,500 application fee, the UK government requires that we demonstrate that *Philip* have enough income (about $28,000 a year) to support me (stop snickering). My salary, my job offer — irrelevant. It’s ludicrous, and we squeak through on the income from the house rental in DC, but if we didn’t have that, we couldn’t move to the UK, which is pretty insane.
So, after an epic trip home that merits its own blog post, we’re back in DC for somewhere between a month and 3 months (hoping for as little as 6 weeks), which is awesomesauce, as we get to hang out more with our lovely, lovely friends and family!
I promise some more interesting blog posts soon – one of the reasons we started the blog again is because coming back to the U.S. after three years abroad is HI-larious and insane. And I’m sure that moving to the UK will be equally insane.