We are officially inside the window. The window of time that is six months before you leave and six months after where the greatest changes and transitions begin to take place as you prepare for your next post.

It is also the window where they say you should never divorce your spouse because you’re probably just fighting as a result of stress, which I thought was pretty funny. Happily, our relationship remains intact, and we’re actually bonding as we look forward to our departure from Belize and arrival in London!! (Knock on wood.)

And we have taken a few steps in the process. We updated our medical clearances at the beginning of the month while our regional nurse practitioner was visiting. Next I’ll have to get started on the cat’s extensive list of paperwork, exams and tests so she can get back into the States and then get into the UK without being quarantined.

This seems to be the single thing that I am the most stressed about for some reason. I have visions of finally arriving at the airport in London, having her denied, and then thrown into kitty jail for months on end. The very idea of it raises my blood pressure.

We should find out about our housing about 90 days before we arrive. And since we’re doing five weeks of training in DC and then five weeks of home leave, that should be about two weeks before we leave post and should be packing out. So no pressure there.

And our home leave location is still up in the air. Home leave is that joyous time where you have four or five mandatory weeks of vacation, which would be great if you had a home. And some people do…they buy houses as investment properties and just to have somewhere to go between posts. Or they visit family. But we’re going to have a toddler and a cat that we’ll be dragging all over. So a single, pet-friendly location with a decent amount of space that doesn’t cost a ton of money would be ideal.

We also have to buy new wardrobes as we’ll be heading into a northern European winter after two years in the tropics. This is not something I’m necessarily complaining about, and we’ll probably end up doing most of our shopping in DC during training. But it’s one more thing on the to-do list that could be rather expensive.

We also have to get visas for the UK and have all of our paperwork in order. I suppose it’s no wonder that I’m already starting to have stress dreams! But, I’ll try not to think about all that right now as we have two sets of friends coming to visit in March, woo ho!! J

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