Friday, May 4

A general life update

I thought I should put up some kind of more general update on what's currently happening in the lives of Jo and Jac, because there's actually quite a lot going on!

On Tuesday Jo found out that she's been offered a job here at the Foundation! The job has the swanky title of "Research Coordinator" and it's primarily a PA position for my boss that will involve grant management and all that other fun stuff that keeping a team of scientists on the ball involves. Jo has also been volunteering for the library here on a collection of personal and historic documents they hold from one of our key philanthropists, so we're hoping that part of her job will also involve a more formalised component of this work. The paperwork for the job should come through today, then we need to leave the country to apply for a new visa for her (yay) but more about that in a sec.

I put in an abstract for a conference in Italy and it looks like I've been given an oral presentation. The conference is in Torino at the end of May (26-29) so we're off to Italy! Jo is coming too (of course), and we're going to Rome after the conference finishes so that we can visit the US consulate there and apply for her new visa. There are still a few kinks to work out, but here's hoping everything will be fine. I spent a frustrating few hours on the phone to USCIS the other day trying to work out what to do about her nearly expired B2 visa and ended up having to trick the robot into letting me talk to a real person (going silent doesn't work - it just obstinately says "I'm sorry, you did not answer" and repeats the question over and over and over). The problem is that we applied for an extension to Jo's official "length of stay" and have a receipt from USCIS to say that they received the application and they're processing it (there were at least speedy in cashing the $200 cheque). The instructions said to send the application in 30-45 days prior to expiry (which we did)... However, on checking their site, it seems they're only just finalising applications that they received in December, 2006! Anyhow, after much swearing and then having to pretend that I'd filled the application out wrong and needed to change the address, I got to speak to a real live person who said it was ok, Jo didn't need to leave the country immediately (which was our big fear) and that the USCIS receipt to say the application was received allows her to stay until we hear back from them. Weird system!! I don't think that leaving the country on an expired departure card will be a problem, it would only be a problem if the visa application in Rome is denied but I'm hoping that is unlikely. But who knows, I certainly don't pretend to understand it all...

Um, so the short version is we're going to Italy on the 25th of May and coming home on the 5th of June, or something like that! Should be fun :)

It's Jo's 30th birthday tomorrow (Saturday) so we've been busy planning for that as well. Tonight we're going downtown, to a side of San Antonio known as Southtown, which is the artsie part of the city. On the first Friday of every month they run something called, well, First Friday... which, by the way, I've never managed to get to! From what I've heard it's a mix of galleries, pubs and restaurants opening up along a stretch of Southtown and you kind of wind your way through it. This Friday seemed to be perfect timing, so we're taking some of the after work crowd and going to check it out.

On Saturday night we're going out to dinner with a smaller group of some of our closest friends from here. Not entirely sure where we're going yet but of course there will be a follow up food post - this blog would not be the same without one! Then next Saturday (slightly delayed to fit around everyone's busy schedules) we're having a bit more of a party type get together. Drinks, nibbles, that sort of thing. I'll make some sushi and I might even see if I can replicate my superbowl chili recipe!

As for other news, it's well and truly warming up here. We've had to put the AC on in order to get any sleep, and it's unusually muggy at the moment which only makes me more sticky and irritable. The days are up in the 30s, and only dropping to the mid 20s at night (and this isn't even summer!) We're also well and truly into the spring storm season and we've already had some amazing thunderstorms. Eerie green skies (that usually mean hail) pink lightning, the works! This year we've also had a lot of tornado watches (which means the weather is favorable to producing one) and a few tornado warnings (which means one has been spotted nearby). We didn't get any last year, not even watches, because we didn't have anywhere near as much moisture. There actually haven't been any tornadoes in the San Antonio area yet, but the ones that you might have heard about on the news recently were in Eagle Pass, which is only about 200km away. They've had a few bad ones recently :(

That may be enough of a wall of text post for now! I'll leave you with a few pics of the amazing bromeliad that Jo bought me from one of the nurseries here. It has the most incredible flowers ^_^


Jac said... says this was posted on Thursday but it was actually posted today (which I am SURE is Friday). I did start the post yesterday but got distracted ;)

Mick and Trace said...

Happy Birthday Jo !

Have a wonderul 30th

Love and Blesings to you both

CupKate said...

Happy Birthday JoJo
Was lovely to hear about your birthday adventures via text - look forward to hearing more about it!
xxxx many hugs