Tuesday, July 31, 2012


FINALLY, the flights are booked. We're headed to England!

After hours and hours of looking at flights, tonight we finally decided to fly to London (flights were a little cheaper) and then fly to Rome for five days before classes start. We will fly from London to Rome back to London, and then take a short-ish train ride to Birmingham for school.

We leave September 5th. That's just five weeks away! There is so much to do and so much excitement!

Now that we've spent $900 a piece on flights just to London, this trip is a reality. Our next steps are to book flights to Rome, contact the sisters there to stay with them, and figure out if we can stay with one of Raymond's friends in London for a night (pretty please?).

In five weeks we will be saying goodbye to Kansas for the Fall semester!

Here! We're going here!

Packing..and Packing....

SO! There comes a time in life in which you regret having nearly everything you own. Packing up and moving is one of the most time consuming events on the planet..aside from ice fishing.

The time is going so fast and this week everything will become set in stone. Buying plane tickets, finding out how much money we will actually need to live comfortably and food. Everything is changing so fast for once I'm barely keeping up but that's what's so exciting about this. To not really know what will happen is the adventure and the fun of the entire experience.

I hope they have maple bacon doughnuts in England.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Packing and Eureka

Packing packing packing, for both Raymond and myself. Thankfully, we're almost done! We've passed some time filling boxes while watching Eureka, a fabulous show on Netflix that keeps us laughing (mostly). I wonder if we can watch Netflix in Europe... I've heard Hulu isn't allowed. Anyone know if that is true?

I think we've finally figured out the Visas, many thanks to Cheryl Golden at Newman and a friend at NUBirmingham. There's an online application to fill out (that is extremely detailed) and then we have to send that in with our passports and hope they are back to us by September.

Unfortunately, it's really preferable to have plane tickets purchased already when you apply for a visa... so if the air lines could kindly bring their prices back down to Friday's that would be great. We literally were about to buy tickets when they jumped up $200 and they haven't come back down yet (darn it!).

Some good news is that my family got5 some photo proofs back today from Lola Jo Photography. When my mom realized half the family was leaving for a few months (my brother for med school, a sister for law school, my brother-in-law for Turkey, and me and Raymond for England) she asked us to all take the time and get some family pictures done. I'm so glad we did and Brandi with Lola Jo did a fantastic job!

Friday, July 27, 2012

They put Voldemort to bed?

As Raymond and I sit here watching the opening ceremonies for the London Olympics, we're so impatient to get there! The "telly" keeps teasing us with glimpses of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. We will be there so soon!
We're going here!

In my opinion, the best part of the opening (so far) has been the original music composed for the event. It was also cool to see the fields turn into an industrial city and time travel through British music. We wanted to volunteer to wear neon clothing and dance! But during the NHS portion, was it Voldemort or a giant baby tucked in bed? Raymond says a giant baby Voldemort...

The past few days have been a bit of a headache for trip planning. First, we're supposed to apply for a student visitor visa, but the online application is missing and the print version we have is outdated. The process is in the middle of being updated, so we're caught in the middle! Once we figure out the correct application, we found out we have to mail our real passport (not just photocopies) to New York and wait for them to return it. YIKES!

In addition, we spent hours scouring for air tickets and when we finally decided we were ready to book, the rates jumped up. We're crossing our fingers they come down again Monday!

Feel free to leave comments here or on Facebook. What was your favorite part of the opening ceremonies in London?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Americans are coming again! After the Olympics...

Well. Its official that its official as I write this that Rachel and I are going to England for the fall semester! I honestly can't believe that one of my dreams is actually real so soon! Of course I plan to be a Power Ranger,& billionaire, and a Super Saiyan but those aren't far off.

The process is coming together as my passport is finally on the way! Funny story about that, I'd been meaning to call the National travel service to find out how long it would take my passport to arrive in the regular amount of time. She paused for a moment and told me, "September 20th," this is after she asked me 3 times when I was leaving the country. But $72 later and my passport should be here next Wednesday and a large weight has now been lifted from my shoulders.

But the next beast we're having to slay is the visa process. There is SO much that goes into this process when going to a foreign University. I'm half tempted to just show up in the airport with all my stuff, "I'm sorry it would have taken FOREVER in the States."

We'll keep you all updated on what happens here in the next two weeks!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What are we thinking?

Six weeks. That's how long Raymond and I have to plan a trip to England! I know it sounds a little crazy, but we're bound and determined to make this trip work.

When first I approached him with the idea of going abroad, Raymond sounded doubtful but excited. His first (and biggest) concern was finances. How would we make it work? We knew Newman University, our home school, had a fledgling exchange program for England, but no one had tested it out yet and we were not entirely sure how our financial aid packages would apply.

Since then, the community has shown us time and time again that going abroad is the right decision for us. We found that through this exchange program with Newman University in Birmingham, England, our tuition and fees are a direct swap -- meaning it is exactly like we are going to school here in Kansas, but we will be attending classes and living in Birmingham.

Since we made the decision to go, it has been a whirlwind of passport and visa applications, scouring for the best airfare, and dreaming of weekend getaways. Not only do we need to plan our trip, but we also both have to move out of our house/apartment by the middle of August.

Traveling abroad has been a dream for both of us. With this trip, we're making it a reality.

Follow our travel and adventures here! We'll be posting from England, Italy, France, and Ireland. Also look below the posts for our most recent video blog content from Youtube. Feel free to subscribe to our posts by email on the right sidebar. This is Rachel-Ray, Across the Pond!