Being chosen for OUTCAN (Outside Canada) position was the best news we had received just before Christmas 2014. John’s boss called him while we were eating supper and asked him if we would be interested in Washington, DC. We didn’t even think about it, said yes instantly. Of course knowing the army has positions all over the world, we were kind of disappointed to only be moving to the USA, but it was an opportunity we were not going to say no to. I instantly started looking schools for the kids. What is around DC? Where we could go for small vacations with the kids. What museums were free? A family friend (more of a big sister to me) moved from Virginia to Texas, so I started talking to her and getting her advice on where the “good” cities were for the kids. The good neighborhoods with good schools.
To get the opportunity to go on OUTCAN, your entire family need to pass a screening process (medical, dental, social…) to make sure you are all in the right frame of mind, medically and mentally to leave your home country for 4 years. To do this process, you need to wait for a message saying you have been chosen. Well 3 weeks after getting “the call”, and no message, John and I both started to wonder if someone else had been chosen instead. In the mail that day I got the “tourist guide” for Washington DC. This booklet contained so much information it was amazing. But still no message.
One night, we went to the mall to do some Christmas shopping when John gets a call on his cell phone. It was his boss once again, this time asking if we would be okay to be posted to Germany, instead of Washington DC. He told us to “talk it over and get back to him the next day”. There was no need. In our minds, this is exactly what OUTCAN meant – Europe. Seeing the world was a dream, and we finally had that opportunity! 2 days later, message received, and we could start our screening process.
The 2 month process is long. John’s appointments were all completed fairly quickly. Civilian doctors are very slow. Took a month to get seen by them, and then another 3 days for them to finish all their paperwork. After a few bumps in the road with Nathan’s speech therapy reports, we got it all settled out, and our paperwork was FINALLY all green. Green meant everything needed was good, just to wait for another message to say “you are officially going”.
Until the “you are officially going” message, you cannot “do anything”. Your house just sits there, waiting to be sold, but you cannot put it up for sale yet. BUT…. You have to prepare your house for the day your message comes in. Renting a storage container was needed to “empty” our house for showings. We had a month to renovate everything needing to be changed. Changing the laminate flooring in 4 big rooms, changing the tiles in our upstairs bathroom, paint literally the entire house; all while storing your house in a container. Stressful doesn’t even explain how this month was… My parents came up with an empty van helping us to move things to our storage container. John’s parents came up to help change the floors and paint. My parents took the kids one weekend so John and I could get as much done as we could, without tripping over toys. John’s parents came again to finish small things… It was a big community help, and I am grateful to have the help we did!
Finally once the message was able to come in, which is finally did after a month and a half of waiting, we were able to put our house on the market and get that done.