- November 2011 - we realise sadly that we are probably going to return to the UK earlier than we planned. We start thinking about the next step, feeling a bit lost and confused.
- I look again at teaching to see if there is any chance of training in September 2012. One option is the Graduate Training Programme, but the chances of getting a placement school at this point are very unlikely, especially considering we are still living in South America.
- After sending out a couple of emails to some contacts, I am offered a placement without interview.
- I begin the process of applying for a university place. There are a few dramatic twists and turns, such as the university not accepting my application without a copy of my qualifications. They can't possibly mean the certificates that are carefully stored in a possibly unlabelled box in someone's loft... We think maybe that we are pushing the boundaries of friendship and blood ties by asking several people that have been kind enough to store our possessions, to look through all of these boxes to find the possibly unlabelled certificates. They are found and - hurrah- they were in a folder labelled 'qualifications.' I am more organised than I gave myself credit for. (Feel free to not comment if you have experiences of my disorganisation).
- Things in Peru unfold and develop at a rapid rate and we find out that we are leaving before Christmas in a way that none of us had planned or hoped for. We pack up and leave with 2 weeks notice, feeling all-at-once confused, sad and excited to be returning home. In the middle of it all, I throw together an application for a Teaching Assistant post.
- School places in Enfield are always a bit stressful and we need to apply for a place for Daniel mid year. There is a massive shortage of places for his year group. After getting his form in to the Council the day after we land, we have no choice but to relax, re-adjust and celebrate Christmas with our family.
- Jan 2012 - it looks like the only school spaces are some distance away. It is possible he won't get a place this year. The following day, our first choice school calls to offer Daniel a place. The office call it a fluke. We are absolutely delighted, even if it messes up our spontaneous Center Parcs cheap break!
- I get an interview for the Teaching Assistant post. In the interview, I discover that there is a vacancy in the RE Department, the subject which I hope to teach. I am offered a job.
- I have an interview for the GTP University place and I am very, very nervous, especially as it includes a mental arithmetic exam. Gulp. During the time that I am waiting to hear the result, I receive an incredibly discouraging email. It outlines that the GTP is massively over-subscribed, with 22,000 applicants for 4,400 places. It suggests applicants may want to investigate other options. I label this in the 'Unhelpful' category and continue to wait. It is possible I wasn't a lot of fun to live with at this point.
- I start work and really enjoy it. I find out that I have a place on the GTP. Whoop whoop!
- Daniel is settled in school and Sophia and Neil are enjoying their days together. When Sophia asks where Mummy is, she says,' Work, Again. It just me and you, Daddy.' Every day, I ask her if she missed me. She says, 'Not really.'
Even as our fantastic stories of flukes and coincidences has unfolded, we have had questions, partly caused by our time in Peru. People said encouraging things like God would look afer us and it would all work out. My hesitancy wasn't caused by thinking that God was not capable of this, but
why us and not others? We are so, so happy that Daniel is settled in a lovely school, but what about the other kids without a school place? We just think that we have so much and yet we have given more, and it appears in stark contrast to some of the people that we met with over the last year.
A friend commented that when he has been overwhelmed with God's blessing, he has realised that he needs to be a blessing to others too. I guess we need to accept these gifts of God and serve him as faithfully as we can, and continue our adventure as our family's place in God's big story continues to unfold,