Post-Europe 2020: Smoke and Doors and Baby Steps

I write from the airspace between LAX and Chicago’s O’Hare airport. I’m flying back to Illinois after spending six weeks in Southern California with one of my closest friends and her family. These past few weeks alone have been filled with plenty to write home about. When we weren’t spending our time working, plenty of adventures ensued – road trips, wildfires, home improvement projects, job interviews and developments, sunrises and mountaintops, family life and plenty of other gems and blessings along the way. It was incredibly difficult to leave.

There’s plenty more there I can recount if you’re interested, but considering I just looked back and realized the last post I wrote was from April of this year, I’ve got quite a bit to catch you up on so we’re going to fly through it. Here goes. Enjoy this recap of my major life happenings from that past six months in the following bullet points:

  1. My visa application sat on ice from April 15th through July 31st while all the immigration offices were closed.
  2. I continued (and am continuing) to work on the company I’m starting (Fathom). It’s been exciting to watch things develop on that front over the summer.
  3. In the time between April and August, I spent about half my time at my parents’ home in Mundelein and half my time with a few close friends in various places throughout the midwest. I was fortunate enough to road trip between the Ozarks and Nashville, seeing a few fantastic people along the way and traveling with a good friend I met/lived with in Belfast who hails from California (shout-out to JT) and is also currently in the States because of visa woes.
  4. In the second week of August, my family and I contracted COVID-19. 3+ weeks of intense care-taking and recovering ensued. My friend JT, who had come to our house to spend several weeks with my family, did not contract COVID – and she ended up having to social-distance within the house because of the compromised health of her and her family who we had planned to imminently go visit. It was a tough time.
  5. On August 17th, I received a verdict on my second visa application – it was approved. I now have a visa that will allow me to return to the UK and live there for two years.
  6. On August 31st, after COVID symptoms had abated, JT and I left my family’s home and road-tripped from Chicago to southern California to spend time in her neck of the woods and with her family. We spent five weeks living in her family’s cabin in the mountains a couple hours from her family home in LA, and then one more week at the homestead with her parents. When we weren’t working, much more adventuring took place.
  7. In the last week of September, my undergraduate basketball coach reached out and asked what I was up to. I let him know that I was still in the country and had a bit of flexibility. He asked me to come down and help act as another assistant coach for the program at least through December (with a possible extension into the spring depending on how things pan out with the program and with my visa – they give you a window of time during which I’d have to return to the country to “claim” my official ID card but that may be extendable and allow me to postpone my return). I accepted the invitation.
  8. Today, I fly from LAX back to Chicago. I’ll be with my family for the weekend and then will leave for Greenville, Illinois to assist the women’s basketball team there until the end of December for now. My tentative plan after either December or in ~March after the season will be to return to Belfast. For now though, God’s opening the door to coach collegiate basketball again for the next eight weeks.

That just about catches you up to speed. There’s way too much to recount fully here so I’ll have to leave you with the CliffsNotes. Happy to catch up with you at more length if you’d like – give me a ring or shoot me a message any time.

More thoughts to come soon. Love you all. Who knows what will happen next, but excited to share as it develops.

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