Monday, October 26, 2009

We're Here!

Ghaith and I arrived safely to Portland as scheduled last Tuesday, after 14 hours in flight and a two-hour interview process at immigrations in Houston. We arrived very tired in Portland, to an awaiting group of happy family and friends, even some from the Portland Arabic Christian Church. What a joyful time we all had together at the airport! Praise God for safe travels.

We are living with my grandma Carolyn in her cozy home. It’s clean, comfortable, and quiet here and Ghaith is feeling very much at home. We’ve been cooking and eating with Grandma for most meals, and they are enjoying getting to know one another. Ghaith met my father last week, a meeting that went much better than I imagined. My father Tim’s health has once again improved, after recently battling a number of internal organ infections in the hospital. He never ceases to amaze us! Although he hasn’t been speaking during his hospitalization and recovery process, he had a few words for Ghaith and I when we came for our first visit together. He smiled and told me he loved me, got teary-eyed several times, and laughed when he met Ghaith – his way of showing his joy. We are so thankful Tim has been able to hang onto life once again, so we can all be together and savor and enjoy what will probably be the last phase of his life.

We have been exploring different parts of the city by day, and catching up with friends in the evenings. Ghaith is wide-eyed and dazzled by the beauty of this place, and I am so happy that he is happy. We are seeing each other in a more natural and relaxed sense than we ever have before, and it is so wonderful!

On the downside, Ghaith has been sick with a bad sore throat. It started to get bad the day of our departure, and has become worse every day. It’s quite intense, and even keeping him from sleeping and eating now. We’re not medically insured yet, but I’ve found a clinic in Portland that accepts uninsured patients daily. We’ll go there today, and hope they can help.

Thanks you so much for your friendship. You don’t know how much you have meant to us over the past many months!

Blessings to you this day,
Ghaith & Tiffany

Friday, October 16, 2009

Coming Home

After all our hard work and prayers and waiting, Ghaith and I are actually coming home in just a few days! It's amazing really, that everything has worked out. God's hand has been in this every step of the way, and we will continue to ask for his help as we make our travels to the U.S. Our first flight goes to Bush International Airport in Houston Texas, where we will go through customs, be asked some questions (possibly more like be grilled) by immigration officials, and change planes. Of all places for an Iraqi to have to transfer upon his immigration to the U.S., we had to get an airport in Texas named after Bush! God's got a sense of humor!

Ghaith's nervous, of course, about moving to another new country... but more so, he is relieved to finally have a place to call home. It will be another big adjustment for him, but he's already been through this in 3 other countries, so I hope and pray for an easy transition for him. His family is thrilled about our plans, as they love me very much and are so happy Ghaith has me in his life. What a blessing to have their support.

Our last few weeks here in Amsterdam have been wonderful! I had my last few shifts with the Scharlaken Koord, we are taking the train around to visit friends for the last time, staying with the family I first came here to work for, having a great time with the kids, and buying some Dutch things we never had the money for until now.

We fly out on Tuesday, the 20th! Please pray for us as we make our travels… and hopefully we’ll be seeing you soon!

Love and blessings,
Tiffany & Ghaith

P.S. This picture was taken just after our appointment with the consulate, when Ghaith's visa application to the U.S. was approved. Look at those happy faces!