March 26th is William’s birthday. To celebrate I make a reservation at Brazeiros, a Brazilian restaurant complete with gauchos and all-you-can eat meats. There’s also a nice salad bar, but William chooses only some cheese and salmon before flipping his marker over to green to tell the gauchos to bring on the meat! Oh my - they rotate the choices between 15 different cuts of beef, pork, lamb and chicken. We leave stuffed, and spend more than a few hours reclining on the couch and living room chair digesting all that food.
Alongside the birthdays we tackle some tasks needed for our Ecuador visas and preparation for living ~ two years primarily in Ecuador. While we were still in Cuenca we pursued two avenues to obtain the letters needed to accompany our diplomas and transcripts. The advisory office at UW-Milwaukee is very disappointing - William receives a field of study letter which doesn’t address the requirements, we’re sure it is because the head of office is tired of William contacting her. After strategizing he appeals to the Dean of the Architecture school. She is very helpful and sends a letter which our attorney says should work.
My experience with Northwestern is fantastic. The Registrars Office is very helpful both in e-mail and on the phone and process my transcripts and diploma as needed. My request for the mode of study letter and field of study letter is forwarded to my masters program. The current director of the program responds the same day letting me know when she can complete the letters. When she ran into issues finding a notary for the letters on campus she made visits to bank and had them notarized there. Definitely a huge attitude difference from William’s advisory office!
With the aid of William’s sister all the needed documentation is packaged and sent to the two different Secretary of State offices to be apostilled.
We also research and find a mail handling/forwarding service, iPostal1. They have 2,500+ service centers they contract with in the US, four in the greater Knoxville area. We visit the Postal Annex service center and we're comfortable with what we see, so we sign up for their 30 pieces of mail/month plan to try it out. We receive a Knoxville address for us to use and fill out a form to tell the US Post Office that iPostal1/Postal Annex is allowed to receive our mail. I send four pieces of test mail to our “new address”. I’m notified by iPostal1 when the mail is received, and each envelope is scanned and uploaded to our portal for us to decide how to handle. I instruct them to discard three of the letters and to open and scan the contents of the fourth. We are able to download the scanned contents in pdf format and then instruct them to discard the envelope and contents. I could have chosen to have them shred for an additional fee. So far so good! We will use the service more while we are in the US to further test it out.