Jeremy received the interview request email from the university in Dubai* early on a Sunday morning, right before we left for church (Sunday is a weekday in the Middle East). It was all we could do to sit through church and carry on as normal while also trying to keep our minds from going crazy with those "first date to engagement/wedding/house/rest-of-our-lives plans" I mentioned earlier. After all, just because Jeremy was a finalist for this job did not mean he would get it. We went through this in 2009, too. Perhaps we went a little too far in the denial direction, though. We just didn't talk about it. His interview fly-out was going to be sandwiched between two other business trips so to me it was just like one long, continuous streak of his being out of town.
When he got back from the interview (which was not in Dubai, by the way, but in Minnesota, because it's easier to fly an interview team here than multiple candidates for multiple positions there), Jeremy told me a little more about the job and its benefits and then we continued to not talk about it for a few more weeks.
Toward the end of April, I think we had each personally decided that nothing was going to come of this job, just as we had steeled ourselves to expect. Jeremy hadn't heard anything definitive from his contacts at the university and although they had told us that they would make their decision by the end of the month, that time was rapidly approaching with no sign of Jeremy being their candidate of choice.
Meanwhile (there's that word again), it was almost time to renew our apartment lease. I was gearing up to register Miriam for kindergarten at the elementary school down the street. We were still looking for someone to sublease our apartment that summer. My mom was coming in for a visit in a few days. Life was good. We were happy. There was plenty going on without a crazy job offer from Dubai, what with going to Egypt and all.
On the last Sunday in April, once again early in the morning, Jeremy awoke to his cell phone ringing and the caller ID showing a very long-distance number. I was already awake getting the girls ready for church. I could hear him talking in Arabic to whoever it was, so I suspected (but tried not to hope) that it was him receiving a definitive answer from the university in Dubai, whatever that answer was.
When he emerged from the room a few minutes later, he was a little white-faced. I didn't even have to ask. He simply said, "They chose me."
That's the moment when everything turned upside-down.
To be continued...
*We say Dubai for ease of reference but it's actually the next city-emirate over, in Sharjah.