A short update today, and hopefully a longer post before Friday. Last week, my wife and I finally received our visas in the mail, and soon afterward purchased plane tickets. We had to wait about two and a half months for our police certificates to be processed by the FBI - we submitted our paperwork for that within a week and a half of receiving my acceptance letter to the University of Otago, so it's not like we spent any time procrastinating. To be honest, the visa applications took less time to process than I thought they would - just under three weeks. We had both assumed they would take three months.
When we received the prepaid return envelope in the mail, I saw that it was from the consulate, and when I opened it up - I thought something terribly wrong had happened, because all I saw in there were our two passports. No "congratulations" letter, or alternatively, no "sorry, you can't travel to our country" letter. I had forgotten that the visas are just stickers inside the passport, so I was pretty happy to see not one but two passports with visa stickers inside.
We'll be flying out the first week of March, and have also finally figured out shipping. We've discovered that in order to ship a few hundred pounds of cargo, it is cheaper to pay for an extra two checked bags per person than to try and ship that material in boxes. I am excited as hell to get down there and start exploring and starting my dissertation research, and joining I'll be joining Dr. R. Ewan Fordyce's group of Ph.D. students (in no particular order) Gabriel Aguirre-Fernandez, Carolina Loch, Felix Marx, and Yoshi Tanaka.
University of Otago Department of Geology