Monday, December 29, 2014

The Journey that led us to Abigail's...

As the new owners of Abigail's Bed and Breakfast Inn, Adam and I would like to welcome you to our 2015 Blog Page and our New Year together. I did a small introduction in our "Innkeepers" section but I am sure you would all love to hear how Adam and I came all the way to American and how we ended up in Ashland, Oregon and how we were lucky enough to become the proud owners of our beautiful Abigail's.

Nearly six years ago Adam entered us into the USA Green Card Diversity Lottery. Well as most Americans you will ask "What is the Green Card Lottery?" Well it was created by the US Government to diversify the population of America and this is accomplished by granting 50,000 green cards each year to countries that don't normally send many immigrants to the US. There are however requirements - you must have at least a high school education, two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years worth of training or experience. Unfortunately the demand for Green Cards can be greater than supply and preference is given to those who are spouses and children of US Citizens or those who are highly qualified workers.  The wait can be anything from up to two and twelve years. When Adam entered us via the internet, we were at a time of our life where we were having to think of our future and our retirement. The political situation in Zimbabwe was deteriorating at an alarming rate. The work situation dire and the imminent collapse of the infrastructure was and still is looming if things do not change. We still have 20 work years ahead of us, enough to secure our future we felt and so he took a chance!

Well chance was a fine thing and to this end it paid off for us. We were informed within the year that we had been selected. I was amazed, shocked and well pretty unsure about this opportunity - as one gets older, one becomes more cautious and less confident I think. We  received documents via the post and had numerous forms to fill out to get to the next stage. Once that was completed we had to pay for medicals, police clearance, interviews and on it went. This "lottery" does not entitle a person to anything other than the right to "Permanent Legal Residence" in the USA, the remainder is up to you! Well once we passed all the criteria and we were interviewed, much to my shock we were granted visas and that we had to visit America within six months to activate them.

Well to cut a long story somewhat short - Adam and I flew to America in the January of 2011. Both of us had never been to America - Adam was working and committed, so the plan was do a quick visit to activate the cards and return a year later to have a good look a the West Coast. With that decision made we flew into Orlando, Florida for 10 mad crazy days as tourists. We stayed in a condo in Kissimmee just outside Walt Disney World Theme Parks. I shall never forget that evening that we landed at Orlando, I think I fell in love with America then - no waiting just straight away! It felt so good, the Americans were so welcoming, everything so clean and well organized. No bribery and corruption were evident, just follow the rules and all works. I felt safe for the first time in years! By the time we left I was well and truly committed to us living in America.Well Adam and I went back to Zimbabwe and I spent the next year researching America, its States, Towns and properties for sale in and around the West Coast Area. As I said in our introductory I am a Chef, not qualified but self taught and totally passionate - for the past 30 odd years of my life I have lived, breathed and eaten food as you will no doubt see! My last venture into the foodie world put me directly in the path of the American Diplomats - my evenings of Wine and Food Pairing enticed them into my home where I cooked for up to 40 people plus. When they heard that Adam and I had DVs' they offered plenty of advice on where we should go to settle. Ninety percent having lived in Zimbabwe for some time recommended the West Coast simply because of the weather and the other foodies recommended California because of the food. One person recommended Sedona, Arizona and another Ashland, Oregon. So the stage was set - we settled on a two month road trip in an RV a year later at the end of January 2012. Decision time - we collected our RV from Phoenix, Arizona and we drove right on up through Arizon to Sedona, lovely incredibly beautiful but not for us work wise. We drove to the Grand Canyon, through Death Valley, up to Lake Tahoe - too much snow - down on into Nevada - Las Vegas, wow! and then on into Oregon and along Route 66 into Ashland. We spent a week looking at houses and work opportunities but still were not convinced. So back into the RV and down along the Pacific Coastal Highway through all of the towns and into San Diego. Well we returned to Zimbabwe pretty certain that the move would be within the next two years. I have no idea to this day why we choose two years, but it turned out that that time wait was what it took for us to know in our hearts that we have done was entirely the right decision. Within a week of our return to Zimbabwe my darling sister had an aneurysm and survived a heart-sore six months until she passed. It took me another year to come to terms with the grief and when I did I knew that we had to leave and make the most of the opportunity that was given to us.So it was in March of this year that we came to spend a month in Ashland to look at purchasing either a house or a business. I knew Ashland pretty well by then as I had spent months on the internet looking at houses, restaurants and bed and breakfasts. It was a month prior that visit that I came across Abigail's and from then on I was hooked. Now I had to convince Adam - Adam is an Accountant, surely I do not have to say anything more! That word alone is self-explanatory.... well what a job, but luck was my side or maybe it was just meant to be. When I saw her I wanted her - plain and simple, Adam well I just knew that as soon as he started asking questions that he was well on the way to being interested. And so Abigail's became ours to love and look after. We returned to Zimbabwe and we had six months to sell our other homes and to pack up our belongings. So it came to be, that Adam and I left with our ghastly luggage which caused untold travelling stress - four huge suitcases and four pieces of hand luggage to start our new life in America with Abigail's by our side.

Now for the future of Abigail's - Adam and I will continue to run her as she was with some small improvements we hope for the 2015 Oregon Shakespeare Festival that starts again on the 27th February this year ( previews begin 20th February) . This year is the 80th Anniversary year of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and in honor of this milestone the have a season that is bursting with adventure from "all over the world". Visit the website to have a look at what will be on offer. Just  quick reminder of our OSF package deal that we run every season. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact either Adam or I on phone  +1 541 482 4563.

We have purchased new mattresses for Abigail Alcott - Queen , Abigail Duniway Queen and Twin, the Cottage as well as new linen. We have also added a small one cup keurig coffee machine to all of our rooms with a selection of either tea and/or coffee k-cups for choice. Our breakfasts shall remain communal unless our guests specifically require privacy. Breakfasts will still continue to be served promptly at 9 am. As before coffee, tea and light refreshments with homebaked goods will be available throughout the day, I have also decided to introduce a light cup of soup for those returning from the theatre late in the evening to help themselves to.

For now Adam and I will say "Au revoir" and we look forward to hosting you during the coming 2015 Season!
Pancake Starter with Fresh Blueberries soaked in Maple Syrup with Kiwi Fruits and Sour Cream Cheese!

Eggs Benedict Served on a Hash Brown Pattie with Fresh Dill.

A visit to Del Rio Winery to collect our Wines of the Month. Excellent Wines ..

Breakfast at Abigail's!

Goats Cheese Souffle Served with Roasted Cinamon Butternut and Local Mushrooms.

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