Friday, June 17, 2011

Just Another Madrid Monday

So I'm starting a new "series" that I'll call Just Another Madrid Monday because....Luke and I are moving to Madrid, Spain! For my first Madrid Monday, I'll go back to the beginning and how this all came to be.

I think it all started some time in mid to late February. I was working from home that day due to icy conditions, but Luke was braving the roads into work because he had a few important things to wrap up and was supposed to have lunch with Scott, the partner on his main client. Just randomly before he left, I told Luke to tell Scott that he was quitting in August unless he could do the Global Exchange Progam (GEP) and go work abroad for a year. At the lunch, Scott did ask Luke about his plans for the future, and Luke mentioned the GEP to him (although he probably didn't exactly say, "I'm quitting unless...."). Scott was really open to the idea, told Luke that he had just seen an email about the application process and that he would look into it as soon as they got back to the office.

Back at the office, they found the email and realized that the first application was due that Friday. I think it was Wednesday at this point. Luckily, there wasn't too much involved (on Luke's part) in the first stage of the application process. Basically, before you are even allowed to submit an application for the GEP, you have to have the support of your own home office and the National office in NY and be selected to continue in the application process. With Scott's help, the appropriate people knew that Luke was interested in the GEP right away, and they included his name in the list of the potential candidates that was due to the National office on that Friday. A few weeks passed before we found out that Luke had been accepted in the first round and could submit an application.

So begins the second stage of the application process. In this stage, Luke had to provide all his personal information, submit a resume and answer a few questions such as "Why are you applying to the GEP?" and "How will your home office benefit from your participation in the GEP?". He also had to plan out what destination he wanted to go to and what clients he would work on while there. This part took a lot of talking/planning between Luke and Scott, and Scott also helped out a lot by making connections with people in Spain, which was Luke's targeted destination. After submitting the application, there was a lot of waiting. We submitted it at the very beginning of March. It wasn't until April 1 that we found out that the US office had accepted his application, but that was only half of it. He also had to have an interview with the Spanish office and be separately accepted by that office. So after April 1, we just continued to wait. We knew that Luke would have an interview but we had no idea when.

Finally, on May 19, Luke was contacted by the Spain office and an interview was set for Monday, May 23. On May 23, Luke had his interview in SPANISH over the phone. He left feeling okay about the interview. Before this point in the application process, though, we didn't realize that there would potentially be people from all the world interviewing and trying to go to Spain. So, while Luke thought his interview went well, he thought it probably didn't go as well as say an interview with somebody from Latin America who speaks Spanish as their first language. We dropped the probability of being chosen down to less than 50% and continued to wait two more weeks, which was when they told him he would hear back from the Spain office.

Two weeks passed. And then three weeks passed. Then three weeks and three days in, we finally heard that Luke had been accepted, and we would be going to Spain. And before I go any further, let me take a minute to brag on my amazing husband. Luke was 1 of only 18 people from all of North America that was accepted into the GEP. And Ernst & Young is no joke. They hire the best, and they demand a TON. So for him to be accepted is a major accomplishment. And they made the right decision. Luke is such a hard worker, full of integrity and taking ownership in all he does. It doesn't matter if it's the smallest task or something he is dreading having to do, he does it all the way. It's nice to know that the people who work with Luke recognize this as well and have been behind him 100% throughout the whole process. And now back to Spain. :)

Right now, we still have a ton of questions. We know that Luke will be expected to start work in Spain on October 1 (though this is subject to change if the immigration process takes longer than expected), and we know that the term of his contract is 18 months, which will put us back in the good ole US of A in April 2013. But that's literally all we know right now. We're heading to NYC tomorrow morning for GEP orientation, where we hope to get answers to some of our questions.

We are so excited for this next stage in our lives. I expect that there will be many highs and lows, triumphs and challenges, smiles and tears. Leaving our family will be extremely difficult, but we're already making plans for trips back to the states and trips to Spain (as long as Mom can find enough happy pills to last the full 9 hours of flight time :)). I imagine 18 months will fly by, as time seems to do these days. So though some times will be more difficult than others, I can't imagine that we will ever look back on this time with regret.

Look forward to more Madrid Mondays, and eventually Madrid every day, as I definitely plan to use this blog to keep up with family while we're away and to document our experience from the big move to our European travels to how we settle into our new normal in Madrid.


  1. So excited for y'all! I'm not sure how many people will be in NY this week for orientation, but my friend Drew and his wife Amanda will be there too. Hopefully y'all will get to meet! Congrats!

  2. How exciting for both of you! Can't wait to visit :)