Relocation

Reunited!

One early morning I rolled out of bed, packed up the car and drove off to Heathrow bound for NYC.  The day had finally come that we would all be reunited again!  Rather than making an epic (and potentially disastrous) flight from Texas to London with a 2 year old, we planned to meet up in NYC, visit with C’s family then take the “short” flight from there.  We flew into different airports so I grabbed the rental car and drove to pick up the rest of my family. It was not fun because of construction at the airport but we finally were all together again.  We loaded up in the car and headed to see C’s aunt & uncle.

We received a warm welcome and settled in for catching up conversations.  That night we had a great dinner at one of their favorite haunts but Hannah was pretty antsy the entire time.  We traded off child duties throughout to allow each other to eat.  The next day we enjoyed a lazy morning, late breakfast/brunch then decided it was time to head off to the Airbnb we’d rented near the airport.  It had started snowing so driving was less than fun…in fact, at times it was downright scary.  But we finally made it and tucked in for the night.

Enjoying a real snowfall!

Enjoying a real snowfall!

The following morning we woke up to a winter wonderland.  Thankfully the neighbor to our Airbnb cleaned off the stoop and walkway so we were able to make it to the car.  We left for the airport with excitement and apprehension.  We had purposely planned for a daytime flight vs a redeye knowing that there was little chance of Hannah sleeping on the plane.  If she missed a nap it’d be difficult but not as bad as missing an entire night of sleep.  Well, it worked…kind of.  We chose three seats of 4 seats in the middle section leaving one open amongst us, hoping no one would chose a middle middle seat. No such luck.  Several hours and lots of snacks, videos, games, books, walks later we were nearing a meltdown of epic proportions.  We tried our best to head it off, but nevertheless, the toddler took over.  Hannah started fussing, then whining, then crying.  She finally fell asleep between the two of us as we frantically tried to make her comfortable/ensure that she stayed asleep.  Despite our best efforts she slept about 30 minutes then woke up cranky as can be.    We were able to distract her with more snacks and the iPad (thank goodness for handheld technology!).  She was calm for a bit then it was time to land…aka buckle the seat belt, put everything away….cue another meltdown.  This time she was so upset the flight attendant took notice and suggested we offer her something to eat or drink to “help her ears.”  Thanks bud, but that’s not the issue here…we are doing everything we can to calm down an overtired, overstimulated, cranky 2 year old…not our first rodeo (insert eye roll).  To his defense he did bring her some “premium” snacks to munch on to help calm her.  It worked, kinda sorta, and we were finally on the ground.

Thank goodness for headphones, shows and games on the computer/iPad

Thank goodness for headphones, shows and games on the computer/iPad

Finally asleep!

Finally asleep!

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if our plan to fly during the day was the best option.  It was not pretty, but we made it and only got a few side eye glances from surrounding passengers.  After a couple long days of travel we were all together in England to truly start our new adventure.

Exhausted toddler + exhausted mama

Exhausted toddler + exhausted mama

Embarking solo – weeks 2 and 3

After the quick trip to the states for Christmas, I flew back to the UK solo again.  I had about two more weeks alone to get various things done with the most important items being secure a house and start working.  Well, in the UK many places completely shut down the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  That meant the letting agency with the house we were really interested in was closed and I would get no answer until after January 3rd.  So I set up a few last minute viewings on other potential properties with letting agencies that were actually open to see other options while waiting.

But the Brits weren’t the only ones taking time off.  Many people/offices at work were also closed or had very limited hours meaning not much was getting done on that front either.  I accomplished what I could but meant I had a lot of down time.  I took advantage of that and did a bit of sightseeing locally including an amazing cathedral, beautiful gardens and some yummy food.  I also caught up on sleep and reading.

Interior of Ely Cathedral

Interior of Ely Cathedral

Ely Cathedral

Ely Cathedral

Ely Cathedral

Ely Cathedral

Abbey Gardens

Abbey Gardens

Abbey Gardens

Abbey Gardens

Bury St Edmonds

Bury St Edmonds

 

They day before my first scheduled shift I got word that I would indeed get to start seeing patients, albeit without computer access.  Most of our stuff is still on paper so it wasn’t a big inconvenience.  My first shift was New Year’s Eve followed by New Year’s Day.  Thankfully things weren’t too crazy and I was able to settle in fairly well.

After the holiday weekend I had some bad news.  The owner of the house we were pinning our hopes on decided she wasn’t comfortable with tenants who had a dog despite saying “pets considered” in the ad.  We were bummed but continued looking.  C suggested we offer higher monthly rent or deposit to help ease her fears.  I scoffed at the idea but asked the letting agency anyway.  Sure enough, they accepted our offer!

The next day I flew across the pond yet again to meet up with C & H and officially start our great big adventure together.

Embarking solo – Week 1

For various reasons I started the move off by myself with C and Hannah staying behind in Texas.  I actually did not feel much anxiety about leaving until the night before my flight was scheduled to leave.  I have taken trips away a couple times now and they’ve been fine.  But knowing that I would be gone for almost 3 weeks with only a short visit at Christmas to break it up was tough to swallow.  I shed a few tears at the airport saying goodbye.  Hannah was fine but mostly because she didn’t truly understand what was happening.

The flight across the pond was uneventful but uncomfortable.  I didn’t sleep much but did get some reading and movies in.  My first week was a bit chaotic.  I checked into my temporary lodging which had been setup for me.  It was an extremely convenient location, but very basic.  Essentially a bed, tv, bathroom, mini fridge and microwave.  Not exactly glamorous but it would do.  As it was the week before Christmas there was a lot of things that weren’t open, had limited hours or people who weren’t even in their offices.  Thankfully I was able to get my ID card the 2nd day there meaning I had access to everything I needed and the ability travel freely.  I rented a car for a couple days to get around while looking for a car to purchase.  I also attempted to set up several house showings.  However, most of the letting agencies I spoke with couldn’t let me view anything until after Christmas, or even after New Years!  Thankfully I was able to get one set up for that same week and another for the following week.

My super snazzy hotel room - home for 3 weeks

My super snazzy hotel room – home for 3 weeks

English countryside at dusk (at 3:30 pm...ugh)

English countryside at dusk (at 3:30 pm…ugh)

Life living solo in a hotel = takeaway Thai food, a glass of wine and FB surfing

Life living solo in a hotel = takeaway Thai food, a glass of wine and FB surfing

In addition to searching for a house and car, I needed to set up a bank account, get car insurance and work on everything needed to start my job.  It turns out we never closed our bank account from our previous time overseas.  We thought they might have closed it due to inactivity, but low and behold, I walked into a branch, gave them my account information and ID card and sure enough there was a teeny tiny balance still there.  Whew!

A coworker’s wife had a lead on a car that her mechanic was selling so I set up a time to go see and test drive it.  Well, the shop was in a heavy traffic area so I let him drive while I sat.  It had only been 2 or 3 days since I’d started driving on the “wrong” side of the road again so I felt much more comfortable with him driving.  The car looked good and was a good price so I agreed to purchase it.  Two days later I returned to hand over the money and get the keys.  Thankfully another coworker was kind enough to schlep me to the mechanic’s shop in order to get the car.

My new ride

My new ride

That same week I was able to view one property.  Turns out it was a perfect size, great location and had assigned parking (which can be difficult in the area we wanted to live).  I phoned up the letting agent and told them we were very interested in the property.  The landlord and agreed to “consider” pets so the agent presented our information to her for approval.  This was a Thursday afternoon.  They were closed the next day until after New Years.  Which meant we had to wait….for 10 days.

The street with the house I viewed

The street with the house I viewed

Alas, the next day was Friday which mean I was heading home!

Cheers