*I wrote this post while on the plane from London back to Texas. I’ve been meaning to post it but had to get that long Barcelona post out of the way first. So here ya go*
After a few days of packing and stressing out, D-day (departure day) was rapidly approaching. Sunday evening C & I had dinner with one of the physicians I worked with. It was a good time chatting and enjoying each other’s company. Monday was spent getting more things packed up and running a million errands. I dropped by the base for the last time, finished up a few final things and dropped off my badges. That evening we had dinner with several of my coworkers. It was a great night of talking, laughing and swapping stories. It was such fun and made me regret that we hadn’t really spent much time with these people outside of work. After all, for the most part when I wasn’t working, we were traveling. The presented me with a fantastic gift – an engraved and signed cricket bat. It will definitely hold a special place in our home. I found myself getting a little choked up as I hugged them all goodbye, promising to keep in touch while hoping I was being honest. I have been blessed to work with some wonderful people – kind, smart, talented and hard working are just few descriptions that come to mind. I can honestly say I would be honored and blessed to work with another group like them any day.
My new cricket bat
Just a few team members I was blessed to work with
That night I had a hard time sleeping despite the fact that we had to be up early to take Lacey to the airport for her trip home. After a short and restless night of sleep, we woke before the sun. After throwing on some semi-respectable clothes and sneaking the travel crate into the car we loaded the pup into the car for the drive to Heathrow. Despite the early hour (we left the house at 5:15), we hit traffic due to construction and overall congestion. I was worried we wouldn’t make the scheduled drop off time of 7:45 am, but pulled up the cargo area just on time. A man met us in the parking lot, we assembled her crate, placed her in and he wheeled her away as whined loudly. We jumped back in the car before we could hear anymore (and make ourselves upset).
The rest of the day was spent running final errands like making sure there was enough money in our UK account for the last rent payment, dropping off recycling, getting food for dinner and then finally, dropping the rental car off. I’m pretty sure the folks at the car rental agency were happy to see us go – after all we’d been through 5 cars in our 5 months due to various issues.
I was exhausted at 6:30 that evening and had to struggle to stay awake until 8:30. Once everything was fully packed (with the exception of a few small things needed for the morning) we fell into bed exhausted. I woke up early thinking I had slept through the alarm, but of course, it was way before the time for my alarm. I’m not sure that I ever fully fell back asleep, but was exhausted when my alarm finally sounded. We got ready for the long day ahead, assembled our mass of bags downstairs and waited for our ride to the airport.
My supervisor kindly drove us (and our 4 large suitcases plus 2 carry-ons a piece!) the 2+ hours to Heathrow. Before we knew it, we were at the departures area, he dropped us, helped unload the bags and we said farewell. While dropping the bags off at check-in we silently prayed the scale at home matched their scales. Thankfully each bag came in between 22.4 and 23.1kg – the max allowed being 23 kg. We made our way through security, ate a small breakfast then went to the boarding area. I was feeling a mixture of sadness and excitement about going back home. It wasn’t until we were sitting on the plane a few hours into the trip that my emotions got the best of me. I was listening to music on my phone and a song came on from a movie we saw this summer. Suddenly the tears welled up and I couldn’t hold back.
Mixed emotions at Heathrow to say the least
I know it sounds silly to be so upset that I’m crying on an airplane, but its how I felt. I know just how lucky and blessed we were to have this opportunity in the first place, but it just seems too soon for it to end. I really truly believed that I would get extended and we would spend another year living over there. The fact that it didn’t happen as I imagined makes me really sad. It makes it harder that the people I worked with wanted me to stay as well, but I guess it just wasn’t in the cards. A few people said to me that everything happens for a reason, and perhaps its true, but its hard not knowing that reason right now.
We’ve talked about whether we would go back if given the opportunity and we haven’t really truly decided. It was a huge financial burden for us, causing us to dip into our savings. We were lucky in that we had a large cushion built up so we still have a decent amount saved despite taking a pretty good hit. But I don’t know if we could afford to do it a second time, especially knowing the costs to move (and then move back). My supervisor has promised to keep an eye out for positions not only in England, but also in Germany & Italy. However, with the current US government financial situation, who knows what will be out there, if anything.
In the meantime, its back to life in the states. Back to our family and friends who we’ve missed terribly. Back to life as semi-responsible adults. Back to Tex-Mex. But I’ll still have tea time every now and then and fondly remember our time abroad.