Yesterday marked exactly one year since a girl and her dog set foot in England for goodsies. The time has moved incredibly fast, and my life is SO MUCH DIFFERENT than it was when I left Texas. This weekend, the Axis of Ineptitude wants me to Feel a Thing, and somehow it seemed appropriate that I tell you some of my feelings about this past year.
The final days before the move are kind of a blur to me now. While I had given notice at work for my last day to be the end of April, circumstances led to me having to work almost two more full weeks to train my replacement. This seriously cut into the time I had intended to spend with my mom before leaving, and in getting all my things packed and ready in an orderly, calm fashion. Losing those two weeks sort of sent everything into a headspin, trying to get all of my belongings as well as Isis' into 5 suitcases (the bulk of my stuff had been sent via container ship in March so I was down to bare essentials anyway) and everything I'd planned to have 3 weeks to do suddenly wound up condensed to only one week. I had to finish moving out of my apartment and playing the "pack, donate, or trash" game with the remaining items in my possession. I had a lot of last minute running around to do to get the dog certified to be able to fly with me, including vet visits and trips downtown to get all of her paperwork endorsed by the USDA. I had a LOT of people to meet for lunches and dinners followed by misty-eyed goodbyes. Mom really got shafted in the end, because I feel like I was able to spend any time with her at all and then, suddenly I was 5,000 miles and 6 time zones away.
Because Isis and I were on the same flight, I didn't want to have to make a connection, putting her on two traumatic flights, so my best friend, my dog, and I drove to Houston the night before our flight. It was a Tuesday evening when we set off, and I've never seen Mom look so miserable. Leaving her for this move was the hardest thing I've ever done. As we set off, it occurred to me that it was probably the last big road trip that my bestie and I would be making together for a long while, and that set me into a melancholy mood for most of the ride, although we tried to make the best of it with a lot of singing and revisiting shared memories, and having one last inside joke at the expensive of a barbeque drive-thru employee who will never make it into management (and I don't feel bad for him because he was kind of an ass).
I definitely don't remember anything about that last morning in Texas beyond dropping the dog off at her terminal and then having to say goodbye to my best friend in front of mine. That loss was tempered though, knowing that she would be flying over the following month for our wedding.
The first month here was definitely the most trying, as both myself and the dog became acclimated to English life. Surprisingly, Isis did really well and the move doesn't seem to have phased her very much at all, except possibly making her separation anxiety a little bit worse, but that is really a drop in a very large bucket anyway. Getting married almost seemed like an afterthought, after having spent the 6 months beforehand having to fill out SO MANY FORMS and pay out so much money just to get here with my dog and my stuff. I think Mr. Faff and I both were more relieved just to have it over with, and one less thing to worry about.
There were still a few things left that had to be done even after the wedding, mostly involving getting my visa status sorted and then waiting it out for me to be eligible to work and see doctors and drive, and the mountains of paperwork involved with each of those things. Now looking back it seems like it all flew by, but in the moments, it felt interminable, as though we'd never be done with the paperwork. All in all, I'm glad it's over, because I know that I'm where I'm supposed to be, and I know that I've found the person I was meant to be with. It hasn't been an easy year, but it has been a good one, and that's what important, I suppose.
I thought I'd finish this off with a list of the 10 most surprisingly hard things about moving to England (or possibly any foreign country). These are of course based solely on my experience and YMMV.
10) Learning new road/street signage - It's very easy to take for granted things like automatically being able to spot the right exit sign or speed limit sign, or even be able to find the street names on cross streets when you're in your home country. It is a long and difficult process to train your eyes to look in new places for different (and sometimes completely obscured) signage.
|I just spent 3 hours choosing a deodorant. The smile only masks the inevitable mental breakdown over toilet cleaner.|
|Look, hunny! I went shopping! Also, we now have 14 jars of pickles.|
|I have no idea what day it is, most of the time.|
|Is it safer? Undoubtedly. Does it come naturally? Not even.|
|British luxury sedan (actual size)|
|I just wanted to buy some freaking flip-flops!|
|No, I asked for a pair of PANTS, not panties.|
|Now you're just screwing with me.|
|No coins? NO GROCERIES FOR YOU!|
I'm not entirely certain how many feelz this post contains, but there you have it.
Looking for the whole list of prompts? They are in text form and image so you can Come Play In May!