So let me take you back and tell you how we got here. For those of you who know the story I am sure you are quite tired of hearing about it, just skip to the next entry.
This crazy thing started in January.... the 22nd to be exact. The company I worked for decided to close the site here in Michigan. This site was home to about 3,000 employees (I think) and we were all blind-sided
. We really didn't see it coming. Even the cynics who had to transfer from other shut down sites were caught by surprise. So you can only imagine the thoughts that go through one's mind when they are told, "It's over". I couldn't breathe. This was my first job that I had gotten while still in college. I had had other jobs but this was my "career" job, my real job. And I was completely unaware of what losing something like that would feel like. Steve and I had just bought a new house in Plymouth. It took me a year to find this house. It was everything we wanted... it was perfect... and expensive, so we couldn't afford it on one salary. Now I am sure you are thinking, "go find another job". Well, I tried. What I do is not your everyday job. I wish now I would have thought about that while choosing what I wanted to be when I grew up. There are small companies out there but now you are talking about a massive pay cut and benefits that do not compare.... basically we were spoiled. So the plan was to stay with the company and relocate. You see, Michigan is in a bit of a slump and as difficult as it will be to leave family and friends this was an opportunity to stay afloat and the experience would be great. It would only be two years (the minimum commitment to receive the relocation package) then we would reassess. Our options were the east coast, the west coast, about the middle of the country or England. We wanted the east coast, but I applied everywhere just to be safe. I was granted interviews with everyone but in the end one group wanted me, England
. The offer came on June 20th, my last day of work. Just in time. I was granted a predecision trip to check out the area and meet the folks I would be working with (see the previous blog entitled "Kent County, UK"). It wasn't an easy decision but that was all we had. So I accepted on August 16th. Everything before August 16th was a different kind of stress... stress of the unknown. Since August 16th the stress is exhausting... stress of to much to do and not enough time to do it.
We worked out a start date of December 3rd, with us leaving mid-November. That gives us three months to get our shit together and relocate. You can't imagine what goes into trying to relocate to another country. Work permits, visas, the general down-sizing of your possessions so that you can fit into a European home. As soon as I accepted Steve started purging stuff. Ebay became a wonderful tool for this process. It is hard to realize what you have until you have to go through it piece by piece to decide if it is worthy of taking or storing. Between the two of us we owned four cars and a scooter! We can't take the cars so the two Mustangs went into storage and our everyday cars were sold. A special thanks must be sent out to our friend Brad for allowing us to use one of his cars until we leave. You are the BEST!!!!! We have a dog, Lily (the best dog ever!). She had to be rechipped and re-rabies vaccinated
. And then there is a six month waiting period so we will be without our baby until March (she will be staying with her Grandma and Grandpa). Then right before she leaves there is a slew of other things that must be done including driving up to Lansing to the FDA office. No quarantine, thankfully. The selling of our house and the finding of one in England was also on the list. The general plan was to stay in temporary housing until we found a place to live but we decided to try to find something before we arrived. The more we can do now to be comfortable later the better. We plan to rent as real estate is ridiculously expensive there. So we found a place with the help of the relocation group. I looks nice, quite large and with closets (not UK standard). The place is called White Cliffs. No house number just a name. Check out the photos. When we arrive we will need to find a car... only one, I'll be taking the bus to and from work. We have also decided to take Steve's scooter. We will need to buy the everyday essentials that plug in... hair dryer, vacuum, lamps, toaster, etc. That's the other thing.. if it plugs in, it won't work over there. Think about the things you own that plug in. We did buy one huge, extremely heavy converter for the must haves. We have learned that several things that plug in can go both ways you just have to buy a different plug. Who knew! Relocation pays for two shipments; an air shipment and a sea shipment. The air shipment is small, arrives in about a week and should contain essentials to "camp" until the sea shipment arrives (4-6 weeks)
. We thought it would be good to have the movers pick up our stuff early so that our length of "camping" time in the UK will be shorter. So they are coming now and we will be living on the edge here until we leave November 14th. We are planning to have Thanksgiving at our new place with a couple friends so our air shipment contains a lot of cooking equipment. We have sent a friend who has already relocated on a mission to find a fresh turkey. Good luck Beth!!
I have these crazy moments when I want to scream at the top of my lungs, "I am leaving the country!!!!". No particular reason just want to do it. Especially when paying for something at the store..... odd. Although I am experiencing some crazy feelings... stress, excitement, anxiety, brief moments of relief (I have a job), brief moments of remorse and an overall feeling of fatigue. I have two and a half weeks after we arrive before work starts.... I will probably sleep the entire time!
Well, off to do some last little things before the movers come. I'll be in touch ASAP... who knows when that will be.
This is what I will call the "in-transit" phase of this whole story. The movers are coming tomorrow, Thursday and Friday to pack up our things for the long ride to England. And because we are currently laptop-less and will not pack our desktop in our luggage.... we will be computer-less!! This I think will be the hardest part of the transition. I am going to become very close friends with my local librarian.