Moving to the US – part 1, the flight over

Moving house and moving overseas is full on. I’m so glad we outsourced most of the cleaning, that we had my parents to stay with for a few days and that we had factored a couple of bonus days into the schedule in case things went wrong. Nothing did so we got to chill out before the flight.

We’d lived in our house for 6 years so there was a fair amount of stuff that needed to be thrown out especially as we’re through the baby phase. I’m much more ruthless than Hutch but he did comment at one stage as he was adding to the fourth charity box that next time he wants to keep something ‘for later’ I’m allowed to remind him of moving. I’d done a lot of the packing and a couple of very good friends came over to help with the last ditch fill of boxes on Sunday while Hutch was at work. Movers came through on Monday and of course there was a mad scramble to pack the last few as they loaded the van. The bigger of the two removalists didn’t speak a lot of English and as we were getting to the final couple of boxes he asked Hutch, ‘where is the big TV?’
Hutch said “this is it’ and pointed to our cather ray tube type TV, nothing fancy in our house. The removalist was quite confused. I’ve been wanting an upgrade for ages but this trip and Hutch’s frugalness has prevented us getting a decent TV. At least he can laugh at himself for being tight!

Final clean was on Tuesday and I realised too late in the day that the tip was closed and we had a ute full of stuff to get rid of. I’d done about six hours in the garden weeding etc so was knackered and went off to pick up the boys from kinder and drive down to Mum and Dad’s. I promised to come back the next morning to get the last lot of bits and pieces before we handed back the keys. Hutch was a bit late back that night and I asked him what was there left to do.
‘Nothing’ he said.
‘What do you mean, where’s all our stuff, the front porch was full?”
It was bin night, so he managed to fit a ute full of rubbish in our neighbours’ bins, then filled the ute up with our things to keep and came back.
I was over the moon at not having to go back to Melbourne (Mum and Dad live about an hour’s drive from us) the next day, he couldn’t have made me any happier.

So for the next two days we did wash after wash after wash and juggled suitcases’ capacities.
We ended up with 13 bags; five checked in and eight carry on. Pretty good for a family of five moving overseas for a year, but a definite pain to lug around.

The flight from Melbourne to Auckland was fairly uneventful, Hutch’s headset port didn’t work so he moved half a dozen seats in front. The kids were just excited to be allowed to watch TV the whole time. They had all sorts of activities to keep them occupied that a gorgeous friend put together as a farewell present, but they only came into play in the airports and were sorely needed then! I’d bought everyone neck pillows (don’t bother, not very comfy and they take up room in bags), headphones ($8 each from Kmart for the kids, I got myself good ones online) but the most useful gadget was an airline port which plugs into the two pronged airline jack and you can plug normal headphones into it (about $7 from Dick Smith or JB HiFi).

After a couple of movies it was an hour or so in Auckland airport running off some energy before we boarded the long leg. We booked two skycouches so had six seats between the five of us. Our flight was at 7pm NZ time so 5pm in Melbourne so the kids could watch another movie before we tried to get them to sleep. The skycouches were fantastic. The footrests lock into position level with the seat so you get an extra 30 or so cms to relax with. Sitting cross legged was comfortable, as was stretching out sideways. We were also given an underlay, pillows and a blanket each, as well as special ‘cuddle’ seatbelts so you could be safely belted without lying on buckles. I could lie down with Skets and slept quite well, Hutch sat up next to Woo and Meema which wasn’t so great but the kids at least got nearly a full night’s sleep. I would definitely choose Air New Zealand again for the use of the skycouches, even with the cost involved. The flight attendants were all lovely, the kids meals on both flights came out before the adults’ and were impressive, not that my fussy kids could see past the choccy provided 🙂

We’d been warned about getting through LAX but it actually wasn’t that bad. The queue was long but moved ok and the luggage was waiting on the carousel when we got through. We then went to pick up our hire car for the trip to Legoland, which is about an hour and a half south of LAX. We arrived at the pick up place feeling hot and a little stinky after a long flight, went inside and the queue to collect keys was nearly out the door. A two hour wait with no updates, no apologies and when Hutch finally got to the front desk he was told that they didn’t have the car we had booked – and paid for – available and we had to upgrade to a minivan for an extra $60 per day. Not thrilled to say the least. Apparently it’s always like that, and appeared no different when we went and dropped the car off two days later. I’ve told our travel agent about it and hope no one has to repeat our experience.

We then joined the LA peak hour traffic south to Legoland and after two hours arrived to tears and awesomeness… more on that next time.


It’s 30 degrees in LA and 28 in Boston!

As I sit in our study, right near the heater, listening to fighting children and surrounded by boxes, I’m holding on to today’s weather forecast for LA and Boston; 30 and 28 degrees. This time in two weeks we’ll be getting settled into our new adventure, we would have had our weekend at Legoland and will be checking out the school and parks. Still feels very strange that we’re going, and I don’t think it will feel real until most of the people we talk to have American accents.

Hutch has deferred his PhD, it’s not finished and it won’t be submitted before we go. I’m actually more relieved that disappointed, at least now it can be put to one side and his focus and energy can be helping get this house packed up and ready to go. My biggest concern was that I’d be doing it all myself while he was still staring at a computer screen trying to get the last bits completed so now that shouldn’t happen.

We had a lovely farewell over the weekend, I’ve finished up work and I packed 10 boxes yesterday but there still seems a long way to go. Our friends have been amazing, taking kids, offering to help pack and providing meals and I hope when we get home we’re able to return the favour.

This time next week I’ll be giving back the keys and saying good bye to this fantastic house. One door has nearly closed, and an amazing one is about to open.

Racing ahead too fast

We’re starting to get into packing mode, my in-laws dropped off about 50 moving boxes that are now cluttering up the study. I’m slowly filling them, but I think subconsciously that until visas are approved and flights are booked I won’t change up a gear until the count down is less than a month. 

Because I’ve probably done all the research I can do into Boston for the moment, I’m now thinking about what our life will be like when we get home. We’ve got a couple of ideas but they’re in the very early stages. I keep wrestling with myself, do I follow one path that would take me in a direction I would never have considered that ties in with Hutch’s work, but one that I think I would be good at, or do I stick to what I know? A man is not a financial plan, but why pay someone to do something I can do? Do I undertake more study just in case I need it? How much work do I want to be doing when the boys start school? 

So many questions, and no answers in sight yet. But that’s ok, it will fall into place.