12 May 2012


moving overseas
One year ago, I partook in the most hectic day I've ever had. And, yes, even when compared to the day I had a child. I regret often that I didn't take ANY photos of it and the days immediately before, but I was in survival (read=OH, SHIT) mode. So instead, you get my primary school-quality drawing, which was exactly how the move felt: us leaving everything we knew for a tiny country with tulips, via a giant chaotic life blender. The madness began on Tuesday, May 10, when one of my dearest friends, Sara, arrived at my door.
She'd taken three days off work to make sure I and all of my assorted belongings and dependents boarded a plane on Thursday. (I'd already taken Tony and our boxer, Ruthie, to the airport a week before so he could move from his corporate apartment into our new place, set up a crib, and put food in the refrigerator.)

This is how my last sixty-ish hours in the U.S. of A. went down. (The only reason I have any recollection of the order of events is that I'm an obsessive calendar-keeper.)

tuesday, may 10
  • 10:15AM: I paid a visit to the school I did my grad school practicum in, to introduce zee bébé and bid farewell to a most splendid group of teachers and students.
  • 12:30PM: Julian was checked out and given the green light to fly by his pediatrician.
  • 1:30PM: I had my last doctor's appointment and was cleared for travel.
  • 2:30PM: I took Francie, my much-adored, atomic blue Honda Element, to her new home across town. (I'd had her on the market for weeks, but a woman/angel from the timing gods showed up on my doorstep five days before the move and began a quick and hassle-free sale.)
  • 6:30PM: I was chauffeured by my dear friend Maura to and from a last-minute appointment with my therapist to organize my thoughts.
  • 7:45PM: Sara arrived at my front door, and we packed everything left into boxes until the wee hours of Wednesday; these things don't go swiftly when a newborn needs something every hour or so. 
wednesday, may 11
  • 10:15AM: Luckily, the movers were over an hour late for their 9AM appointment, because we were bleary-eyed and scrambling around trying to get the last few boxes taped up. It was disorganization, defined; as the ox-strong men trucked high stacks of boxes out on their backs, the two remaining dogs attempted to alert us, loudly, that SOMEONE WAS TAKING ALL OF OUR STUFF(!!!), from their relegated posts in the back yard. Julian's crib was wedged in a room between boxes, and he expressed his displeasure at being in the loud, bright world; he was pretty clear he still wasn't convinced that this sudden transition from fetus to baby was a good thing. After the house was reduced to a shell of a home, we followed the movers to the storage unit I'd signed for on Friday, locked it up after watching them unload everything into a 20'x8' storage shipping container. It's weird seeing a locked metal box with practically everything you own in it, but there was no time to get emotional; we had to scurry a couple towns over.
  • 1PM: One of the things I hadn't considered before we arrived at the U-Haul office was the logistics of fitting an infant and two adults in the gigantic van we would be using to transport everyone/thing to the airport the next day. What ended up happening was Julian's carseat got buckled into the front seat, I drove, and Sara bounced around quite unsafely in the cargo area. 
  • 3PM: I went through everything left in the house and convinced Sara to either take it home or to a thrift store. Luckily, she's a goddess and did the smile/nod thing, and also picked up a couple extra suitcases I'd frantically bought on Craigslist that morning; the Samsonite I smugly said would carry everything I needed wasn't going to cut it.
  • 7PM: We ordered pizzas to an empty house, couldn't talk about what this move meant for our pretty regular schedule of seeing each other, took turns keeping Julian entertained, and packed my suitcases. 
  • 10PM: Exhaustion; we dreamt on mattresses on the floor.
thursday, may 12
  • 5:45AM: Alarm.
  • 6:30AM: Mattresses to the curb for recycling.
  • 6:45AM: Van-loading turned into a near crisis; the biggest dog crate didn't fit through the door frame. Luckily, a neighbor had a screwdriver and the door frame came off easily. :\ (When I say "dog crate," think Jurassic Park. This thing is serious.
  • 7:20AM: Delayed departure.
  • 7:45AM: Starbucks on Highway 52, venti. 
  • 9AM: Airport unloading, I went from auto-pilot to a blubbering mess, Sara drove away, and a kind United guy got me, a stroller, a giant metal dog kennel, a little kennel, three suitcases, a diaper bag, and a carry-on inside. I checked three bags and one dog, and took the two carry-ons and two littlest critters on to security.
  • 11:50AM: Wheels up.
  • 3:11PM: We landed in Chicago and met at the gate with my parents, who flew to AMS and stayed with us for two weeks. Needless to say, things got exponentially easier from there.
friday 13 may
  • 09.25 (Now we put the number before the day and don't use AM/PM anymore, duh.): 4120 miles, seven time zones, and 8.5 hours later, we gathered my bags, gave two reasonably freaked out dogs potty breaks, reunited with Tony, and made our way, split between a car and a taxi van, to our new home in Den Haag. When we got there, I believe I handed over the kid to the nearest set of arms and collapsed into a bed.
Just re-living it while sitting in this chair drinking a glass of celebratory Tempranillo is exhausting. Cheers to not repeating that day for a very long time.

If you have a crazy moving story, I'd love to hear it.