Hello and welcome to my new blog! This will be a long post since we have now been in England for a week and I want to catch everyone up on how the move has gone. With the time differences we probably wont get to chat with people on the phone as much as we typically did while living with Florida and I figured a blog would help keep our loved ones updated. Just a casual forum for all our family updates!
The pcs to England was probably the toughest one we have faced. This time around we have two pets and two small children. Plus, this is our first pcs with children where we had to fly and… that itself wasn’t an easy task. Thank goodness I have a very well organized husband. He has been doing this long enough that he knows all the ins and outs and I have developed a system myself to keep us all sane.
The weeks leading up to our move were filled with pack outs, organizing, and appointments. Your furniture doesn’t arrive for a few months which means you are without your belongings for a long time. Thankfully we had some pretty great neighbors lend us things to get us through those last few weeks. There were some sad goodbye’s and few tears on my part. Even though we had only been in Pensacola a year I really loved it there. I was excited to move to Europe but I always get that sense of dread that I have to start over again. It always happens. You get used to your knew surroundings and become very close with your new friends…just to have to say goodbye too soon.
The first leg of our trip started out with a five hour road trip to Atlanta. We had to drive here because our kitties couldn’t be shipped from the airport in Pensacola. I was okay with this because it meant we could take a non stop flight to London. The less airport I have to see -the better. We had to rent the largest vehicle they had because we had so much luggage. The cats had to be checked into the airport at 4pm but our flight didn’t leave until 9pm. Ben went ahead of time to check in the cats. We ran into a few hiccups getting them checked in and it sort of set the tone for what would end up being the most stressful flight of my life. Afterwards, he came back to get all of our luggage..then finally we all headed over to check into our flight.
Once at the counter we asked the British Airways employee how we could get the car seats over to terminal. He told us that we would be allowed to use the luggage cart, which was a relief to us considering we also had to carry all of our carry ons and the kids. We had decided to push Kellan in a stroller and I would baby wear Carter. However, once we got to the security line the woman there told us we could not take the luggage cart with us. We asked her how we were supposed to carry these large car seats through the terminal and if there was anyone that could help us. We were practically pleading with this woman and she continuously replied “Can’t help ya there”. So I carried the kids while Ben took on all of the luggage and car seats. Normally Ben is a strong guy and he would have been able to handle the situation but having a torn ligament in his wrist made carrying the awkward car seats painful for him. Of course after we get through security the very next person we see tells us the airport has a company you can hire to transport items you don’t wish to carry through the terminal. I wanted to go back so badly and give that lady my best stink eye !
Once we got to the gate we went to the counter to ask if we could leave our car seats there while we went and grabbed dinner. We waited a good ten minutes before a BA employee walked past us. Ben tried to start a conversation with them but they just replied “one minute” and ducked out behind the gates door. We waited for thirty minutes for him to come back and he never did. Finally, a woman appears and allows us to leave the seats. Yes…FOOD!
We had a really good meal but we were rushed because boarding time was nearing. As soon as they announced that families with small children could board the plane the entire gate turns to look at us as we were only one of two families travelling with a child. I go to pick up Kellan and realize he has a blowout diaper. GREAT! Ben runs with him to the bathroom as I board with Carter. The seats were set up so that there are nine seats in a row. Three on the sides and three in the middle. This meant the kids and I had to sit together while Ben had to sit with an Indian family. I was not happy about this as it meant two toddler vs mom. In my mind I thought we would get on the plane and each parent would be responsible for one child. Oi…I tried to get an attendant to help us move to different seats but they were unwilling to even check for us. They just flat out said no.
In retrospect I would not have even brought the car seats. I would have had Carter sleep on me and Kellan sleep on Ben. The car seats were so large in the seats that you could not rear face them as the person in front couldn’t recline. However, when they were front facing their feet rested on the seat in front of them and they were pushing the seats with them immediately. Just moving their feet at all the people in front could feel it. As soon as I got Carter buckled in I see the young man in front of him start scanning the plane. I said to him “Are you looking for somewhere else to sit? I am really sorry about this”. He assured me he wasn’t although i didn’t believe him because I would have done the same thing. He said to me “You are brave”. I am not really sure what he meant by that.
I had envisioned taking off and the lights dimming and everyone falling asleep pretty quickly. That’s not at all what happened. British Airways kept the lights on and even served dinner at 10pm. The plane was bright and noisy and the boys just couldn’t relax. Then there was some pretty bad turbulence which the attendants said they had to keep the lights on for as well. All in all Kellan slept about 2.5 hours and Carter practically slept an hour. He cried the vast majority of the flight and I felt helpless because they wouldn’t allow us to walk around the aisles or stand. So I just tried to rock him and snuggle him until he fell asleep. He would sleep for 5 minutes and then wake up screaming. This routine continued the entire flight.
Once we arrived in London we met with our transport, Dean. He provides a service to people travelling with pets which helps everything go smoothly. I am so very glad we hired him. He helped us with our luggage to a large van where we had to drive to another location. Here we waited for 3 hours while the cats went through customs. Afterwards we drove to Lakenheath which took us about 2 hours. Then we had to wait thirty minutes in a heavy goods vehicle line for inspection and another thirty minutes to check into our pet friendly hotel. From hotel to hotel it was about 19 hours of travel time and we were exhausted. A week later and the boys still aren’t over the jet lag!
I wont go into all the full details of our first week as they are a bit of a whirlwind. We had to rent a car, get a British bank account, begin house hunting, etc. We did find some time to meet some new friends. They have a little boy a year older than Kellan and they get along perfectly so mama is happy. The base offered us a home and we have until tomorrow to decide if we want to live there or move into a home off base. I will write a post on what we decide! Our first impression? We really like it here. My future posts will be about our experiences in England and anywhere else we are fortunate enough to travel.