Eight Suitcases

On 2nd July 2017 we turned our lives upside down. We packed eight suitcases (four mine, two my husbands and one each for the kids), six packs of travel sickness pills (we wouldn’t want to run out!) and began our journey from Hove to California.

I remember when my husband first suggested it, ‘no’ was my very simple answer. I didn’t even consider it for a second. I had my future mapped out in my head and it didn’t involve taking my kids out of school, away from everything and everyone they had ever known, and dragging them to the other side of the globe to live in a place I had never even visited. However, the promise of all year-round sunshine and a pool swayed me in the end. It was just going to be for a year and a quick trip to Southern California with my husband helped me realise that it was a place I could see myself living in.

The visa process was slow and painful. Trips to London during rush hour to visit the embassy with the kids were stressful. The medical was thorough and we were forced to have injections I’d never even heard of. We finally got our passports back with only a week to spare and I was officially a dependent immigrant. We rented out our house (let’s not discuss that as it was also a painful experience) and we put some of our possessions into storage. The week before we left was difficult, saying goodbye to family and friends, it was all suddenly becoming very real. My son, age 7 then, was upset about leaving his friends, there were tears, and I started to doubt whether we were doing the right thing. Were we giving them an amazing life experience or just being selfish parents? I couldn’t answer that question with any certainty. My husband had lived in America, France and England, I had never been out of the country for more than two weeks at a time so my emotions were all over the place, but there was no going back now.

11 hours on a plane when you have Emetophobia (fear of vomit) is bad enough but when you add two kids to the mix, one of which was so nervous he had to run to the toilet several times, you can imagine what my state of mine was like. I must admit the diazepam helped get me through it but having to be on mum duty meant I couldn’t put on my eye mask and noise cancelling headphones and just zone out.

I remember stepping out of the plane, walking down the steps onto the tarmac and feeling the sunshine on my face. I was relieved the flight was over, but my overwhelming feeling was of excitement and I could see the kids and my husband felt that too.  

I’m going to leave it there for now. You will have to come back to my blog for another instalment of our family adventure.

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