Showing posts with label Moving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Moving. Show all posts

Monday, September 29, 2014

26 Weeks - A Head of Lettuce

*I'll be playing a bit of catch up this week- I'm actually at Week 28 now. Also, I've started getting a ton of spam comments, so I'm going to be annoying for a while and activate that comment verification tool. Sorry to the 1-2 people that sometimes comment that aren't spammers ;-) 

September 11, 2014

Photo Thoughts: Surrounded by boxes- ah, the joys of moving.  Also, tired much? Sheesh!  I'm trying to find a good spot in our new house to take these weekly photos. Clearly, this is not the place. 

How I'm Feeling: Tired! Packing and moving is never fun, but packing and moving while pregnant just amplifies all that.  I probably lifted more boxes than I should have, but it had to be done.  And I even survived unscathed.

Baby/Bump: I'm housing a head of lettuce this week, apparently. This week, baby boy is further developing his eyesight and immune system. He's also starting to take little practice breaths of amniotic fluid. 

I get the feeling that the bump is about to have a big growth spurt. I've had a couple days where I experienced a "burning" sensation just above my belly button, and I can only imagine that it could only be "growing pains." 
Look at that gut hanging over my seat belt ;-)

 Symptoms: Lower back pain, but I think most of that can be attributed to all the moving and packing.  On Thursday 9/11 (our actual move day), I don't think I sat down for more than a few minutes the entire day. I finally flopped onto the bed that night and remember thinking that I don't think I had ever felt so totally worn out. 

Weight: Same as last week. Phew- I was hoping I would hit a little bit of a plateau. So, total I'm up about 17 pounds.

What I'm Stressing About/Worries: Lots of stress this past week with the move- as is to be expected.  But on top of that, my sweet grandmother passed away on Saturday, so it was a tough week emotionally as well.  I ended up having to scramble to get our move date moved forward one day (it was scheduled for Friday originally, but I begged to move it to Thursday), so that I could leave early Friday morning to go be with my family and to attend her funeral service.  Luckily everything that needed to get done before I left got done on Thursday, but I definitely left the house (and David) in a total state of disaster with unpacked boxes all over the place. 

Sleep: I'm happy to report that I am still sleeping well (just never long enough), AND even better news is that I am sleeping really well in our KING BED!  The first night sleeping in that giant bed after it being in storage for two years was heavenly.

Exercise: Not once this week.  There just wasn't time with everything going on.  I guess maybe all the packing/moving might have counted for something?...

Movement: Still feeling movement daily, but I haven't really identified a predictable pattern just yet.  He used to move a lot whenever I would lay down on my back, but not so much anymore. A couple of times I have felt movement in two different places at once- must be a hand and a foot kicking/punching at the same time.  That is a strange feeling! 

Boy or Girl: Baby boy!

Look at the cute baby boy (well these are 6-12 months) shirts I scored from an Instagram sale- all that for $12!
Highlights of the Week: It was so exciting to get the keys to our new place.  And it also feels really good to have all of our belongings under one roof after two years of our stuff being in multiple locations across the world. 

Also, David and I finally set aside some time to head to Babies 'R Us to start our baby registry. We had the nicest lady walk through everything with us, and it was really helpful.  But it was also hugely overwhelming! Seriously, how can such a small being require so much gear?!  It was fun though, and it made this whole baby thing seem very real.

The employee insisted that David needed to try this carrier on, not me.
Totally excessive, but this is probably one of the top 3 things on our registry that I'm most excited about. I can't wait until they come out with an adult version. 

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Remember Me?...

Tap, tap.  Is this thing on?...

Remember that time I moved back to the US from Australia right before Christmas, and then fell off the face of the earth blogger?  Yeah... oops...

I'm actually quite disappointed in myself for letting that happen.  It's not that I forgot about blogging or documenting this major transition in our lives.  In fact, I thought about blogging quite often... but I guess I just never really got any further than that.  I had plenty of "mentally composed posts" floating around in my brain over the past nearly three months... important moments in our lives that I don't want to forget like our last day in Australia, stepping foot on American soil for the first time in a year and a half, Christmas, New Years, moving back to Houston, forgetting how to drive on the "right side" of the road, things I miss about Australia, things that now overwhelm me about America, a few fun weekend trips we've taken, and the many other interesting experiences in this process of repatriating... but I guess I dropped the ball. 

If I'm being honest, it started out that I was avoiding blogging because everything was just a bit too overwhelming, and I didn't want anything else added to my plate.  At that time, it sounded stressful to me, instead of fun, like it had before. But then it kind of turned into me being sad about leaving Australia- in denial, really.  And I think somehow I thought that blogging about it would make it more real.  It's actually still pretty hard for me to read all of the expat blogs I had been such a loyal reader of just a couple months ago (Sorry to some of my faves- Jen and Jenna).  I guess having to leave Australia much sooner and more quickly than we anticipated... and essentially having to leave my expat identity (and all the wonderful experiences I had) behind made it somewhat painful to read about others doing the fun expat things I used to do.  Yeah, serious denial.  So I just avoided it all together.   Makes sense, right?... (totally doesn't...)  And the longer I avoided blogging, the harder and more overwhelming it seemed to start up again. 

But here I am.  I want to continue blogging and documenting our lives.  I want to remember what it was like to move back to the US after living abroad.  And I want to record the experiences we have in our "new again" home in Houston.  So this is my first effort at putting a stop to the avoidance, denial, and procrastination.  It will surely take me a while to get caught up, but that will be my goal.  So please bear with me over the next several weeks as I try to get back into my groove.  And I hope you won't mind some seriously outdated recaps while I attempt to get caught up. 

And because no post is complete without a photo, here's one of my last views of Gladstone as we said goodbye for the last time. 

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Goodbye Australia!

 "You get a strange feeling when you're about to leave a place. Like you'll not only miss the people  and places you love but you'll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you'll never be exactly this way ever again."
--Azar Nafisi

The Gladstone Port from Auckland Lookout Point
Well, somehow the day is here already.  Today is the day that David and I leave this place that has been our home for the last year and a half, and return to Houston (with some stops on the way to visit our families for Christmas and New Years). 

As I expected, I have very mixed emotions about this day.  I wish I could be more excited about a trip home for the holidays... but the sadness of leaving this place (and knowing I likely won't ever return) is overshadowing that for now.  I guess you could say I'm having a bit of a hard time letting go...

I have a lot more I want to document about our last two days in Gladstone and the roller coaster of emotions it has been, but I will have to revisit that after we return and get settled a bit.  So for now,
I just want to say thank you, Gladstone for letting me call you home and for bringing such amazing people and experiences into my life. 

Goodbye, Gladstone!  Goodbye, Australia!

Beautiful Aussie skies!
One last sunset over Canoe Point
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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Going Away Party

Like I've mentioned before, we have been lucky enough to make some amazing friends during our time here.  It did take a while for me to make these connections, but once I finally did, I felt like the friendships developed quickly.  These people quickly became friends that we really do consider family.  When you live abroad, being able to share the whole expat experience is something that instantly bonds you with others.  You just automatically have so much in common- your frustrations, your joys, your husband's crazy schedule, etc.  You just "get" each other right off the bat.  Not to mention that everyone is so far away from family and friends, that you come to rely on and support each other a lot more than you might in other situations.  Because of this shared experience, I know that these are friends that I will stay in touch with for many years to come. 

Last Saturday, some of these friends had a little going away party for David and I.  It was so great to have everyone together.  I mostly just pretended that it wasn't a going away party, so I wouldn't get overly emotional.  We had such a great time that night just hanging out, drinking, and we even played Taboo later in the night, which was a blast. 

All the girls - Me, Nicole, Alexa & Sawyer, Jackie, Katie, Ann
Jackie surprised us with these adorable framed subway art photos with each of our last names and words that remind us of our time in Australia.  Thanks, Jackie!

The couples: Nick & Katie, David & Me, Tim & Alexa, Jason & Jackie, Chris & Ann, Brad & Nicole

Truly, if it wasn't for this group, I would be ready to leave Gladstone in a second.  These friends have been such a support and blessing.  I will miss them so very much.  And I'm holding out hope that a few years down the line we will all end up in the same place for another work assignment for our husbands.  One can hope, right?! 

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Last Day Of Work

Last Friday was my last day of work.  As anticipated, it was a tough day emotionally.  But I guess I feel fortunate to have found a place to work that makes leaving difficult. 

A little background about where I worked... I was a special education teacher in the US.  So when we came over here, I started to research schools in the area to see what my options were.  I started out substituting or "relief teaching" as they call it at two schools.  One was a "regular school" where I worked in the special education unit when they called me in.  The other was a dedicated "special school"- strictly for students with severe needs.  At first I had a hard time wrapping my head around this, because in the US, completely separating students with special needs would never fly.  But I managed to put my opinions around that issue aside, and I really did end up enjoying working at the school, so I was thrilled when they offered me a contract.  I was contracted for three days a week, with the other two days as "call in days" where they would have me come in if someone called in sick, etc.  More often than not, I ended up being there 4-5 days a week.  It was a pretty sweet schedule, and nice to have some flexibility on those two non-contracted days.  Pretty sure I will be totally spoiled/ruined when I go back to the US and have to look for a full time job :-) 


In the US, I worked with students with mild to moderate disabilities (think- learning disabilities, ADD, autism, dyslexia, behavior issues, etc.).  In this job, the entire school had children with moderate to severe disabilities.  On top of that I was placed in the classroom with the students who were the most severely disabled (think- wheel chairs, non-verbal, feeding, toileting, medications, etc.).  I was SO intimidated at first.  It terrified me to be working with such high risk and high needs students, but it didn't take long for me to end up absolutely loving it.  Sure it wasn't the most glamorous job... especially dealing with feeding, toileting, and lots of lifting... but I really did come to love those kids.  And now I actually will consider looking into working with this population once I start looking for jobs again in the US. 

On top of working with some amazing students at this school, the staff was very welcoming and supportive.  It was a really great environment to work in.  Sure, there was some dysfunction and disorganization- but I think all schools have their fair share of that.  Another thing I loved about this job, is that I got to work in the same classroom with a friend that I had made here- Katie.  She started working at the school in August, and I loved working so closely with a friend. 

At any rate, Friday was the last day of school for everyone since the school years here run on a calendar year.  The Christmas break is their long summer break.  Since it was everyone's last day for the year, I was hoping to kind of fly under the radar.  Wrong.  Every Friday morning, the school gathers for a parade (what we call an assembly).  This morning after the usual National Anthem, classroom presentations, announcements, birthdays, etc., my friend Katie and another teacher I worked with brought me up in front of everyone for the students I worked with to present me with a scrapbook they had made for me.  I was sure I would make it through the day without tears... but once I saw this, it was insta-tears.  No I hadn't been at this school for long, but it was long enough for the school and students to make a real impression on me.  The students are just incredible... and have so much love to give, and gosh are they resilient... and I will miss them so very much. 

Field trip to the Botanic Gardens

Not to get all doom and gloom, but you know what's a strange feeling?  To know with 99.9% certainty that when you say goodbye to someone that that is the last time you will ever see them.  And unfortunately, this was in the back of my head this day as I said goodbye to the staff and students.  Sure, I guess you never know what will happen.  But in all seriousness, there is a very slim chance that I will have the opportunity to return here.  Which made leaving that day even harder.  BUT, I am so very grateful to have had this opportunity.  These students will always be in my heart, and they have made a big impact on me.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Aussie Photo Shoot

... Just in case you weren't already sick of photos of David and I after my Anniversary post yesterday :-) ...

We have been lucky enough to make some amazing friends here in Gladstone.  Granted, it took several months for me to make these connections (which makes me even sadder that we are leaving sooner than expected), but either way, I am so glad to have these friends.  One of these friends, Katie, is an extremely talented photographer.  She and I also worked together at the same school here, which was a blast- but that's a story for another day/post. 

I had really wanted to get some photos of David and I (that weren't of the extended arm selfy genre) to help us remember our time here in Australia.  When Katie offered to do the job, I was thrilled!  We met up at the Tondoon Botanic Gardens in Gladstone for a little photo shoot before heading to our going away party last Saturday evening (also a post for another day). 

I had told Katie that I only had one request.  And that request was that we get some shots with Eucalyptus trees (gum trees) in the background.  I love these beautiful trees, and for me they are the ultimate iconic Australian tree- they're everywhere here.  So I am SO happy that she got these amazing shots!  Now if only we could have caught a koala up in one of the trees and some kangaroos hopping by in the background.  I think I might have died...


Here are some of my other faves...

Can we just pause for a moment and note how crazy long my hair is?!  Who let that happen?! I think I've worn it down ten or less times in the past year, so I was even surprised.  Don't worry, I have an appointment to chop it off on Dec. 29!


I am so thankful to have these photos.  Katie did a great job, as expected.  Man, my friends are talented :-)

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Pack, Pack, Pack It Up!

Today our big move got very real.  Today was packing day... or "uplift day" as they call it here.  David and I spent all day the previous day breaking things down, separating our belongings from things that stay in the house, packing our three bags each that will be our worldly possessions for the next couple months, etc.  It was rough.  We were up until 1:30 AM.  And hungover for most of the morning and early afternoon, but that's a story for another day :-)  It was late, and we were exhausted, but we got everything done.

Moving truck is here!
Three movers/packers knocked on the door at 8:00 AM on the dot.  And in a matter of about fifteen minutes, the house was filled with boxes, packing material, etc.  It's amazing how quickly your home can start to look very foreign.  One of the positives about doing an international move with your company is that (in most cases), they arrange for the packing, customs paperwork, etc. to be taken care of.  We actually were not allowed to pack any boxes, because they had to itemize and record everything for customs.  So our work was put in the day before.  Today I mostly just got to sit and supervise, answer questions, direct traffic, etc. 

This was when they barricaded the fridge with boxes.  I was STARVING, and the only food we had left in the house was in there. 
That's all our stuff all packed up behind the yellow rope. 
And before I knew it, everything was packed up and loaded in the truck.  It's a strange feeling to watch most of your possessions being driven away to begin its journey overseas.  It's even weirder to walk back into your house and see it empty for the first time. 

I definitely wasn't as much of an emotional wreck as I was on move/pack day when we were leaving Houston to come here.  I guess it helps that we're going somewhere we are familiar with this time around.  That day feels like a million years ago and just yesterday all at the same time.  Although it's looking like we will be in Houston for "at least a year or two" (in the words of my husband), I couldn't help but wonder when/if I might be doing this same thing all over again. 

At any rate, our "stuff" has officially begun its journey back to the US.  Now it's our turn I guess.  But not for another week still! 

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Never-Ending To Do List and Wise Words From A Good Friend

Because every post needs at least one photo... The Gladstone Marina
Today was one of the first days where the stress of our move and everything that needs to get done really hit me.  I didn't have to work today, so I had spent some time the night before making a giant list of all the things I wanted to accomplish the next day... filling out customs forms, delivering items people here are buying from us, bank run, grocery store run, cleaning out the pantry, post office, and on and on.  I started the day early and immediately began plowing through my list.  But it just felt like for every item I crossed off, I would come up with at least another one or two to replace it.  It's all around overwhelming.  I pretty much went non-stop- save for a surprise mid-morning visit from a friend that was a much needed break. 

Around 4PM I was driving home from doing some errands, and I suddenly realized that I was starving.  Then I realized I had forgotten to eat since the smoothie I made that morning around 8AM.  I have never forgotten to eat.  So this was a first.  Clearly I needed to just slow down for a while.  So I went straight home, made something to eat, and forced myself to relax for a bit while I watched a little bit of this week's "The Voice" episode. 

I've moved quite a lot so far in my life... but I think it just never gets any easier.  There's always an endless list of things to do... no matter how organized you are.  I just keep telling myself that it will all get done... it kind of just has to...  It's a bit sad though that when moving, your last few weeks/days always end up being so hectic and busy.  Because, really during this time, I wish I could spend my days relaxing, visiting places around town one last time... just soaking up this place I've called home for the past year and a half.  I'm trying to squeeze some of that in though when I can. 

One of my best friends from home, Kayli, sent me a well-timed email that arrived in my Inbox while I was eating my very late lunch today.  She's one of those people who, to me, always seems so wise and just knows the right thing to say and when you need to hear it.  Here's some of what she said. 

"Moving can feel like a lonely experience because it's not really an experience you share with many people. You have picked up your life several times and hopefully you'll finally have a chance to feel settled in Houston...Whatever decisions you make on what to do during your last couple weeks, what not to do, who to see, who to say "no" to... your decisions are all the right decisions. Do what brings you the most peace. You always consider other people but remember to think of yourself too!" 

She's totally right. How did she know that this is exactly what I needed to hear?... 

Tomorrow is my last day of work.  Fingers crossed for no tears!

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Thursday, December 05, 2013

Change Of Plans...

In case you haven't noticed... things have been pretty quiet around these parts lately.  That seems to happen here every so often.  I get into blogging funks and just don't feel inspired to write.  Or it may just be a super busy time of year, and blogging just gets demoted down my priority list.  However, this time this little blogging hiatus has a different explanation. 

You see, literally less than a week after I published THIS post about how I was in a bit of an expat funk and was wishing time away to just get out of here for a while, we got some news that changed my tune in an instant. 

That news being: David will be moving to a new role with this project.  And that new role is a Houston-based role.  And they want him (us) to report there in January. 

So I guess my blogging silence was a combination of denial about this major wrench that was being thrown in our plans for the next few years and the fact that from the day we got that news, things shifted into high gear since we suddenly had less than two months to make another international move happen.  Probably mostly just denial though if I'm being honest. 

I wish I would have blogged during that time... so that I could better remember exactly the mix of emotions I was feeling and how I processed everything.  But I think I really just didn't believe it, and I felt like if I "put it on paper" it would make it more real than I was ready to acknowledge at the time.  But I guess now I'm finally ready (and finally have a spare moment) to document this event and some of my feelings surrounding it. 

I remember very clearly exactly when David told me the news.  I just leaving work on a Friday.  We had kind of known that this was a vague possibility for a few days, but I really hadn't thought anything of it, as I had kind of gotten used to these somewhat regular talks of assignment changes and then nothing ever coming of them.  But it just so happened that this time, something did come of it.  The moment I read that text saying that we would be heading back to Houston, my heart sank and tears filled my eyes.  I remember driving home and all of a sudden this place and everything I was driving by just seemed different- more special somehow.  My "this may be the last time I (fill in the blank) mindset started from that very moment I think.  It's funny how just days earlier I was just so ready to get out of this place.  I needed a break, and I wanted that break NOW.  And suddenly that all changed.  Now I wanted more time here, and I wanted the time I did have left here to pass by as slowly as possible.  I went from having my "Countdown 'Til Home" app front and center on my iPhone home screen, to deleting it entirely.  I couldn't stand a daily reminder that my days here were now numbered.  What was originally going to be our first trip back to the US in nearly a year and a half was now going to be our demobilization trip.  A one way ticket...

I was very sad.  I cried a little bit pretty much every day for that first week.  This change was very sudden and unexpected- especially since only back in September we had been told that we would likely be here until 2016.  So I had really only recently wrapped my head around that and then this news.  I sort of felt like someone pulled a rug out from under me.  But I guess it's just part of being in this industry- you go where they tell you and when.  We had to wait about a week before telling any of our family or friends while we waited for everything to be official.  Even then, I found myself hanging onto the chance that something might fall through.  It didn't. 

It is official.  We have one way tickets leaving Australia on December 24.  It's funny... I basically came to Gladstone kicking and screaming... and now I feel like I will leave the same way.  Who would've thought? 

Honestly?  If you would've told me this news only six or seven months ago?  I probably would've been thrilled.  It took me a long time to feel settled here, to find my niche, to make a solid group of friends (something I didn't really even have in Houston before we came here).  It's only been in the past 6 months or so that I had really been enjoying the life that we have here... and looking forward to what was ahead of us here (oh the amazing trips I had planned in my head!).  I guess I just feel like we weren't quite ready to leave quite yet.  Sure, 2016 was a little much for me to take, but I would've at least liked another year.  That's obviously not in the cards for us though. 

Things have been full on for the past few weeks- organizing everything we need to sell here, quitting my job, sorting out having packers come, while at the same time trying to make sure we aren't living on the streets in Houston since we sold most everything we had there, too.  It got real pretty fast.  It's amazing how quickly your brain kind of just automatically begins to slowly detach yourself from things, people, places upon big news like this.  I guess that's just the mind's way of beginning the process of letting go.  I hate that I'm doing it, but I catch myself checking out, pulling away... in order to prepare for this big change.  However, I am trying to soak up and enjoy as much of our last few weeks here as possible.  I'm going to do my best to try and get caught up from old trips I still have yet to post while at the same time trying to do a better job of documenting this whole moving process and experience in real time.  I know that this will be important in being able to process this change, and find closure on my time here in Australia. 

Two international moves in less than two years?  Wish us luck...

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