What feels like a lifetime ago, almost 4 years to the day, to be precise, me and D were about to share one of our best summers. Looking back, it was one of our hardest, and most challenging, but it still has to go down as one of our best. And there is a reason to me telling you about it: it’s the story behind how we got to where we are now. Those three short months of Summer 2013 play a huge part in how our lives have turned out. So, kick back, grab your favourite snack and enjoy this short segment of our life so far.
So the year is 2013. I was coming to the end of my PGCE and D was about to start his final year of his PhD, both at University of East Anglia. We were living together in our first apartment in the centre of Norwich. I had just been offered my first job while struggling through my final placement and D was starting to look at what he wanted to do, post-uni. Life was about being students, and enjoying it while it lasted, as we knew it was soon going to be over.
And then it happened. D was offered an amazing opportunity. A once in a life time chance that no one could ever turn down.
He had been offered the chance to spend his summer in California, working as an intern at one of the worlds largest tech companies: an opportunity a person from a small village in rural Norfolk could only dream of. It meant packing a suitcase (or two) and flying off for three months of hard work and proving himself to the software engineer giants of the Silicon Valley.
And off he went. On the 27th May, D set off for the first day of his next adventure, traveling to California for 12 grueling weeks of intensive work, where he made the most of every second, showing the right people what he could do. He proved he was worthy of the opportunity, and more! At the end of his time in the US, he came home with a smile on his face and a trump card in his back pocket for any future employer.
Fast forward 2 years and a second offer lands on our doorstep. Move to California, permanently. Come and live the American Dream in the Golden State. It all seemed so cliché. So again, what do you do? This one was a bit more difficult.
We had to make the decision to leave friends and family, pack up all of our worldly possessions and start a new life where we didn’t know anyone. We had to decide what we wanted to do: go and live in California, or stay in the UK and potentially regret our choice. Family told us that we would be silly to turn it down: “You’ll regret it when you’re older”.
But of course you know what we did.
So on the 22nd December 2015, the movers arrived. They bought boxes, brown paper and a chipper attitude that only men who shifted furniture for a living could have. They took a mere 10 hours to wrap up our life into 100 oddly-shaped parcels, with even the biggest objects being cloaked in brown paper and sticky tape. I witnessed everything being cleverly positioned in it’s new temporary home, and fondly waved off the shipping container on its trip across the Atlantic Ocean, quietly pondering what it’s journey would be like. D and I joked, and secretly worried, about our container falling off the boat and leaving us with nothing in our new foreign country. Don’t laugh, it has happened to some poor sods.
We enjoyed our last night in our London apartment, ordering pizza and sleeping on the floor before heading back to Norfolk for our last Christmas with family and friends. We stuck to tradition to make sure the holiday felt as normal as possible, and to give us all the best memories possible.
But the time came to say our farewells to friends and family, reliving tearful goodbyes in many different front rooms and coffee shops, the hardest being the ones on our final day in Norfolk. We had made the decision that we didn’t want anyone at the airport with us. No sisters, no brothers, no grandparents. No parents. We had to do those goodbyes in the privacy of our own home, not in public for the world to witness. The best decision for us all.
Sunday 3rd January 2015: D-Day.
We had spent the night in a luxury hotel (relocation allowance perks *thumbs up*) at T5 and were up and ready to go early. It was either excitement or nerves, but we were both awake early and eager to get to the terminal. We had to lug our bags to checkin but after that, we could enjoy the glory that was the BA business lounge 😉 As first-timers, we tried to play it cool. Using our telephone voices and walking tall, but really we stood out like a sore thumb. We nosed around the spread of breakfast food, mouths watering, and stacked ourselves a plate-full each to enjoy before taking a wander around duty free.
The time came to make our way to the gate and ready ourselves for the long haul flight. And to be honest, it flew by *no pun intended*. We arrived at SFO 11 hours later, knowing we still had to clear passport control (smile sweetly!) and hope that all 7 suitcases had made the journey with us. Luckily they all came sliding along the belt and we could go merrily on our way, starting our next adventure, together ❤
Although this seems like a lifetime ago, it feels just like yesterday. We have accomplished so much in the past 16 months and have so much more to look forward to. We’ve settled into our apartment and have worked hard to make it our home. Hopefully I will get to show you all it in a future post. We have plans to see more of America in the little time that we get off work, and hopefully travel a little further field and enjoy this side of the world, while we are here.
So stayed tuned for all that, I bet you can’t wait!