UK Arrival

We arrived one week ago today — mostly in one piece. I’m not exactly sure how we did it, except to say it was by the grace of God and a lot of stubbornness. Here is where we are:

Map data © 2017 Google

Here what we’ve been up to (rewinding a bit):

Saying Goodbye for Now

On Wednesday (3/8) night we met up with some friends who weren’t able to make it to our going away party at the beginning of the month. It has been really touching to have everyone rally around us, but bittersweet given that we will not see many of our dear friends for many months.

Complications

The Tuesday (3/7) before our departure I fell ill with what I thought was food poisoning: I spent Wednesday alternately packing boxes and recovering in bed. I thought the storm had passed by Wednesday afternoon and felt pretty much back to normal. (Enough so to see some friends for Tacos and Beer (see above)). Unfortunately we discovered it was not food poisoning but a stomach bug that I passed to Andrew BECAUSE he spent the plane ride across the pond (3/9) vomiting. Luckily Andrew has gotten good sleep and is all better now.

Mr. Ezra, The Dog

Ezra is in quarantine 🙁 Unfortunately we didn’t realize there was an eight day lapse in his rabies vaccination in 2015 so he has to be vaccinated1 and stay at the doggie jail for 21 days. We visited him Tuesday at the kennel, which is basically a farm that boards animals and is authorized by the UK government to house dogs who are quarantined2.  He is being well taken care by of so our minds are at ease but I am disappointed that both our local Seattle veterinarian and the USDA vet inspected and signed off on our paperwork and did not catch the lapse. I also miss him and am counting the days until he can come home.

 

Settling In

On Saturday we ran a few errands after sleeping in. We picked up my Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card which serves as my ID and work visa while I’m in the UK, thus allowing me to work (or volunteer) in the UK during our stay if I choose. We also picked up Andrew’s city bike that he got last here when he was here, so we’ll have a bike to use before our bikes arrive in our shipment from the US.

On Sunday we went to church in Fareham (1 hour away) at Our Savior Lutheran Church. This is the same church Andrew attended last year while in the UK. We received a very warm welcome from the congregation and are looking forward to getting involved in the church once we settle in. We tried to make a Costco stop at after church but unfortunately they experienced a power outage so there were no free samples for the Fergusons.

On Monday Andrew had his “first day of work3” so we took an obligatory photo.

 

 

I am very relieved to be in the UK. This transition has been a long time in the making and I’m grateful to God and to all our friends who have helped us and supported us. Now if we can just get our puppy home everything will be right as rain.

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  1. rules are rules…apparently 

  2. Andrew is plotting how to get our appartment certified as as a quarantine center 

  3. It’s the same role as last year he’s just in the UK full time now! 

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Made it to the Airport

We’ve been up since 2:30am, finishing packing our bags and getting prepped to leave.

At multiple points I thought we might not make it, but we did!

Ezra has been handed over to British/IAG Cargo, bags (seven of them!) have been checked, and my computer server1 made it through security with minimal fuss.

We’re sitting in the lounge, ready to fall asleep — just need to get on the plane first.

We’ll catch you all on the flip side.

We’re on BA48, for all you flight nerds.

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  1. specifically the Network Attached Storage server 

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We’re Moving to the UK for a year!

In just ten short days, Rachel, Ezra (our cocker spaniel), and I will board a plane with a one-way ticket to the UK.

If that sounds dramatic, well… it is! Life was chaotic in 2016 and there’s lot of chaos happening now as we prepare to move!

I ended up spending almost 180 days abroad last year for work (most of that in the UK) on a challenging three-weeks-in-the-UK, one-week-in-Seattle rotation. We ended up tapping out of that in November because it wasn’t working for us to do life in two different places; I was also physically and mentally exhausted from all the flying (100k+ miles flown). The plan for 2017 was to reduce my work travel to two weeks trips every 6-8 weeks but in December I was offered the opportunity move to the UK for 10-12 months in my current role!

While we were excited about the prospect, there were a lot of emotional and logistical things to think through, so we took time over over Christmas break to process everything. In mid-January we officially accepted the offer!

So, what’s on our to do list? It includes getting life squared away for the next year, tidying up some logistics, and packing…lots of packing.

  • Visas: I received mine at the end of last year in anticipation of my continued travel to the UK. Rachel received her visa last week
  • Ezra’s Paperwork: Ezra needs to get a vet checkup, and his paperwork has to be signed-off by the USDA Veterinary Services Office in Tumwater, WA.  The catch is that the paperwork has to be completed in a window of 24 hours prior to departure, but no more than five days before.
  • Stuff we are taking: Sorting and packing everything we need to take with us. We are allotted 750 lbs to ship via air, plus a total of seven suitcases. We’ll be in a furnished apartment, but we don’t know which one yet.
  • Appliances and Electronics we’re taking: There’s the issue of the electrical grid being different (120V/60Hz vs 230V/50Hz). Many consumer electronic devices are actually capable of working both the US and UK, thanks to switching-mode power supplies, so we just need socket converters. However, appliances that have large motors or heating elements usually aren’t capable.

FAQ

  • How long is Ezra in quarantine? There isn’t one anymore! It takes a couple hours to clear his paperwork and then he’s released!
  • Where are you going to be? Bournemouth, a wonderful sea-side resort town about two hours southwest of London.
  • Can I come visit? Yes, absolutely! We’d love to have visitors!
  • How long are you gone? 10-12 months.
  • When are you leaving? We fly away on Thursday, March 9th.
  • If I want to send you a postcard, where do I send it? Email us at both@AndrewAndRachel.com for our forwarding address

The countdown is on! We leave [fergcorp_cdt_single date=”9-March-2017 6:30pm”].

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Mark and Vanessa’s Wedding: Hong Kong

We were in Hong Kong to attend the wedding for Rachel’s brother, Mark. I’m not sure going to a single wedding in Hong Kong allows me to extrapolate fully, but from what I gleaned most weddings are very similar to this: suits tailored the week before, shoes for the bridesmaids custom made in two days, and a full day of pomp and circumstance with both Western and Chinese tradition.

It’s quite the show. Here’s part two of three (see part 1 and part 3).

[flickr_set id=”72157653170866918″]

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