Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Moving Abroad with a Little One

Moving with a little one under any circumstance is going to be difficult never mind when you are moving over 4,000 miles away from where you call home. We were lucky this opportunity came when it did as Calleigh was still so young and had no ties with school or friends in England. We knew that Calleigh was going to be okay as we came out to St Louis the year before we decided to move here. She was only 7 months old at the time. 

When we found out that our Visa had been accepted we didn't have long before our move date. And Paul had to come to St Louis on his own in order to secure us a house and get some other things in order so it would all go smoothly when we moved. This left Calleigh and I in England to tie up loose ends here and pack. We moved in with my mum to make the process a bit easier. This left the house empty so I could pack everything up that we didn't need. It was still very difficult to do alone as looking after Calleigh took up a majority of my time. I must admit if we did it again I would allow ourselves a little more time.

When the move date came, obviously Calleigh didn't understand what was happening. But family did, and saying goodbye to Calleigh was really hard for them, as it was for us. 

We knew travelling was not going to be a problem, as despite her young age she had already been on a plane 6 times- 4 on our trip to St Louis and the other 2 going to Denmark- so she is pretty well travelled. Nothing seemed to bother little Calleigh, even when we missed our flight and got stranded in New Jersey. To her it was just another little adventure.

When we finally landed in St Louis our house was not ready so we spent the first couple of days in a hotel. It was the same hotel we stayed in on our initial trip out here so we knew the staff and the place very well. Calleigh thought it was just another holiday. 

Moving day finally came and we got the keys to the house which we will call home for the next two years. We were extremely lucky to find a house which came fully furnished, meaning we didn't have to go out in a mad rush to buy ourselves furniture. The only thing we needed was a crib for Calleigh and furniture for her room, as before it was an office. 

Before long we had finished Calleigh's room and everything was starting to settle down. My mum had returned home so it left just us as a family, Calleigh had started daycare, giving me a child free day every week to stay on top of the cleaning and once our stuff arrived from England Calleigh had all her toys back.

We make sure we stay in touch with Family every week so they can see Calleigh and vice versa. It has not been easy and I do get upset when I think about what Calleigh could be missing out on by not having her family around. Calleigh doesn't seem to mind so much, I know she is still so young she doesn't quite understand that when she sees them on the computer that they are actually in a whole other country.

Moving here was Calleigh was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Even though we had our problems and set backs we made it here and we have made an excellent start on creating a life for our family here. Calleigh is happy, she gets so much attention from Mummy and Daddy and that's all she seems to really need. We plan to take trips back home whenever we can to see family and make sure that Calleigh knows who they are. 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013


Paul and I have been talking a lot lately about our life here and how it's not really turning out to be anything like we expected. We find ourselves constantly adding up pros and cons and wondering if we will ever be able to make a home here. 
America is a beautiful country and full of opportunity for us but unfortunately all of that beauty has been masked by the horrible reality that no matter how hard we try we just can't seem to get our feet in the ground and build the foundations that we need to help us feel at home. 

When we first came out here we were full of hope and ideas with a big list of things we were going to do. As the weeks have passed by it seems like it's not as easy as we thought it would be. Getting a car for example has been an endless circle of "No you don't have a credit file", "Yes, but you have to pay 50% interest". And as I am now without a car, I feel like my legs have been chopped from underneath me. Just to the end of our street it is a mile walk. Which isn't something I want to be doing in 100 degree heat. 

The house we live in, although we have added all our personal touches still doesn't feel like home. I am constantly reminded when I tell Calleigh no to draw on the couch or the TV that none of this stuff is ours. We didn't have much back in England but at least I could say it was ours. 
It was OUR home and OUR furniture. 

And also Paul and I haven't felt like husband and wife in a while. I don't know if it's because we are both a little bit unhappy here or because we haven't spent much time with each other. Every night seems to be the same, he comes home from work, we eat, watch TV and then go to bed. 

It also doesn't help at the moment that I am constantly being eating alive by bugs. I have a total count of 9 bites on my body at the moment, three of which are on my arm which has resulted in a huge lump the size of a lemon sticking out of it. We definitely didn't have that to worry about in England. 

I think the reason we have been thinking and talking so much about it lately is because we have booked our trip home for Christmas and both of us are finding ourselves counting down the seconds until we get on that plane. The thought of going back to England has brought up all of these reminders of the things we miss.

This doesn't mean we are giving up, we are going to see it through. As the saying goes "things can only get better". 
We are just hoping that they do and soon. 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Our first night out

Whilst my Mum and Sister were here visiting us we celebrated a lot. It was Paul's birthday, my Mum's birthday and also our 3 year Anniversary. As a present to us, my Mum and Sister said they would look after Calleigh for the night so we could have some time to ourselves (it has been such a long time since we have been out just the two of us). 

As my gift to Paul (and a little for myself) I booked us a Deluxe King Bedroom Suite at the Ameristar Hotel and Casino in St Charles. 

The room was beautiful, it was the fist hotel room I have stayed in that had steps in the room that led from the bedroom to the seating area. It was a lovely place too, everything was attached the the hotel in a lovely courtyard type thing that made you feel you were outside. All the restaurants, bars and the casino were literally right next to us so there was no need to leave the hotel at all.

We got dressed up to have a nice meal together, I felt a bit out of place as we seemed to be the only ones in formal attire but I didn't care, I had a pretty dress on and we were finally having some alone time together.

After dinner we went to the Casino. It was ah-may-zing.
There were so many machine's in there and it was lit up like a Christmas tree. This being our first time in a proper Casino we were pretty dumb struck at how amazing it was. Unfortunately, the good feeling didn't last long. After a really good win on the first machine I sat down at it all went terribly downhill from there and we ended up back in the hotel room after half an hour without a dime to our name. This is defiantly a sign that we wont be taking a trip to Vegas anytime soon.

Nevertheless we had a really great night and it was great to feel like husband and wife for a night, not mummy and daddy.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Home for Christmas

Wow, it's been a long time since I posted here. A few reasons for this- firstly, my Mum and Sister came out to visit us at the beginning of August so I spent most of my time enjoying the company and making sure they had a good time here and secondly, I was a bit down when they went back home. It's now been 3 weeks since they left and everything is back to normal and although I still miss them it's not as bad anymore.

I will try to keep up on here as much as I can. At the moment we are in the process of applying for our Green Card to live here in the United states so I will be posting a bit about that. We have had our vaccinations done and the next step is for us all to get a check up which we are trying to get booked soon. 

In other news we have booked our trip home for Christmas. We were planning to wait a bit but the flights seem to be going really fast so we decided to jump on and get everything booked early. I am so happy to be visiting home, especially at Christmastime. I can't wait for everyone to see Calleigh again and how much she has grown. And I'm very excited to catch up with all my friends. 

It's still a good while away yet though, we have a few things to look forward to before then. I am most looking forward to experiencing Halloween out here with Calleigh. There are already tons of Halloween stuff in the shops and I have started thinking about what I want to dress Calleigh up as. 
There is also Calleigh's birthday and Thanksgiving (both on the same day)!

Until then though, I will be counting down the weeks until I see you again England! 

Monday, 22 July 2013

Road Trip to Florida

We have just taken our first holiday out here in the states. Paul has taken us all down to Florida for my birthday (which is today!!).

Paul and I have been to Florida before but this is Calleigh's first time going and it is our first time driving. Obviously you can't drive from England so last time we came by plane. We decided that this time, as we are living a drivable distance from Florida we should take a road trip. 
I planned out the route a week before hand so it would be a easy drive down.

On the way down we went through 6 states, starting off in Missouri, heading off into Illinois and then passing through Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia before finally arriving in Florida.

All together it took us 2 days with a night stop in Atlanta, Georgia. We were on the road a total of 16 hours and travelled 1020 miles. As we decided to do it in two days our first leg from St Louis to Atlanta, a total of 595 miles, took us about 11 hours. That includes a breakfast stop, gas stop, a quick stop in TN for a break and a final stop for some dinner and more fuel. On the second day we went from Atlanta to Orlando, travelling 425 miles in 6 hours. Again we stopped a few times for quick breaks but as we had breakfast before we left we didn't need to take a long stop for any food.

On the way back we have chosen a different route but taking it slow and doing it over 2 days again. We will be staying over the night in Alabama. I will let you know how it goes. If you want to know how our trip went you can find it here.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

3 Month Update

Can you believe that we have been here for 3 months already. Where has the time gone? It only seems like yesterday I was waving goodbye to the runway at Birmingham Airport. 

We have been very busy these last 3 months, attempting to settle down into our new surroundings and I must admit I think we are just about there. The house is really starting to look like a home now and I no longer wake up in the morning thinking I have to go downstairs to get a cuppa (our bedroom is ground level). We have added our homely touches to it, stuck loads of family photos up and Calleigh has done her part by ensuring it is a mess 24/7. 
We are getting to know the area very well and although I am sure there are still many hidden wonders we have yet to discover just around the corner from us, we know all the places we need to. Where the nice parks are to take Calleigh, good restaurants to go to, where to get our haircut and good places to go shopping. Road wise I no longer rely solely on the Sat Nav to get me around and am much more comfortable with Interstate driving and we have even found some sneaky little shortcuts (albeit they may be on what I call death roads- narrow roads with massive drops either side). 
Paul and I passed our US driving tests not longer after we got out here and now hold both a Missouri and British driving license (go us!) 

We have encountered a few problems out here mainly to do with trying to get a car. It seems that we are what they like to call "ghosts"- no credit history- and most dealers are only willing to sort finance over a very short period with a very high interest rate. One even wanted to charge us 30% Interest!! I will probably go into this more on another post, it's much too annoying to go into right now. For the time being we are relying on the kindness of Paul's work as they are lending us a car to get around in. 

On the weather front it is finally starting to look like summer here, although as I write this there is a bad storm going on outside. We have seen much higher temperature's in the past few days and much more sun. Which is much better than it  has been. Just a few weeks ago at the end of May we experienced our first Tornado warning and had to wait it out in the basement, Luckily it passed by us.

At the moment we are very happy with the way things are going over here and Paul has even had some news regarding our green card process and it looks as though we can start applying for it now. Depending on approval this would make us official residents of the United States.

We are missing our families back home and especially missing the extra help we had with Calleigh. I don't think we have had a minute to ourselves since we got here. In a couple of weeks my mum and sister are coming over to visit and I can't wait. It will be great spending time with them and I am so happy for them to come and see our home and the area where we live. 

Monday, 1 July 2013

We Are Back Online

After an incredibly long wait to get our TV and internet installed (we were left with nothing for 6 weeks!!) we are finally back online. We got everything installed on Saturday and I couldn't be happier, Calleigh is loving having Disney Junior back and I'm glad I don't have to watch the same Little Einsteins DVD over and over again. 

During our time without the internet we used a 4G wireless device to get us through thanks to Paul's work. Unfortunately 4G is still unavailable in our area so it could only connect to a 3G network which meant we were very limited on what we could actually do, hence no posts in the last couple of weeks. I concentrated on Calleigh's blog during this time. 
It also meant that using Skype to talk to the family back home was out of the question as work paid the data  and we didn't want to give them a massive bill, cue one unhappy great Nanna who didn't quite understand why we couldn't talk. 

Thankfully all that is behind us now and we can catch up on all the TV we missed and chat our hearts out to the family. 

Also because of this I have a lot of catching up to do with this blog. I have a few updates I need to post and some pros and cons of moving abroad to come so keep a look out for those.