26 January 2011

Daily details. . .

Little things are starting to pop up that I don't have the answers to. . .I don't know if Hannah and Maggie will be  wearing school uniforms, so I can't hit the clearance racks for school clothes for next year.  I don't know exactly how the weather will be, so I don't know whether tank tops, swimsuits, and flip flops are necessary!  All the little details that I pride myself on thinking of. . .on being prepared for are going to have to be researched!  How exhausting!

We are going to have to teach the girls the pound system and the metric system so that they will have a basic familiarity with it before school starts. . .going to have to "mind the gap" on the trains. . .we will have to drive on the other side of the road (terrifying!). . .and get used to spending family dinners at a local pub (such a hardship!).  It is all part of the adventure, but it makes my head spin just to contemplate it!

Have figured out that car seat law are about the same. . .shots (or jabs) for the kids are about the same. . .locally there are COSTCO and Ikea and Staples to just name a few. . .and I saw Pampers in a picture of a house for rent!! 

And a great little tidbit Keith learned from a current ISE. . . if we get Vonage, we can transfer an American number overseas and the calls are then just a regular long distance call for our family and friends that will ring to our house there!

24 January 2011

Let's tell the girls. . .

After talking about all we could think of and making the decision to go ahead with this move, it was time to tell our daughters.  I had told the girls during the afternoon that they could have whatever they wanted for dinner that night, and it finally worked itself out that we were going to O'Charley's to eat.  It was our "family meeting." 

Hannah has always known and accepted that a move would be coming soon for our family--that we wouldn't be living in Tennessee forever.  I am fairly certain that she was beginning to think that it would be back to Peoria for us.  Maggie doesn't really remember the move because she was only 15 months old at the time, but she is such a homebody. . .would rather stay home than go to Target (even though she loves their popcorn!).

We started out by letting them know we had something to talk to them about.  Asked Hannah what she remembered about moving to Tennessee. . what was fun, what was difficult, etc.  She mentioned getting a new house and bedroom and missing family and her pink carpet in her old bedroom.  Then we told them the big news:  that this move would take us to a whole other country and how excited we were for our family's next adventure.

Our amazing Hanny took it all in stride--a little teary and then a big deep breath.  When she was composed and had been snuggled a little bit, her questions began: "What language do they speak?"  "Where is it?"  "When will we move?"  Ever her Daddy's girl!!

Sweet Maggie Moo teared up a little, too, and told us that she "didn't want to leave her house."  I am not sure that she fully understands that she won't get to see her friends and that time with family will be less.  But, she did cover some important topics:  "Mommy, will there be a Disney World there?"

I am so proud of the girls and know that whatever happens on this journey that they will be okay. . .better than okay. . .that they will take it all in and make us truly understand that it doesn't matter where we go as long as we are together!!

22 January 2011

Control issues. . .

I am the first to admit that I like to have control over things. . .it makes me calm when things are ordered--when all is in its proper place.  My kids have taught me a lot about the beauty of chaos, but I am still evolving into a Zen person (and let's face it, always will be).  So right now. . .waiting for the HR paperwork from Caterpillar (14 days and counting since we accepted the position) is KILLING ME!  The weekend after we found out about the job, I rushed to Office Max and bought an awesome briefcase bag along with a matching set of folders, notebooks, etc. which, coincidentally, have what I find to be a rather British feel.  I was pumped--I was ready--I was going to get ourselves organized for the impending move.  Of course Brum rolled his eyes but knowing me as well as he does only joked that I should take just the notepads back.  And then I waited. . . and waited. . .and waited some more. 

I need that paperwork to feel like I am in control of something in this whole process. . .Caterpillar is so generous to its ISE's. . so considerate of the difficulty of this kind of move. . .and I am very grateful for that.  But in turn, they will dictate so many of the decisions that have to be made.  Their ability to get our residency visas will decide when we move.  Their housing allowance will decide what type of home we will make there.  Their storage and shipping policies will decide what we will take, what we will store, and what we will have to get rid of.

BUT. . .I am the master of my lists! Give me some details so I can focus on something instead of rattling around in this massive cloud of information that everyone keeps throwing at us.  Let me waste some hours putting it all in ABC order!

Keith delivers the news. .

On the day that Keith was asked to consider the position in England, he was planning on coming home at lunch so that I could go to a meeting at Hannah's school and so he could go to an eye doctor appointment.  Maybe I was distracted with thoughts of the meeting, or maybe he was really good at hiding how he was feeling, but I had no idea that our lives had been changed that morning.  After his appointment, we were just piddling around the house, hanging out with the kids, and Keith says "Oh, by the way, Lesley [our sitter] will be here in an hour--I am taking you out to dinner."  I will be honest. . .my first thought was how thoughtful and romantic that was.  My second thought was, "Uh oh. . .it's the first of the year.  . .he has been offered his next job and he wants to soften the blow with liquor."  I didn't say anything, but when we got to the restaurant (Jonathon's), my suspicions were confirmed when instead of his favorite beer, a Black and Blue, Keith ordered a vodka tonic. 

My sweet, thoughtful husband, who at this point had carried this news on his shoulders for about 7 hours, sat down across from me and I could see the weight of the day in his eyes.  I know just how much he had struggled to digest and sort all that he had been told, and I know that he had been trying to figure out how best to share the news with me.  He took a deep breath and said "This is really hard."  (I asked him if I was going to have to go to the bathroom and cry).  And then I just watched his mouth to see if it would form the "ruh" in Russia or the "ch" in China.  I had been thinking over the past few months about how I would handle this moment. . .would I be strong.  .would I wail. . .would I get up and walk away for a few minutes. . .would I say all the right things.  .all the wrong things? 

He told me about the position and who had been involved in the recommendation of him for the job.  And then he took another deep breath and said that the job would be over two facilities in the UK.  I took a deep breath and . . . then I can't remember the next few minutes very clearly!  I will say that somewhere in the eruption of emotion was relief that I had seen his mouth form the "you" in UK.  We started to talk--I did go to the bathroom to cry a little--and he got his laptop and we looked some things up.  So we talked, we cried, we got a little tipsy. . .we went to Barnes and Noble to find a book. . .I am thinking there was a little shock mixed in there.

The first couple of days were pretty much a bust for anything else in our life; they were mostly filled with numbness, crying, insomnia, and lots of talking.  Telling the girls and our families was the next hurdle. . .

19 January 2011

It's such a great opportunity. . .

I am so grateful for all of the good thoughts, well-wishes, offers of prayer, and generally positive attitudes that I have seen and heard when we have shared news of this move.  BUT. . .Keith might be able to retire today if we had a dollar for every time we have heard  "It's such a great opportunity. . ."  The number of times I have said it could send us on a second honeymoon.  And, don't get me wrong. . .I agree that it is.  However, I am fairly certain that many of the times I have said it, I have really meant "This really kind of stinks to have to move this far away from my family and close friends and I am moving towards focusing on the positive and maybe if I say this enough times it will be what I focus on instead of how difficult this is going to be!"  So I guess keep on saying it to us. . we need to hear it so that we remember to remember that it is a great opportunity and to make the most of our time there!

January 5, 2011

This is the date that my blog should have started on. . .or should it read 5 January 2011?  Anyway. . .that is the day that Keith found out that he was being asked to take a job for Caterpillar in the UK.  Hopefully since I have broken the ice on this thing, I will find it easier to start posting regularly.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am terrible at this, so good luck me!