Week of 11 July – Pack, Load, Clean
This was an extremely busy week. We gave away all of our food and cleaning products to neighbours. The incoming Canadians purchased our appliances and many of our electrical products. We hired a local “man with a van” company to transport the stuff. It was much less stress than trying to do it ourselves. In the end, hiring the company cost less than renting a small moving van ourselves.
The packers did an excellent job of packing our household goods. It took them two full 7-hour days to wrap and inventory tag all of the items. The loading day went very smoothly as well. The truck driver was Romanian and spoke very little English but thanks to Google Translate we managed to communicate.
After the house was emptied we had one last run to the city dump/recycle station and we were cleared. The cleaning team we hired came in on Saturday and Sunday. Canadian friends were doing the move-out inspection on our behalf the following Monday.
16 July – Travel to USA
We flew out Saturday morning. It was a beautiful, fresh summer day. It was heartbreaking to leave – not knowing if we’d ever return. Saying good-bye to everyone a final time brought tears to our eyes. Fortunately, there are social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn so that we can all keep in touch. Long-distance phone calls are a thing of the past. With tools like Skype and FaceTime we can connect with friends anytime, anywhere.
Our flight from London, UK to Newark USA was long but rather uneventful. We watched a few movies. I finished a book I was reading. Clearing through Customs and Immigration on arrival was surprisingly easy although it took us longer than most people because the official had to process our visas correctly.
The wait in Newark airport took forever. Our flight was delayed several times and we had to change gates twice. We are NOT fans of American airline companies!
We finally arrived in San Antonio at almost 23:00 CT – very tired. Our rooms were ready at our hotel and we managed to get a good sleep.
Week of 18 July – New Job, New City
The first business day in a new city in a new country and my husband starts work. His first week was spent getting registered and authorized with all the necessary departments. In the U.S. dependents require military ID cards to get access to the military base. We will access U.S. Forces medical services during our posting in San Antonio so we needed to get registered with the health insurance company as well.
We found it very difficult to function during this week because of the heat and humidity. During the day the temperatures were around 40° to 45°C. The nighttime temperatures fell to between 35 and 38°C. Very un-Canadian, non-British weather.
Week of 25 July – Orientation
Our daughter and me started spending our days in our new apartment when my husband was at work. We bought a washer and dryer and had them installed so we didn’t have to go to a Laundromat. We got Internet and cable TV service hooked up. We thoroughly cleaned the apartment and had a few maintenance items taken care of.
August – Registration and Paperwork
We got our daughter registered in the local high school. It was a bit of work to determine which courses from the school in England related to which courses in Texas but it all seemed to work out adequately.
We also applied for our Employment Authorization Documents. These are required before we can apply for a Social Security Number. In the United States, Social Security Numbers seem to be required for EVERYTHING – from banking to health care to being able to obtain a driver’s licence. It is quite different from Canada where you only need a Social Insurance Number for your employment and income taxes.
Our furniture finally arrives and we can sleep in our own beds! It was a great weekend at home and perfect timing as school started August 22nd.
We spent a total of 38 nights in hotels. I’m so glad we’re finally “home”.