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. 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Calleigh's Room

When we moved in to the house, there was no room for Calleigh, as the owners didn't have children. So we would have to change one of the rooms quite drastically to make it a nice room for a 1 year old. And as the house is fully furnished it meant a lot of moving and shifting around, so we chose the room with the least amount of stuff in, the upstairs office. 

This became our number one priority as everything else could easily wait. I am happy to say that finally I think we have just about finished. 

We used removable Disney Princess wall art to spruce up the walls a bit as we are kind of restricted on painting and removable sticky photo hangers to hang up some pictures. The curtains are  from her nursery back in England and fit perfectly. We decided to keep the leather chair in so we have somewhere to sit if she doesn't settle too well at bedtime. 
We also brought a pink striped rug to go on the floor (not pictured). 
The drawers are the last thing we brought and we got them for a bargain $99, reduced from $220. They really make the room complete. 

I am really happy with the way it looks now and hopefully it will last us for the next 2 years until we have to do it all over again in a new house. 

Monday, 3 June 2013

Home Sweet Home

After a long, long wait our stuff has finally arrived with us here in St Louis. It was very exciting to get back all our belongings and find places for them around our new home. 

For me the best thing was getting all our family photos and home decorations. Straight away from getting them out of the box I was hanging them on the empty hooks I have been looking at for the last 8 weeks. Now I can say that this place is really starting to feel like home. 

Paul was most excited about getting his Xbox and all his technical gadgets. Although his excitement didn't last long, as because we are (once again) without Internet or TV there wasn't much he could do with them. We decided to change service providers last week but unfortunately there was a long wait for set up. Hopefully they will be out on Thursday (I can't wait!).

Calleigh's toy box arrived safely with all her toys inside, she was so happy to see all her toys again! 

Although she did seem more interested in playing with the boxes. 

We are so happy everything arrived safely and although there is still a bit of cleaning and sorting to do everything went well and our house is now a home. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Home Comforts

Whilst we were out visiting St Charles last weekend we came across Historic Main Street. 
This quaint little street boasted pebbled sidewalks, tea shops and small boutique shops selling vintage items. 

After we stopped for some tea in Alice's Tea Shop we walked down and came across an English Shop. Not being able to resist we took a look inside. It was just like walking into your local corner shop back in England (only a bit prettier). 
There were shelves full of English tea, cakes, sauces and foods. 

We indulged in some Weetabix and Heinz Beans for Calleigh, some Daddies Brown Sauce, Colman's Mustard, and some good old Bisto Gravy for our Sausage and Mash. 
(The tea I brought with me from home)

English Goodies

It's the little things that make you more comfortable and less homesick. 

I'm sure we will be visiting again soon!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Welcome To Our New Home

Firstly I would like to say how happy I am that we finally have the Internet and TV set up in our house. This last week has been so hard, I missed technology! 

And more importantly, we are finally in our new house. 

We moved in on Wednesday the 17th and since then it has been an endless mission of making it a home for all of us. This included installing stair gates to stop the little monkey getting upstairs, Cupboard latches to stop the little monkey emptying them out on the floor and adding some personal touches to each room. 

Home Candle
A moving in gift from my Mum

St Louis and London cushions for the Bedroom 

The hardest challenge we faced was changing the upstairs office into Calleigh's new bedroom. After browsing tons of lovely bedroom furniture sets, we decided to start off small with just an basic cot, until we decide what we want to do with her room. 
Obviously we are quite limited on the decoration front as we are only renting, but I'm sure once we get to grips with things out here we can make her a lovely little place of her own. 

We are still in the process of buying things and figuring out where everything so expect a few more posts of our new little space and how we are making it ours. 

Friday, 19 April 2013

Day Two: Still Travelling

At 6am on Friday morning we caught the bus back to the airport. After checking in we got rid of the mountain of suitcases and made our way to security. 
As Calleigh woke up at 4 she was very tired and fell in to a deep sleep right before. I will tell you one thing, it's not easy trying to manoeuvre your way through security with a sleeping baby in your arms. But we made it and with plenty of time to spare before our flight. 

So we set ourselves down and had a nice breakfast before making our way to our gate. Whilst we were waiting (the plane was delayed a little bit due to broken wiper blades) Calleigh woke up and had a banana for breakfast. 

The flight went well again and before we knew it we touched down at our final destination- 
Our new home- 
St Louis. 

We checked in at the Wildwood hotel and conveniently my Mum's room was right next door to ours. 

We spent the next few days couped up in a hotel room eagerly awaiting our move in date- the 17th of April. 

More to come soon... (when we finally get the Internet in our house!)

Monday, 15 April 2013

Day One: Leaving Day

We left the house on Thursday 11th of April at 6:30am after a sad goodbye to my sister, Lana. 

We somehow managed to squish 4 large suitcases, 1 small suitcase, several large bags, a pushchair, a baby and 3 people into the car. One thing I will say- most uncomfortable ride ever!
Once we arrived at the airport it was all a bit of a rush, it always seems to be that way with Calleigh beans. So we quickly checked in all our luggage and managed to get a quick breakfast and before we knew it we were boarding the plane. 

We waved a little goodbye to England as the plane took off and prepared ourselves for the journey ahead. 
Unfortunately we couldn't get seats together on the plane, so Paul volunteered himself to sit with Calleigh, while I sat and kept the mother company. 
The flight went really well and 7 hours and 20 minutes later we touched down in Newark, New Jersey. 

The flight actually landed 25 minutes late which meant we missed our connecting flight to St Louis- Ahhhh and we were unable to get a direct flight until the next morning- double Ahhhh.
Luckily, the lovely lady at the service desk gave us a complimentary hotel for the night and $120 in meal vouchers. 

We left our bags in the room at the hotel and after freshening up we made our way down to the bar for happy hour, after all, missing your flight and being stuck in an airport hotel is a perfect excuse for a few beers. 

We turned in early that night so by 4am the next morning we were all wide awake getting ready to go back to the airport and start all over again...

Sunday, 14 April 2013

We Are Here At Last

Just a short post to let you all know we have arrived safely in St Louis.

We had a minor hitch when we arrived at Newark which meant we didn't get to St Louis until the day after we were supposed to but we took it all in our stride. 

I will fill you in with more details once I have a bit more time. 

Until then xx

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

It's Official

Well everyone, It's now official. 
Our leaving date is Thursday 11th April (only 10 days away!!).
The flights are booked and the packing is going into overdrive (and so are the emotions). 

On another note...

Paul arrived back from his 2 week trip out there very early Sunday morning, after a shall we say, bumpy trip back. 
He was meant to land Saturday morning but after an engine failure 3 hours away from home his plane was turned around and diverted to some army base in Canada. 
13 hours later he finally landed in Birmingham. 
I couldn't be happier that he arrived back in one piece. 

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Hopes and Fears

As our move date looms closer and closer (It's looking to be mid April) I thought I would share with you some of the things I am hopeful will come out of this move and some of the things I am most afraid of.
Sort of like the pros and cons.

The good thing about this move is that, as it is an inter-company transfer, Paul is already guaranteed work and a nice pay packet to accompany it. 
We already have a house, which is much much nicer than our current living quarters and I am very excited to move in and start making it into a home for us. 

This is a fresh start for us and an unbelievable opportunity for Calleigh. I believe she will be able to make so much more of herself out there compared to what she can do here. Especially with the current tragic condition of the UK economy.

With lovely hot summers there is so much more to do out there. Just around us there are countless National Parks and Reservations that are free to go to.
And oh the holidays we can go on...
I can't wait to take Calleigh to Disney World, Florida for the first time. And for Paul he really can't wait to explore the West.

One of my main fears is that we will be quite lonely. Everyone tells me we will make friends and I am sure we will, but will they ever be like the friends we have here.
I will miss my family everyday (we are very close) and they will miss Calleigh even more. I know we have the Internet and I have this blog but they will miss out on seeing Calleigh grow day by day.

What if I get too homesick?

What if we can't make it work?

What if I never get used to driving on the wrong side of the road?

The only way I will ever know the answers to these questions is to get out there.

So I am willing to ride this roller coaster.

I just hope the ride isn't too bumpy.

Friday, 22 March 2013

We Have A House!

It's official Paul has secured us a house! 

It is so beautiful and comes fully furnished, I can really see us settling down in there. 

The owners of the house are actually English and are returning home for two years , I mean if that's not fate then what is. 

Here are a few photos of our future home 

It is such a beautiful home. It really makes me excited for whats to come and I finally feel like this is really happening. Now all we need to do decide on a moving date. Unfortunately even this is posing a problem as neither of us can agree on a date. But I'm sure now that we have the home we will be able to sort something out. 

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Hard Times

It's getting closer to the big move and even though we do not have a set date yet we know it will be sometime in April and that puts a lot of pressure on us both.

On Thursday Paul flew out to St Louis, he will be there for the next two weeks. Mainly to work but also to get everything sorted out for when we move out their with Calleigh. I mean we need somewhere to move to, which means we need to rent a house.
Whilst Paul is busy doing that, I have moved in with my Mum and Sister. Mainly so that I do not get too lonely (and it's always nice for the extra help with Calleigh) but also to make it easier to pack up the house.
Or so I thought...

Calleigh's room turned upside-down
Today I went round to pick up a few bits and move some boxes of our personal stuff somewhere safer, It was not easy. I looked around at the house which looks like someone has just walked in and chucked stuff in the air, tripped over a box, trapped my finger in a draw and struggled to manoeuvre my way around a curious Calleigh. I almost broke into tears right then, luckily my Mum was there with me and convinced me to leave it for now and have a cup of tea.. such words of wisdom.

Paul on the other hand has had much better luck than me and may have even found our future house.
It's a bit more than we wanted to pay but comes fully furnished which eliminates the hassle of manic furniture buying when we get out there.
Hopefully he can seal the deal this week and we can finally start arranging a move date.

I'm hoping to get some more information soon so will let you know what happens..

Until then you will find me knee deep in boxes and Peppa Pig marathons.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Packing Problems and Bubble Wrap

Since we have had our Visa's come through we have been busy trying to pick a date that suits both of us and have started packing up some stuff. 

After much deliberation Paul has got a date for his trip. 
He will be going without us first for a couple of weeks to look for a house and get some other stuff sorted. We decided this would be the best option for us as the thought of me staying alone in a hotel with Calleigh for too long is a little daunting and not fair on Calleigh. 

Whilst he is away it would of been my job to pack everything up ready to ship over. However, this is a massive job, especially with a 15 month old baby around, and so Paul decided it would be best if we started doing some of it now. 

It seemed like such a good idea at the time but now not so much. 
It's hard to pack up a house you are still living in, add that to the fact that Paul hardly wants to take anything and I want to take everything and cue arguments over sentimental items and whether pretty candles are necessities. 

The house is a mess with bubble wrap and boxes everywhere I step. Which is made worse by the fact the house was already a mess with baby toys anyway. 

Calleigh just wants to play with the bubble wrap. 

Paul just wants to chuck everything away. 

And I just want it all to be over. 

I'm sure we will get there in the end, well, I hope we will. 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

London- Day Two

After the early finish at the Embassy we had the whole day left to explore more of London. 

We decided to start our day at Buckingham Palace. The flag was flying which meant the Queen was at home, I was hoping she may come to the window and give us a little wave, but no such luck. 
Looking at the massive building I found myself thinking about how hard it would be to clean and how many staff work there. I find it hard enough to keep on top of my house and my house would probably fit in her bathroom. 

Next we took a walk through St James Park on our way to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. That's when the most amazing thing happened. Walking past a few seagulls, the biggest one there suddenly opened it beak and meowed at us, yes, meowed. I instantly though I need to take this home to Calleigh, but instead decided on a video. Unfortunately the seagull was a bit shy and as soon as I got my camera out it turned away. 

We walked a bit further and finally Big Ben came into view. Around the same square was Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. All the buildings were so beautiful. We wanted to go inside the Abbey but decided against it as time was short and we still had so much to see. 

I managed to convince Paul that it was important to go and see the Twinings Tea Shop. So we headed off to  the Strand. On the way there we walked through Trafalgar Square. It all felt very much like I was in a game of Monopoly, apart from I wasn't cheating (Paul wont play Monopoly with me anymore because I cheated, in my defence I don't  like losing).

After buying lots of Tea we headed back to the hotel via the tube. Our little feet were too tired for the 45 minute walk back. We packed up our stuff, checked out and headed for the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. Our last stop before going home.

We then picked up some gifts from the gift shop for family and stopped for a cup of tea before heading back to the car.

Our journey home was not the greatest. After taking a wrong turn the Sat Nav redirected us through the centre of London so it took us an hour before we even got onto the M1.
When we finally did we saw warnings of slow traffic a couple of Junctions up but decided if we have a stop for something to eat it should have cleared up by the time we reach it.
Oh how we were so wrong.

4 hours later we finally made it home. 

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Attending the US Embassy

On the morning of our interview at the US Embassy we both got up at 6:30. Our appointment wasn't until 8:30 so this left plenty of time for us to get a good breakfast inside us. We didn't know how long we would be in there so filling our stomachs was important. 

US Embassy, London

We arrived outside the Embassy at around  8:15 to an already fairly large queue. As we took our place at the back of the line we saw people leaving to go and store their phones in a nearby newsagents. Luckily we were informed that no mobile phones or other electronic equipment would be allowed inside and stored all our valuables back in the safe at the hotel. 

US Embassy, London

The wait outside wasn't too long, they seemed to want to get people in quickly which was good as it was raining a bit. We went through security and followed the Visa signs up to yet another waiting room. Here we were given a ticket number and told to wait until our number is called. 
Surprisingly we didn't have to wait long and within 10 minutes of sitting down the electronic system called out our number and we hurried over to our window. 

At this first window it was really just checking all the documents and passports, making sure that everything was there and also taking our fingerprints (Paul had told me to be extra careful as they will send you away if you have a cut on your finger). 
We were given a form to fill out and told to wait again until our number was called. This time it would be for the interview and we were told that even though the interview may only last 15 minutes we could be waiting for over and hour. 
That being the case I went and got myself a cup of tea, as you do. 

About 15 minutes later our number was called again and that's when the nerves kicked in. What if they say no? What if we were missing something? 
I didn't have time to worry too much though as before we knew it we were stood in front of a man who was asking us questions. 
How old is your daughter?
When were you married?
What is your job?
Where will you be going? 
Paul did brilliantly and answered every question confidently even though I could see how nervous he was. And that's when the man behind the window said "I'm going to go ahead and approve this for you". 

With that short sentence our interview was over and the rest of our lives were beginning. 

I can't believe how quick it all was. After being told that it could take hours we were so surprised when we were out by 9:30. That meant we had the rest of the day to see more of London. 

US Embassy, London

Thursday, 21 February 2013

London- Day One

We arrived at our hotel, Doubletree by Hilton Marble Arch, at around 3:30pm. At check in we received a free cookie each and then quickly got to our room to dump our bags. 
First thing we needed to do was a test walk up to the Embassy (so we didn't get lost on the day). Surprisingly it was very easy and only took about 5 minutes, which means we have more time for breakfast before we have to leave tomorrow morning. 

Hotel Room

Next I wanted to go to Harrods so I got my phone out and used my handy City Guide app I downloaded to point us in the right direction. It didn't do us much good as we most definitely went the long way. It wasn't so bad though as I got to stand next to an Aston Martin Vanquish in a showroom and walk through Hyde Park (obviously avoiding the swarms of crazy people on bikes determined to run me over!). 
We finally made it to Harrods and then proceeded to get lost between the rooms of expensive handbags and even more expensive bling before finding ourselves in the sanctuary that was the room with chocolate and tea. I brought some overpriced chocolate and then headed to the toy department to find something for Calleigh. After looking for far too long at a pair of glittery Cinderella shoes (that also came in my size) and being told by Paul that we would both look silly in them, I decided on a Harrods bear dressed as the Queen. 


Our next stop was the Hard Rock Cafe shop to pick up a T-Shirt from the London store. 
I now own St Louis, Copenhagen and London Hard Rock T-Shirts. 

As it was getting later and was already dark we quickly moved on to the Ice Bar, which I have wanted to do for ages. There was one in Copenhagen when we went but we couldn't go in as it would have been far too cold for little Calleigh. 
It was a bit expensive (£14 per person) and Paul had a little grumble but we did get a free cocktail once inside and it was super cool. We were dressed in silly snow coats with gloves attached. The gloves were a must as the glass was made of ice and would of been impossible to hold otherwise. It was really good, I though it would of had a bit more seating but I suppose you can only have so many ice chairs. 

Ice Bar

Starving and knackered we headed back to the hotel for some hot food, a nice shower and a warm bed.

Out for a meal

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The story so far...

This is the story of our move from our little mid-terraced home in the heart of a little village called Breaston in the UK over the great Atlantic to St Louis, Missouri. 

My husband, Paul, works for a company whose headquarters are based in the USA. After several trips out there (one where baby and I got to go along too) the decision was made both by the company and ourselves to petition for a work visa so that we could relocate to the USA and Paul could carry on his work there in the headquarters. 

We have just had our Visa approved. 

What does this mean you say? 

Well, following a long wait while our petition went through check after check after check it was finally sent off to be processed in California. A week later we received notice that it had been approved and informed of the next steps we had to take to solidify the decision. 

This includes a trip to the US Embassy in London that we will embark on next Wednesday. 
Luckily Calleigh does not have to be present at the Embassy due to her young age so we have arranged for her to stay with family. 
We have booked a hotel overnight as to avoid a very (very!) early morning drive to London as our appointment is at half past 8. 

I am very much looking forward to our trip and will make sure to update you once we get back. 

Hopefully the decision will be a good one!