Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Working Orientation

Our last two weeks in Covington have been fairly hectic! We have taken on more than what I think most people can handle. With Luke working and me not, we figured we would follow Nike's motto of Just Do It!

Last week, we went to our Aberdeen Cultural Orientation in Houston. This was something we should have attended over a month ago, but it fell through the cracks due to Luke working offshore and me having to close out my school year. We flew to Houston on Tuesday night and luckily got to eat at Pappasitos before it closed for the night. Those of you who have never experienced Pappasitos mexican food should go to the nearest one to eat. I mean it... drive 5 hours and it will be worth it! On Wednesday morning, we went to our orientation not expecting to learn much. We figured that since we had already done so much research ourselves, we would be bored out of our minds listening to someone tell us what to expect. We were definitely wrong in the end. We got to hear from a former expat of Aberdeen, and also an Aberdeen native. It was great to hear both view points and ask questions that the internet just doesn't have answers to. We met one other couple that will be arriving in Aberdeen a few months after us. That Wednesday was our anniversary, so for dinner we went to The Melting Pot which I have been wanting to try for years. We ate way too much food! It was a fun experience but not something I would do often... especially since our pot of oil was way too hot and was popping on our arms. Oops! On the second day of our orientation, we started off with a tax orientation to learn how our taxes will be done while out of the country. Let me just say - those poor people who have to do our taxes deserve A LOT of respect. I understood it all, but I will take teaching rowdy kids any day over doing these kinds of taxes. After two days of useful information, we were exhausted, but we werent stopping there.

Our rental during our Cultural Orientation

Friday morning, Luke's family came to Covington to take any items they wanted from our home... within reason. We packed up a u-haul to go to a storage unit in Jennings. Luckily, there were quite a few of us doing this task so it went pretty quickly. And we got to spend time with the family which is a bonus. That night we went to The Chimes for dinner... ate oysters, had some drinks, watched a building fire down the road... and of course on the way home we went to Menchie's to eat some delicious self-serve frozen yogurt (I will miss Menchie's very much).

After saying good-bye to the family on Saturday, Luke and I geared ourselves up for a day of organizing. We have some guys coming to pack our house for us, but we wanted to make it easier for them (and probably us too) to know where our stuff was going. We have piles and piles and piles of things that have a certain destination. Domestic Long-Term Storage, Sea Shipment, Air Shipment, Luggage, and Donations. Our house went from being neat and tidy to insanely unorganized. I'll say this, our buyer's Realtor came by today for the termite inspection and was shocked when I opened the door. Embarrassing! I don't understand how people can live like that on a daily basis. Anyway, Luke and I continued our sorting through Sunday night. We packed up the TV, so I am stuck with a messy house, no TV, and a half-the-time-working internet connection. Luckily, any booze left in our house cannot go with us, so I am taking care of that situation :-)

Monday comes and Luke leaves for Houston to go to a conference with his future boss. Not the greatest timing for Luke to leave, but he will be learning more about his next assignment, so I guess its okay :-) Since he has left, I have been doing more sorting, tossing, organizing and the big task of packing our luggage. We are allowed to bring 6 checked bags total and then we get the normal amount of carry-ons. It is weird to pack when we really aren't leaving for a month. It is very confusing, and it has gotten to the point where I am just throwing things into space bags and sucking out the air. I figure, it is in the suitcase, we will need it eventually, its in there, so its all good! Ask me later how I feel about that method when I have to iron everything - grrrrr.

Luke comes back from Houston tomorrow (Thursday) and we will begin staying in a hotel until we leave Covington some time next week while our house gets packed up. Poor Luke has his 30th birthday next Thursday during this whole craziness. We will celebrate in Scotland soon at the Glenfiddich Distillery!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"See You Later"

It's always difficult to say goodbye to those who have helped you through a stage in your life. When I moved to Covington four years ago, I was leaving behind some terrific friends that I couldn't live without. I moved at the beginning of July to allow myself time to settle in to a new home before starting a new job with complete strangers. I was going from a low income school with somewhat poor performing students to a high income school with high performing students. It was opposite ends of the spectrum. I was nervous from day one.

On my first day arriving to the school to see my classroom and start setting up, I was greeted by none other than my very own "sister." Pam Georges (we have random connections throughout our lives... Im just ten years behind) was the first to welcome me to what was soon to be some of my most wonderful years.

Today, I had one last lunch in Louisiana with my former co-workers who prove that it is difficult to even call co-workers. These women have given me strength and support in some tough times in the past four years and not once have I felt judged. It's tough to find that in a women-filled environment. They have helped me through psycho emails, wedding planning, stolen vehicles, weight loss, "ping-ponging", a half-of-the-time-gone-husband, keeping out the coons while camping, wobbling the berney, and most importantly shared the difficulty of having large calves.
Me and Paulette at Disney World with our 7th graders in April 2011
Christmas Party 2010
Beach Trip 2010
Christmas Party 2010
THE Best Middle School Team EVER
Last Day of School Trash Splash 2012

It was emotional closing the school year... especially since there was two weeks of preparation, but it was best for the students. I was saying bye to a group of kids that I had known all four years. It was a good feeling to hear how much of an impact I had on them, but so hard to leave them after so long. You don't realize how much you mean to someone until you part ways. I have such positive memories with these students, and I wish them the world when they grow up.

A picture drawn by one of my students
Gift from my Cedarwood Family - It is called Tiger Lily
Here is my classroom throughout the years.

Here is my classroom all packed up and empty.

My life in Louisiana has been an adventure that I will never forget. I knew that some day I would be leaving, but I never imagined that it would be so difficult to leave. For all of those people who made negative comments about Louisiana four years ago when I was about to make the journey, you have no idea what you are missing out on!

"It is not 'good-bye', it is a 'see you later'." -Jessica Williams


Monday, June 25, 2012

To Buy!

Since we know that it is not cheap living in the UK, we decided to stock up or purchase some random things to hopefully save us a few pennies or pence for the next year. Such as:

-jogging clothes
-running shoes
-rain jackets
-paper towels
-toilet paper
-Taco seasoning
-Mexican/Southwest seasoning
-laundry detergent
-body wash
-face wash
-shampoo & condition
-other hair products & supplies
-shaving cream
-razor blades
-Brita Filters
-ink cartridges
-Frommer's Europse
-Scotland Culture Shock books
-trash bags
-ziploc bags
-We attempted to purchase some winter type clothes, but it is so difficult to do when cute summer clothes are in season. We did the best we could, but we still need shoes!

Luke about had a heart attack after each purchase. I just had to keep reminding him that it will be worth it in the long run. Let's hope we have no problems going through customs with our any large quantities items.


The Early Adventures of Our Reassignment

What a busy past few months it has been for Luke and me. Here is the break down:
-Beginning of January - We found out Luke would be placed in a new job at the end of March. It was exciting, but we had to begin researching all of the possible jobs. It was stressful (mostly for him) but I was able to increase my geography knowledge. Can't complain about that!
-End of March - Luke received a call saying he was being placed into a job in Aberdeen, Scotland. Yippee, we finally knew where we were moving. Not quite... He had not received the official offer, so we could not tell anyone. Hard to keep a secret.
-Beginning of April - we finally received the official offer for Luke's new position. Yippee, it's official and now we can tell everyone! Not quite... We have not received our Visas and medical clearance, so something could go wrong. Still hard to keep a secret!
-Throughout April and May - We receive email after email asking for multiple (and I mean multiple) things for us to do, verify, do again and verify again. Thank God there are two of us because I don't know if one person could manage.
-Mid-May - Our Visas have arrived and both of us are healthy enough to reside in the UK. Yippee, we can tell the whole wide world (aka facebook) that we will be expats to the United Kingdom! Not so fast... We must not inform the world because we still have jobs to do and the emotions of others to consider. Bummer, but it was for the best.
-June 2nd - Our house has been listed for sale... After scrubbing the floors, hand washing all light fixtures, cleaning the oven and refrigerator (Luke's lovely jobs) and cleaning out my closet for the second time this year. All of this took up my first few summer days... I thought summer was supposed to be relaxing! Luckily, on June 2, we got to relax on a family vacay to Destin, Florida. Much needed vacay!
-June 8 - Counteroffer on our home has been accepted! Hallelujah! We don't have to be SUPER neat freaks anymore.
-Mid-June - We have announced to the world (aka Facebook) that we are moving to Scotland. Huge weights lifted off of our shoulders. No more secrets to be kept! At the same time, our house inspection has been cleared. Yes!
-Which brings us to today, June 24 - We have spent the days sifting, sorting and organizing through all of our stuff (which feels like the tenth times we have done this since April). We have donated what seems like half of our house and MORE THAN HALF of our clothes and definitely my shoes.

We are stressed, tired, excited, anxious, confused, sad and happy all at the same time. We will make it - it is just a matter of when.


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