The last week of preparing to leave was definitely emotionally taxing. Probably one of the most difficult mixture of emotions between excitement towards an adventure that has been on my heart for a long time and the sadness of leaving friends and family behind.
I temporarily left the best work family I’ve ever had. Beautiful people, who have continually encouraged and spoiled me. I think that nurses in general are great people to work with but my homecare family is especially wonderful because of the kind hearted people who work there but also because it’s been the longest place that I’ve ever worked and we've shared many moments of joy and celebrations and sorrows together! Lots of hugs and tears were shared that day!
(They even gave me a Nautical themed going away!)
Tuesday night I couldn’t sleep and thoughts flooded my mind about whether we were truly crazy and doing the wrong thing and torturing both our parents and children…and when I told a coworker these thoughts, she reassured me that this was not the case!
I thought that completely clearing out our home would be easy and that we wouldn’t be able to fill up the semi trailer with all of our stuff but it turns out that I was wrong. We completely filled up that semi trailer and every time I turned around there was another item that needed to be packed. We had already spent the past year getting rid of stuff, but I guess 13 years of living in one home really helps you to accumulate STUFF!
For our 2 year adventure, we are only able to take 2 large collapsible duffle bags each and one carry-on worth of essentials that we would need for the next year.
We cleaned and cleaned our home!
We said goodbye to our beloved parents/grandparents!
(my phone started acting wonky the day before we left hence the blurry picture. It continues to ask for daily updates and the wifi wouldn't work initially).
Then we left our home of 13 years…
We got to the hotel by the airport and spent a wonderful night in a nice hotel where the boys could go swimming.
Getting to Texas was quite the ordeal.
We left the hotel early the next morning at 5:30am and got to the airport on the shuttle bus with plenty of time to get checked in
For some reason the self check in for international flights was not working so a big line up ensued. It seemed that there were a lot of people on their way to Hawaii. The line up to get our boarding passes and check our bags took almost an hour! I am not a frequent traveler but I have never experienced this before especially at the Edmonton International Airport.
Even though the line up was long, I was so impressed with the WestJet staff, they were so kind and patient to 99% of the customers. I was so impressed with the other travelers as well. They were also kind and patient with the staff and allowed other flyers ahead of them in the line-up so that they wouldn’t miss their flight
Finally when it was our turn to get our boarding passes, the WestJet employee almost didn’t permit the COVID swab test results that we provided because we didn’t have an official printed out copy of an official travel COVID swab document. We had packed up our printer and had not printed out the results so it was just on my phone on the Alberta MyHealthrecords app/alberta digital ID. The WestJet employee also said that the digital record didn’t specify which company processed the swab and whether it was a nasal or throat swab and what type of test it was, whether it was a NAAT or PCR or Rapid test?
I panicked a little bit...ok a lot. I tried to find alternative ways to explain and show her that this an Alberta Health Services result and all their COVID swabs are processed through Dynalife and that it did indeed show what type of swab it was. I think it was just a case of a non-healthcare worker not knowing what they were looking for.
I was praying pretty hard at this point in time!
Luckily the wonderful manager came by and deemed our COVID test results acceptable! Prayer answered!
We barely made it to the gate and got a quick breakfast before we had to board our plane!
Finally we were on the plane and it felt so surreal! All the work leading up to this point in time was incredibly tiring but definitely worth it!
And for those wondering, I made it through the Nasal swab without having a panic attack. All throughout COVID I did not have to get a COVID swab and I am terrified of throat swabs and I'm sure people are tired of hearing me talk about how scared I am.
However I couldn’t completely relax until I knew for sure that we would make it through the US customs with our COVID swab results and wouldn’t you know it, they hardly glanced at our results. There was lots more praying leading up to this point!
Another prayer answered!
We took the long way to get to Dallas because there were no direct from Calgary to Dallas flights available through our credit card points. We flew from Edmonton to Vancouver to L.A to Dallas.
We were almost there. We looked up our hotel reservation (more credit card points through a different credit card) for Dallas online and it showed that it our reservation was not found. What the heck! More praying!
We arrived at the hotel at midnight and hoped for the best.
Luckily the night clerk at the hotel was also very pleasant and found our reservation with no problem. However, it was not the correct one but luckily she was able to change it on the computer instead of insisting that we phone the CIBC rewards booking company to change it on their end. (Sidenote: this was my first time booking a hotel through credit card reward points).
Finally we arrived in our beautiful hotel room but then we couldn't find our toothbrushes. This was THE tipping point for me where I lost my mind a bit!
I was very tired! and I desperately NEEDED to brush my teeth.
Luckily the hotel employee was a very sweet lady and provided some toothbrushes and toothpaste for us. We found our toothbrushes at the bottom of one of our suitcases when we finally unpacked the next day.
I thought that our journey to Texas was long and stressful but upon hearing how the Australians had difficulty leaving their country and the Dutch had to go to Aruba for two weeks first before entering the US, I’m reconsidering the words difficult and stressful.
We have now been in Lindale, Texas for a couple days at the Mercy Ships ISC (International Support Centre) which is a beautiful property of 430 acres of rolling hills, ponds and tall trees. We are only here for one month but I'm definitely going to enjoy our time on this beautiful campus learning about living in community. I have already found a running group to join on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and the workout room is well equipped!