I know all of our loyal readers out there may have been wondering aboutus… no travels since January in Ireland? Odd. Well, we moved! I think moving to new countries and faraway places is kind of like childbirth, you don’t remember how hard it is so eventually you want to do it again. It was sad, happy, scary and tiring all in one. We can now call this blog K-town to K-town because we are now residing in Kaneohe, Hawaii – aka K-Town to the locals. I’ll start at the beginning, January 31, 2017. I’ve blocked out some of the hardest parts in my mind so I’ll give you the abbreviated version that won’t scare the kids.
In truth, the story starts January 23, 2017 when the Federal Government Hiring Freeze was signed. This Executive Order changed our lives forever. We knew we had to leave Germany within a year and a half because of what is called the “5 year rule” for overseas civilians. You can only stay employed overseas for the federal government a maximum of 5 years and then you must return to the US. Because of this rule we had both been actively looking for jobs in Hawaii as we had decided that was where we wanted to land in late 2017 or 2018. Jeff had a tentative offer for a job and we planned to move in April or May timeframe. However, once the hiring freeze was enacted we found out on January 31st that we need to go now or risk potentially not going… well we said yes, let’s do it. The anxiety of not knowing when/if the freeze would end was terrifying and we needed to go rather the risk our future plans and possibly end up back in DC (no offense to DC but it’s not where we want to raise our girls). That said, we had 21 days to depart Germany and land in Hawaii – with our household goods being shipped, car shipped, van sold, utilities turned off and a plethora of other items that I can’t even recall now because I’ve blocked them out.
One of the most challenging items was that I had shipped a crate of stuff from our storage unit in DC when we were there in December to our house in Germany so that we would have all of our stuff together to move to Hawaii… in the Spring. The crate was due in at the beginning of March… and we had to have everything shipped by February 18th. The math was not looking good. I called and begged the shipping company and came just short of renting a semi to drive to the port in The Netherlands to get the stuff, but it arrived. On the last possible day. It was a modern miracle and proves that European bureaucracy can be overcome if you put your mind to it (and cry and beg and demand).
Leaving Germany was so hard, our friends, house, neighbors, jobs, the girl’s school – it was all hard. Our 4 year old did not take it well at first and we all cried (to put it mildly) at the Frankfurt airport that last morning. She still asks to go back and we tell her that we will, and I do believe we will. Travel is a part of our family and moving around the world seems to be too, but for now we are settled… at least until the girls are in high school and they can pack and carry their own stuff! Everything happened so fast it is a miracle we ended up with everything we needed and arrived safely.
Upon arrival in Hawaii, after a short stop in Maryland, we have had wonderful luck – we both have great new jobs, the girls have a wonderful new school and the best part is we found a perfect house and are all moved in (and it has a pool!). The final traumatic event was shortly after we landed in Hawaii and were getting our new US cell phones. Jeff got an email that our VW was on a ship that was involved in an “incident” off the coast of the UK. Well, we signed our new phone contracts and I quickly used said new phone to Google “ship incident off UK” and of course… the ship had caught on fire and many cars were damaged. Awesome. It’s not an expensive car, but it’s one we like and the thought of buying a second new car was exhausting. It did arrive a couple of months later though and is just fine; doesn’t even smell of smoke. I do wish he could tell us about his journey though. I should note that this was after we were notified we had been flagged for possible money laundering when the money we received for the sale of my van in Germany was wired to our account. I mean seriously, it’s like the Sunscreen song – there is no sense in worrying because “The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindsides you at four P.M. On some idle Tuesday”. I was pretty much worried about everything with this move except an accusation of money laundering. But we can laugh about it now!
We have adjusted well to life in Hawaii. We wear “slippers” aka flip flops pretty much all the time and enjoy time outside. There is not really any air conditioning in a lot of places (similar to Germany), including our house, but the trade winds more than make up for that and we just love being warm all the time now. The food here is amazing, Jeff loves all the seafood options especially. I thought I hated rice for 36 years but nope, turns out I hate bad rice… good rice is delicious! I also ate a cheeseburger pretty much every day for a week or two when we got here; Europeans just don’t know how to make a good burger like Americans do! We are planning some trips to Asia and the South Pacific in the coming years as it’s a continent we have not explored as a family and we are all excited to.
We are off to Maui soon so our travel blogs will continue, but if anyone needs any tips on moving around the world with small children feel free to ask. My first tip is this however, don’t do it with only two and a half weeks to prepare.