As you may have read from my last post New Year, New Move for The Daddy Diaries, myself, my American wife and my dual citizen daughter have been getting ready to relocate abroad to Houston in Texas. We chose to do this as we needed to have a better support network for Lily and ourselves (more babysitters etc), our money would go further over here, and we would have a better quality of life in terms of work opportunities, creative opportunities and being able to get onto the property ladder in terms of ownership. Also, my in laws need us around as they are reaching their mid-70s and need that peace of mind of having all of their family around to help and support them.
Now, my wife and I (especially my wife as she deserves way more credit than ever) have been planning and organising this move for approximately four months from finding out I had obtained the visa, to closing things out on the UK side, moving house, living in a hotel, packing all of our suitcases, visiting friends, holding and organising my daughter’s birthday/farewell party and everything else in between. I’ve had to tell people why I didn’t want to have a leaving do (I didn’t have the money, mindspace, happiness to have one and I’m not a fan of hiding my disappointment when finding out the people I want to come don’t turn up – I’m not a big fan of parties for myself, I’m about that disappointment and rejection – I acted for years, I don’t need to experience it again if I can avoid it myself). But big shoutout to my creative friend Gabrielle Smith for wanting to go out of her way and offering to hold one for me and taking the stress off my head – even though it didn’t work out because of the conditions of this party (and my stubbornness).
As you can imagine, just all of this alone took a toll on my daughter. She saw suitcases being packed away with her toys – toys she couldn’t play with until we got to America. She saw a lot more of her toys, books, DVDs and her cotbed sold and donated right in front of her eyes. She had to keep saying final goodbyes to all of her friends and my friends who she knew as aunts and uncles. She didn’t have any playmates and became increasingly bored because she was just watching TV and watching Mum and Dad constantly work busily and pack. There were no toys for her to play with. Any kids and friends that came around – she had to say goodbye to. It was emotional and a lot for her to take on and comprehend. It was a lot!
And then the relocation day came…
We got up early to repack our suitcases as people had given us too many gifts and excess bulky materials to include in our already full luggage. Luckily, we had booked our cabs to come to pick us up at a reasonable time so that we could get to the airport in time. Also, we had some amazing help from my friends Silas Baiden, Arteh Odjidja, and Mo Adewale, who took time out of their schedule to help me and my family out with repacking, redistributing weight, and weighing all the suitcases to make sure everything is okay. Without great friends and each other, this move would’ve been so hard to deal with. Relocating is not for the fainthearted.
Our cabs got us to the airport safely. Silas helped us with taking the luggage to security. We got on our flight safely and our ten hour flight was very smooth with a hard aggressive landing but we were safe in Houston. However for the last two hours of the flight, Lily couldn’t keep her food down due to motion sickness and an unforeseeable viral infection we knew nothing about. Several vomiting cleanups and clothes changes later, we were off the flight and at customs. After being seen by two different sets of people, I was given my stamp of approval and my Green Card entry as a Lawful Permanent Resident into America (my physical green card will arrive in 3-6 months).
Once we were dropped off to our home by my brothers in law in their big truck (it was needed with all the luggage we had), we went home and tried to get some rest. However, my little Lily was still vomiting and having gag reflexes. Myself and my wife were dealing with major jetlag. During the first few days, Lily took a turn for the worse with diarrhea, tummyache, dehydration, the viral infection, motion sickness and jetlag creeping in coupled with dealing with time/culture changes and seeing all new people she wasn’t used to chilling out with. Plus, although she had her own room – it wasn’t set up and pimped up for her liking with her familiar toys, clothes etc that she is used to. Lily was a shadow of herself. She was so quiet and not talkative or sociable at all. Didn’t laugh and was very very clingy to her mother. This was nothing like her. It was a very worrying and stressful time for myself and my wife, and a very weird feeling for her grandparents to see who just wanted her to be okay and settled in.
I thought the relocation was bad but seeing my daughter like that was excruciating. I couldn’t really sleep soundly, I was worried and stressed and some nights, I cried quietly. It was harder because at times in this new country, I felt guilty and alone. I felt like I put my daughter at risk by bringing her to a different country. Things got worse and the medicines we were giving to Lily weren’t working. It was time to go to the children’s hospital. Considering that we were uninsured and didn’t have time to get insurance yet, it was something we didn’t want to do but it had to be done. The doctors confirmed that Lily had a viral infection along with dehydration. Some antibiotics and a shot later along with monitoring her condition and making sure she passed urine, and she was good to go. My worry calmed down and a couple of days afterwards, and my daughter had fully recovered and had got back to her old self – laughing, smiling, being sociable, getting accustomed to her new space and new family. She even added some diva princess attitude too! A new thing to deal with! This three year old is something else!
We did up her new bedroom and she had her American birthday party and was given lots of fun gifts and clothes by her aunts and her godmother to make up for the toys we had to give away in London. She has settled in and is enjoying life and her new princess bedroom with all her new toys. My mind is at ease and is in a happier place because my daughter is okay now. Now, we can all settle in. I suppose once we get fully settled into life over here in Houston, then maybe I may have to talk to my wife about giving my daughter a playmate…
Wish us luck now in unpacking all of our suitcases and feeling at home in these warmer climates (the weather is beautiful)… *puts sunglasses on*