Officially Brentered

Sometimes, it just takes a breakfast buffet with your own tiny pot of coffee to make things feel okay again.

A trunk, four suitcases and a pack-n-play: the most luggage I've ever traveled with in mu life. When we arrived at Gatwick and our driver saw us, he just backed away, shaking his head in horror, so that was a good start.
A trunk, four suitcases and a pack-n-play: the most luggage I’ve ever traveled with in my life. When we arrived at Gatwick and our driver saw us, he just backed away, shaking his head in horror, so that was a good start.

Yes, we’re officially in the UK. I know this because when I browse the internet, the ads and suggested links are turning British. Oh, and also when I look out a window I see England. Yes, the trip over here, and first day, were like tiny little hellscapes. Let me tell you why.

As previously reported, our friends Pete and Megan and their adorable puppy Lola graciously opened up our home to us until things got sorted. It was great to have some extra time with them, and the few extra days did buy us time to handle a few things outstanding – mainly, even after shedding or shipping probably 90% of our belongings, we somehow still had too much stuff.

Most of you probably haven’t gotten rid of most of your stuff to move overseas. I know I hadn’t. It is difficult, but not for the reasons you’d think. We actually didn’t find it hard to let go, for the most part. What I didn’t initially grasp is that inventorying every item we own is really just a series of thousands of tiny decisions. I don’t know about you, but I do not make every decision perfectly, the first time, and that’s what led to us overestimating the suitcase space we’d have and coming to Megan and Pete’s with way too much stuff. So once again, there was sorting and decision-making and repacking and despite our best efforts, we ended up leaving behind a small pile of things, for which I am about to issue an apology to Megan and Pete, but maybe Lola would enjoy some of Dexter’s toy balls.

Anyway, there was another round of resorting and repacking and once again, a last-minute panic of “WE DO NOT HAVE SPACE FOR THIS WHAT DO WE DO?” forcing us to just leave debris behind, like some sort of Garbage Hansel & Gretel.

Dex briefs us on the safety information before takeoff.
Dex briefs us on the safety information before takeoff.

(Also, our friend Crush, our ride to the airport, accidentally put Pete’s van keys into her purse, thinking they were hers. We spent, collectively, two hours of our packing/prep time searching for said keys. Needless to say, she will never live this down.)

Despite the setbacks, we make it to the airport on time Friday night. The TSA pulls an especially evil move, even for them, because right before we are about to go through the detectors, they redirect us (laden with a baby and naturally, too many bags), to another longer line. EVIL.

Still, we make it onto the plane. I’m pretty curious about the baby situation – Dex is flying as a lap child with a cot, and I’m wondering how this will play out. Imagine my horror when I discover that the cot is simple an oversized tray, like you’d find on any airplane, with straps. I’m imagining him tethered to this flat board when I’m informed the flight attendant will add either a bassinet with sides or a bouncy seat. Whew. We start with the bassinet and discover it’s too small – I force Dex inside, just for funsies, and he looks like the saw-a-lady-in-half magic trick where it’s actually two women crunched into either half of a box. So we settle for the bouncer-style, with his legs dangling over the edge.

Dex, blissfully asleep in his weird cot, a vision as rare as a unicorn sighting.
Dex, blissfully asleep in his weird cot, a vision as rare as a unicorn sighting.

At home, Dexter will only fall asleep if we put him in his room and close the door. He cries for a few seconds and then crashes out. This is not possible, on the plane, because they didn’t give us parachutes. It is quite an ordeal to get him to sleep, involving songs and head rubs and Matt and I making great shows of pretending to sleep, both of us knowing that for the first time, we have THAT BABY on the plane.

Finally, mercifully, he dozes.

And then five minutes later, he fills his diaper in a major and smelly way.

Matt changes him, which is also awful because Dexter’s terrified of the plane bathroom changing table, and clings to the person changing him like a koala bear. Have you ever tried to change a koala bear’s diaper? Finally, the sleep attempts start again. The process lasts a long, long time.

Attempt at a selfie, but Dexter would NOT stop "reading" the in flight magazine long enough to look up so I said "Screw it," and took the photo anyway.
Attempt at a selfie, but Dexter would NOT stop “reading” the in flight magazine long enough to look up so I said “Screw it,” and took the photo anyway.

I don’t know how much actual sleep Matt and I got on that overnight flight but it wasn’t much, which leads us to Saturday: Day of the Zombies.

The details are boring and frankly, I can’t remember most of them, but know that Matt and I stumble around our hotel all day Saturday, asking stupid questions and making bad decisions and just failing all over the UK. We’re so tired we can’t think straight – Matt used the straight up incorrect word for items no less than five times – and poor Dexter is melting down (three times, unheard of for him) because he has no idea what’s going on and his parents are acting like idiots and he’s probably exhausted, too. Despite both being hungry, we don’t eat lunch till 3:50 p.m. and keep finding ourselves in the gas station convenience stores looking for things like dish soap and milk. It’s a pathetic display.

I am including this photo for one and only one reason, and that is because it looks like both my husband and my baby are scoping out that flight attendant's butt.
I am including this photo for one and only one reason, and that is because it looks like both my husband and my baby are scoping out that flight attendant’s butt.

There was a point at the end of the day when I’m desperately searching for something I need for bed, in my suitcase (another fun side effect of repacking 19 times is you can’t remember where anything is, because you’ve moved it 19 times) and Dexter is beside me, energetically flinging items around faster than I can move them and I just lay my head down on my tangled noodle pile of clothing and silently cry.

But things are better now.

  1. We all got 8-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I cannot articulate how much that helps.
  2. We ate at a breakfast buffet at a hotel. I know this is a weird thing to pinpoint but I only asked ONE dumb question throughout the entire breakfast and it was the first time I felt normal and semi-like myself since we’ve arrived.
  3. That breakfast included a cup of coffee. GAME CHANGER.

And Matt just arrived back from picking up our rental car. This is how Matt and I prefer to travel, and possibly the most American thing about us (besides our accents and Costco memberships and who am I kidding, every single thing else) – we like to get a new city, get into our very own car, and explore.

Blessed, blessed breakfast buffet, the place where I finally felt human again.
Blessed, blessed breakfast buffet, the place where I finally felt human again.

So, that’s the agenda today, along with Matt taking Dexter to wander the gardens for a bit (it really is a beautiful hotel, where we’re staying) while I reorganize the room YET AGAIN, but since we’re here for 2 weeks, I’m telling myself it’s totally worth it to settle in. We’re going to stalk some of our favorite flats we’re hoping to view this week (everything’s closed Sunday), check out the town center, near where Matt’s new studio is located, and try to find Pound Town. Yep, one of the British chains of dollar stores is called Pound Town. When I told Matt about it, he refused to believe it then giggled for a good two minutes.

See? I told you things are feeling back to normal.

 

 

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14 Comments

  1. OK I guess you really did move….I just thought it was a plot to get a break from all of us …… already miss you guys but you have to keep up with your blog so we can watch Dex grow.

  2. I just love reading all your posts. Thanks for taking the time to share your fabulous stories! I’m very excited for your guys and your new adventureโ™ก

  3. Oh Jamie, you are a wonderful writer. Glad you’re safely in London. What adventures you will experience! I will enjoy your posts.

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