C O L O R A D O
Moving to another country is no small undertaking. But that should go without saying. The problem is. There's no tailor-made handbook. Every situation is different, so minor details will vary, but in a major move like this, minor details stack up quickly.
Luke and I have decided to leave some roots down in Colorado because we haven't ruled out the possibility of ending up back in the States somewhere down the road. However, it was really important to me that we have no such time limit on our time in England. I didn't want to ever tell myself "just make it through this year and you get to go home." I'm moving for the foreseeable future so I need to put roots down in England and set up a life there.
All that being said, that gave me a lot to do before I left. I had a lot of tasks to check off a to-do list like sort through my possessions and decide what to sell, what to keep in Colorado, and what to ship to England. Like sell my car, which I actually didn't do before I moved, so I had to sign over power of attorney to my mom so she could sell my car. Like cancel subscriptions, like get the information I'll need to set up a life over there. But then I also had a list of my favorite restaurants I wanted to visit "one last time", which also made for a great way to say goodbye to people.
I was very intentional when visiting some of my favorite places, eating some of my favorite foods, and spending time with some of my favorite people. I wanted to be present and soak everything in, savor every bite, and cling to every word.
There were moments, especially while I was distracted doing some mundane task like driving or showering, I would feel butterflies and realized how nervous I was. There were moments when I was angry. When I was sad. When I was excited. Luckily, Luke was supportive through all of it.
He flew out for my last week in Colorado. He pushed through jet lag to be there with me for a late night bonfire with friends the night he landed. He helped me pack and weighed and reweighed all of my bags until they were under weight. He distracted me from the move by watching House of Cards with me. He encouraged me to get out of the house and enjoy our final Colorado summertime afternoons instead of holing up in my room.
We had a going away party where we got to say goodbye to friends and family. My younger brother even took leave from the Army and flew out from Washington to surprise us! That was the perfect way to say goodbye to all the important people in my life because unfortunately there just isn't time to sit down with everyone one-on-one. Although I tried!
As far as moving goes, I packed a large suitcase and a carry on bag. Luke brought an empty checked bag to Colorado so I was able to fill that up as well. I previously took a checked bag full of winter clothes when I visited in April, so I already had some clothes in England. And I still had to leave some clothes behind despite how much I got rid of in May. I left about four boxes worth of stuff to be shipped once Luke and I have a permanent address, since we're subletting our first month or two in Birmingham. It'll be nice to have some familiar things around our house once we're settled into a longterm place.
We flew Southwest to LAX, which allows two free checked bags per passenger. That's right, TWO! We had no idea and thank goodness because when we got to LAX and checked in for our Thomas Cook flight, we discovered they only allow each passenger to carry on 6 kilos of luggage, so we had to pay $80 per bag to check our little carry ons. They only accepted cash and I left my debit card in Colorado since I can't use it without fees in England, so Luke had to rush to find an ATM and get enough cash out. They were horrible at the desk. Not at all helpful and so rude. They only gave us information when we explicitly asked, so at first we were just told we couldn't bring all our luggage and offered no other options. We will absolutely never fly with Thomas Cook Airlines again considering the plane was an hour late and the worst transatlantic flight either of us had ever had. (Uncomfortable seats, dirty blankets, charged for water, extremely limited entertainment options.) Thank goodness we had season 5 of House of Cards downloaded on Luke's phone to keep us occupied until we were able to get a little sleep.