First there’s the cost. (It definitely would have been cheaper to just take a holiday in the sun.) Then there’s the slightly messier problem of the length of time it takes. The furniture was meant to take four to six weeks to make the journey. It took eight! Two months. To make things slightly easier we were renting out our Dublin home fully furnished so I wasn’t actually taking a full house of furniture to the States. I shudder to think what that would have cost – far more than the cost of most of the furniture. I just wanted a few sentimental pieces, all my pictures, naturally all our clothes and most of what was in the kitchen. If you do decide to move from Europe to the US, don’t bother taking anything electrical. The different type of plugs is the bane of my life. The girls are constantly looking for adaptors to use hairdryers and stereos from home. Just leave them in Europe and buy new ones out here – trust me.
So on the plane each child had a case full of their summer clothes – which would have to last them EIGHT weeks. They also each had an inflatable camping bed because the house we were coming to was UNFURNISHED. We tried hard to rent a furnished one but the Americans don’t seem to do that. For this reason a week before we flew, I went on line and bought six beds from a shop I had never seen, in a city suburb I had never been to. What choice did I have? They even had a delivery roster posted on their web site so I pencilled us in for the morning after we arrived. That meant we would have one night with no beds. We would sell it to the kids as an err - camping adventure.
We did have a terrific cousin who lived near by and offered to put all of us up but he has two cats and I didn’t think they would appreciate a jet lagged golden retriever using their kitty litter.
My cousin did do us a huge favour on the day of our arrival, though. He and his wife met us at the airport. By then we were pretty shattered and the dog was really at the end of his tether. We were very happy to load up their two cars and our long term rental with our motley crew and head for our new home.
The first inkling I got that I was in a not at home was when my husband phoned the estate agent. We were over an hour late and she was to meet us at the house to hand over the keys and show us how some of the appliances worked. Although my husband was stressed about it, she didn’t seem bothered. She explained that she would just leave the back door unlocked and put all the house keys in the top drawer nearest the sink. The idea of leaving a house unlocked was utterly alien to us.
“If you leave the alarm off, surely it could be robbed before we get there,” he suggested.
“What alarm?” she asked.