I hope this isn’t too boring for you guys. I mostly wanted a record for myself to document this huge transition in our lives.
I actually want to start with days -1 and 0, which were crazy-hectic. We had movers coming on Tuesday (day 0), so Monday was a frantic, last-minute scramble to pack the remainder of our stuff, mostly random shit that hadn’t been packed in more organized boxes.
I did make a point to stop by our clinic that day, though. I still had a balance to pay that I didn’t think Medicaid would ever get around to covering, and I had a few leftover meds that I wanted to donate. I was nervous going in, mostly because I knew how I would have felt seeing a 3rd trimester pregnant lady walk into that waiting room. I had waited until the end of the day and–much to my relief–the waiting room was empty.
But so was the rest of the office. I saw a couple of people I knew but none of the nurses that we’d worked so closely with, and not Dr. C, either. I was torn between feeling disappointed and relieved because I hadn’t even had a shower that day and was a total mess from packing and cleaning. I also saw some new faces, which just made me realize how long it had been since the last time I set foot inside those walls. The whole thing was kind of a weird experience, and I knew I wouldn’t have another chance to show off my belly or baby anytime soon.
On Tuesday the movers came. It was a whirlwind of a day, but they were able to load all of our stuff and hit the road by shortly after noon. I was already exhausted by then, having spent the whole time finishing up last-minute packing and labeling of boxes. We took a break for lunch but then spent the rest of the day cleaning every surface of the house. Poor Hubby got stuck with the majority of the work, but I did probably more than I should have, and I was achy and tired by the end of the day. We didn’t leave town that night, as we had originally planned, if for no other reason than the symbolism (at one point, Hubby had suggested we aim to get an hour outside the city before stopping for the night). Instead, we found a motel and tried our best to get some sleep.
The drive to Canada was ultimately fine, but not entirely uneventful. We both woke up on Wednesday morning with sore muscles, but we had to suck it up and get on the road. As we headed east, we reminisced and reminded ourselves that this would be the last time we’d see certain landmarks (including the giant cross we’d passed so many times before) for a long while.
We made pretty good progress, considering how many times we had to stop so I could pee or eat or both, but by the time we reached the motel that night, the wind had picked up considerably. And it continued into the following day. We drove most of the day Thursday (day 2) through strong winds that occasionally threatened to throw our little car right off the interstate.
Somewhere in Missouri, the check engine light came on. We’d been having issues with the car for some time, but no one seemed to be able to pinpoint the problem. We were repeatedly told that because the check engine light hadn’t illuminated, they couldn’t run the codes to figure out the source of the trouble. We had already decided to spend the night in St. Louis, and when the light was still there in the morning, we took it to a mechanic to have it checked out.
We spent two hours in the waiting area while they tinkered with and test drove the car, but no one could “replicate the problem,” which I’ve heard I don’t know how many times since November. We were assured that the car would be fine, even if the light came back on, at least as far as Montreal.
Despite the late start that day, we were able to make it to just outside Detroit, where we would cross the border the following morning. And, of course, the check engine light came back on somewhere in Indiana. Saturday we woke up to yet another beautiful day, though there was snow and ice leftover from previous storms everywhere. We were firmly in the land of constant winter. (A week before, it was 70 degrees and sunny at our house.) But the roads were clear, and we were just a few exits from THE BIG ONE, the one that would take us to our new (temporary) home country.
Crossing the border was relatively easy, partly because we had all of our paperwork in order, which expedited the process and partly because it was a Saturday. At this point, my status is that I’m allowed to be in the country for as long as Hubby is, but I’m not allowed to work or go to school while I’m here. We may end up applying for an open work permit for me, sometime down the road, but for now, I’m content to stay home with Thumper.
From the border, we had about a two-hour drive to visit with Hubby’s advisor and his wife. They fed us lunch and let us release the cats in their downstairs bathroom. We had a good chat about all things Canada. They had even lived in Montreal for a few years, so they offered some pointers to help us out. We would have liked to stay in their cozy house all afternoon, but we had to get back on the road.
We didn’t drive too much farther that day, just beyond Toronto, but we were thrilled and a little amazed to finally be in Canada. Even though we were seeing giant maple leaves everywhere, the whole idea of it was still a bit surreal. The cats had weathered the trip fairly well (with the exception of the night we spent in St. Louis, when they puked and shat all over the bathroom). Hubby was a champ and drove the entire way, hauling the heavy luggage in and out of the car at each new motel. He said his job was to get me and Thumper safely to Montreal (spoiler alert: he did).
But more on that in a later post.