I won't do a full blow by blow for every waking minute over the last 5 nights but I will give you a basic breakdown of how each day went. Wednesday 20th July 2016 After getting picked up at the airport by my folks and getting some of my first Aussie food for lunch in several years we had a nice afternoon stroll in the sun down to the shops. Heidi was getting her first experiences of Australian life and just how different things can be. We had a very calm evening and tried to just stay awake and that did not last long. We wanted to go to bed around a normal time, however by 7:45pm Heidi was passed out. I didn't make it much longer as I was out by 8pm. Thursday 21st July 2016 Hello Jetlag! Up at 3am and all over the shop before finally getting myself out of bed around 5am and catching up on emails and trip report stuff. After 6am I went for a run to see the sunrise and slowly but surely got myself going back to normal. We headed to the city around a reasonable time and Heidi's first adventure on Brisbane public transport went off well. We did some walking through the city and caught up with some old work mates at my old work place. We walked around the city a lot and had some old favorites for lunch. So much had changed but so much was so familiar. We picked up our car (upgraded to a Holden Commodore SV6) and had a stop at Charlie's Fruit Market (now open 24 hours a day!) for a treat at their "Raw Squeeze" bar. Pretty decent! We had a bit of a rest before heading into DFO for a stop at the Crumpler Outlet (Heidi bought, I didn't... for once) and then dinner on Racecourse Rd. Heidi had her first experience at Australian style pizza (she was mortified at how many toppings were ok on a pizza) and we picked up Heidi's folks at the airport before heading home to sleep. Friday 22nd July 2016 This morning we wanted to head out super early to Mt Cootha for a session with my old trainer. He really punished me this morning and I could tell it was not going to be an easy day. We got home and pretty much turned straight back around again after a quick bite and headed north to Australia Zoo. The day was spent exploring Australia Zoo and I had fun chasing Kangaroos around trying to get a selfie, while Heidi was super happy to just be sitting around with them and patting them. We had a Koala experience and got our photos taken while holding a big guy. He stank pretty bad! We finished off the afternoon back at Charlie's for a snack before the bedlam of an evening dinner with 13 family in the house. Mum and Dad worked tirelessly to feed us Roast Lamb (god I miss it) and it was amazing! Saturday 23rd July 2016 Woke up feeling like hell. My body hated me so much that the run I wanted to do down by the river turned into a walk instead. Today was the big day as we were having a cruise along the river with all of the family. We ran a few errands before we headed down to the cruise. There was 30 of my family onboard and everyone had a blast cruising down the river, having lunch and also meeting everyone else and catching up. There was family I had not seen since I was younger and some for several years. It was a great time. Had a few more hours to explore Brisbane and do some shopping before heading to dinner by the river with a group of friends. Finished the night wishing I didn't have to say goodbye to my friends. Sunday 24th July 2016 Woke up not so bad this morning, but today was designated rest day, so all good here! Headed to the airport to send off Heidi's parents off on their Australian adventure and then we hit up the confectionary warehouse for some goodies. Caught up with a friend for a bit of morning tea and then off to see if we could get in Costco (we could). We had lunch by the bay in Redcliffe (yay Fish and Chips at Morgans) and then a bit of a walk as well so Heidi could stick her feet in the water. A fairly relaxed/busy afternoon getting stuff ready for our departure tomorrow before one last final catch up with some friends. The time spent in Australia was amazing and I am so glad we came down. Heidi has had a blast and it has been fantastic catching up with friends and family. A lot of stuff has been talked about, but that is a whole other post on its own. Current Location: Parents House - Brisbane, Australia - Countries Visited: 2
Wednesday 20th July 2016 We pulled into the gate and were off the plane relatively slowly but once we were off it was bedlam. A full A380 full of passengers along with also other flights that had hit the ground. It was a mess! The lines were stretching back past the duty free store into the terminal itself which was scary. I had to make a quick stop at the duty free store to pick up some stuff for mum and dad (that was a mistake, hello dealing with a US card) and then it was on my way to the line. I had pushed Heidi to go on ahead after I got held up in duty free and we were separated. I got stuck behind several flights worth of crew in the express path. When we landed we had 1 hour till our flight boarded so less than an hour to make that baggage cut off. Well, that was not going to be easy at all. By the time we got through immigration to the baggage belts (Border Security was being filmed apparently, didn’t see them anywhere) we had about 30 minutes to make that cut off. This was doable if our bags came out quickly. What do you think happened? Our bags were the last two off the plane, and it was past boarding time by that stage. So we made it through Customs super quickly and the staff told us where to go for connections. We made it up to the Qantas Domestic terminal and a staff member pointed us towards the Service desk to get rebooked. Thankfully i knew already the 1010am flight had space (thanks to Cranky Concierge) and it should be easy for them to fix that up. We reconsolidated a bit of baggage and went to security which was its true, Australian amazingness. Not a single person ahead of us at security and friendly people who wanted to help. It was effortless! We got through and headed up to the Qantas Club where we were able to get a snack and a drink (although all the coffee machines seemed to be broken… what the hell!) and we were able to call home and let them know of the new arrival time (just an hour later). Everything was able to calm back down. Unfortunately not enough time for a shower today or even a change really, just enough time to clean my teeth and feel somewhat better. The QF Club had great views of the ramp and of our gate in particular. What was fantastic was that we were able to watch our plane pull in. Not just any plane, it was one of Qantas’s two Retro Liveries. I was hoping to get to see one while I was here, but flying one was a double treat. A lot of people were at the window taking photos when it rolled in and I was super excited. We started to head towards the gate not long after that which took about 5 minutes or so. Qantas Airways - QF612 Melbourne Tullamarine to Brisbane 1010-1220 Boeing 737-800 (VH-VXQ - Retro Roo II) Economy Class - Seat 18A Boarding: 0956 (Gate B22) Push Back: 1006 Take off Roll: 1028 (Runway 16) Top of Descent: 1150 Touch Down: 1213 (Runway 01) Shut Down: 1217 (Gate 24) I had barely been at the gate to take a few more photos when 2 old ladies were pre boarded and then seconds later a very informal “come on in guys” to the line of people waiting happened. There was a good 10 people onboard before they made an announcement. I had totally forgotten just how pleasant flying could be. As we stepped onboard there was the traditional wall plaque of the Qantas logo, but this one was the retro logo, which gave it the old “Flying Kangaroo” name as it was a Kangaroo with wings. Couldn’t get a photo at the time but I was determined to do so later. We got ourselves sorted in the seats and boarding was set for about 25 minutes, so way less than in the USA and although the flight wasn’t 100% full today, It still pushed back 6 minutes early. Take that Alaska! This was the first flight on this trip so far where we had been on time. Crazy! The push back took a few minutes and then it was off to the runway where we were number 3 for line up. But that number 3 had to wait for a number of arrivals first. By the time we lined up there was another 6 or 7 planes waiting to go after us. We were up and into the air pretty easily and within a minute or two the seat belt sign went off. Service started quickly and they had everyone covered with headphones and also with newspapers. After that it was a good 10 or 15 minutes (on a 1 hour 45 minute flight) till they had the snack trolleys out. Only one pass through of the drink trolley today (I made sure to get coffee to keep me going through the day) and some snacks. No real choice it was both Savory and Sweet snacks today and i traded my savory for heidi’s sweet. Good Luken and May cookies on offer this morning of which I only had half and kept the other half for later. I was watching TV shows on the tablet for most of the flight and just relaxing looking out the window. I did manage to get up and take a photo of the Retro Roo logo by the front door (I made sure to ask about going forward into the Business Class cabin which would have been required in the states but the Qantas crew just laughed and said not to worry). Even though this aircraft didn’t have the BSI it had the newer QF seats and even a space lav fitted. That was a first time experience for me and it was quite the difference involved. We started descent over the Gold Coast Hinterland and unfortunately I was on the wrong side so didn’t see any of the coast but I did get to see plenty of the city as we came in over it. It looked so different and just so built up now in comparison. Everything seemed so different. I was shocked. Heidi had fun poking fun at me as I was shocked at how different everything seemed. We landed on Runway 01 and had a nice quick taxi to the gate. Everything at the airport looked familiar from the airside portion of things, but once we got to the terminal, it all ended there. I got off the plane into what seemed like a whole new airport (although to be honest I wasn’t flying Qantas much in those last few years) and met up with Mum and Dad. First time in almost 3.5 years. It was good to be home.
Monday 18th July 2016 We dropped off the rental car at the National depot and got ourselves onto a shuttle over to the airport. This time I unfortunately got stuck waiting for a fresh shuttle to fill up. I had made sure that we had extra time today as we had to go check in to get boarding passes. We headed over to the Bradley Terminal to check it out. The last time I was there was way back in 1994 and back then it was a dump. Now it looks amazing! Check in was a breeze and we had our boarding passes and instructions on getting to the lounge (though they were not as easy as they really should have been). Security meant the full show today unfortunately as there is no Pre Check in that terminal as it is mainly International Airlines. We got ourselves into a relatively short line and had to spend forever waiting as our bags had already gone through the scanner. Thankfully joking with the TSA agent got me to the front of the line through the WTMD rather than the nudoscope. On the other side we headed off to the lounge and it was a rather large place. Took a minute or two to check in but they let us loose into this giant canvernous area. They had plenty of different spaces but my priority was power. I wanted to make sure that I got my phone charged up and I could do some stuff on my laptop. Sadly it was at this moment I lost my shit. No seriously I had lost my shit. I could not find any of my charging stuff at all. This wa NOT good. I checked through all my bags and tracked it back and it must have come out while in the rental car. Dammit! I was on the phone frantically trying to track down all the stuff, but National was making things difficult. I eventually got through to the LAX desk and the bad news came out. The Lost and Found team were done for the day. So much for getting my stuff back! Even if they did have it, no way was I getting it today. Time to go and try and replace them! I knew I had some chargers back home in Australia, but the cable for my phone was the essential item. I wasn’t sure if I had one at all anywhere else. The one store with the cable I wanted had them for $30 as they only had the official Apple version. Considering I paid $2 for mine, wasn’t going to happen. Heidi had a cable of mine so we were covered there thankfully! I checked with the lounge staff and they confirmed that there was a USB charger at every seat and a universal power adaptor as well. Problem solved!! I could deal with it in Australia (since I had other chargers waiting for me at home in Seattle as well). I took the time in the evening to use the one real charging area of the lounge, write some trip report and relax as best I could. Airline cutlery may have made it into my bag, or it may not have 😉 The food was pretty decent and it was changing up most of the night. It became extremely packed in the lounge though and we started to head out to the lounge with about 20 minutes to go. I wanted to get onboard fairly shortly after it started. Qantas Airways - QF94 Los Angeles to Melbourne Tullamarine 2215-0700 Airbus A380 (VH-OQL) Economy Class - Seat 36K Boarding: 2132 (Gate: 156) Push Back: 2257 Take Off Roll: 2339 (Runway 25L) Top of Descent: 0708 Touch Down: 0738 (Runway 16) Shut Down: 0745 (Gate D9) Boarding was called and I had checked beforehand as to how we board since we were not on the main Economy deck. We had 2 seats in the 5 rows of seats on the upper deck. So we were wayyyyy down the back, but better than the same on the lower deck to be honest. We got onboard and had to walk all the way through Business and Premium Economy. The small cabin at the back was pretty good. We had 2 seats in the very last row and they were right in front of the Galley side. We didn’t have to deal with the rest room side. Once we got settled in to our seats (thankfully the window has the side storage bins on the upper deck… woooooo) it was time to wait. I was fending off snuggly wife every few minutes so I had my hands full. We waited quite a while. Departure time came and went and thanks to the Skycam I could tell when the boarding doors were still open. We had a wierd guy up the back sitting just about anywhere he could in the hopes someone didn’t show up. Suck it up moron and take your seat! We eventually pushed back almost 45 minutes late and at that point we had been onboard like an hour and a half. Ugh… so not going to be a good connection in Melbourne. Life was going to be rough. The crew up the back were pretty good, after a small grill about my batteries (stupid lithium battery problems these days) they were really friendly to everyone. We even got a pre departure beverage which was really nice as they had to many poured from Premium. Being upstairs has its benefits! Took a while to push and get started up. Taxiing at LAX is all over the shop these days. We headed to the east, to go back west. Down the far side taxiway for some reason. Ugh… confusion. We finally got our turn to take off and it was a long slow climb away from the USA, out over the pacific. The seat belt sign went off at a non us airline point so we were able to really get ourselves settled before things got too out of hand. The meals were being heated up so the cabin started smelling of deliciousness. One downside to our seat was the fact that we were the last ones to be served, so there may not have been much choice. But they had all options and the best part. They had Premium Econ leftovers, which are a larger portion. Qantas has stopped giving the whole tray style main meal thing and it is really more a plate with the meal placed on top of it. Apparently makes it quicker and easier to clean. It is also less food, which is good when it is almost 1am. This meal should be more a snack than a full meal. Food was good, giving my wife her first real drink of Bundy though, that was priceless. The crew were not light on the pouring either, very generous tonight! Once the meal had been served and cleaned, I had been starting to drift off. So I did my best to get some form of rest. Next thing I know almost 2-3 hours had passed! That was probably about as good as it would get and Heidi had just woken up, so we swapped seats as I was pretty sure my sleeping was done. I tried for a little while longer and failed, so I decided to just run with it. Coffee and snack time!! Spent the rest of the time finishing off the movie I had started and then writing. Interspersing the time with walks and chats really helped me out! It wasn’t an easy flight, but it had it’s moments. I was happy to be on the flight and once I got this flight over and done with, all the rest of the long haul would be much, much easier! After a little while longer I had been watching another movie and again halfway through it, fell asleep. Nothing but consistent apparently! But the flight continued on. I went for some real coffee at one point while Heidi was awake and I was even given it from a real china cup! Nothing but amazing service from the crew today. I was very impressed! Within a few hours of landing there was smells filling the cabin and that meant one thing. Fooooooooood. Breakfast was either a hot breakfast of the usual styles (eggs etc) or a fruit platter. Heidi went with the eggs, I went with the fruit. Both looked good and Heidi scored a premium economy version again! A couple of coffees later I was finished watching TV and we were approaching Australian shores. We crossed the coast just south of Sydney, thought we couldn’t see anything due to cloud. We were definitely going to be late so that was going to eat into that connection time. It was all going to come down to how long we spend in immigration and waiting for a bag. We came in from the north of Melbourne so there was no real views, only of the surrounding airport area and we were off the runway fairly quickly. We got to the gate in a short amount of time, but had to wait to get off the plane. We were the final people off the upper deck, but that put us right in the middle of bedlam.
Monday 18th July 2016 It was an o dark stupid wake up this morning after a night of barely no sleep at all. It was also going to be the longest day of my life. I had 3 flights to get through before I could sleep again in a real bed. By the time I got everything cleaned up and ready to go, we ordered a lyft to take us to the airport (hello 50% off deal) but that took a while as the first guy cancelled on us because of the distance. I thought Uber and Lyft were not meant to play taxi games. We sailed over to the airport and there was not much of a line to check in. We got our bags checked through to Brisbane but unfortunately we couldn’t get boarding passes the whole way. TSA precheck came in handy today as we were through security in just a few minutes. Then it was off into the terminal for some rest, relaxation and a little breakfast. We rested up and headed out to the gate about 10 minutes to boarding. The aircraft was doing a short turn from Anchorage and was still letting off passengers as we got there. Unfortunately when boarding time came, the gate door closed and that did not mean good things. We started delaying, with no real explanation and eventually got word that it was a maintenance issued, but no real information. 7am departure came and went and eventually it looked like an 8:30am departure. At one point they pulled everyone away from the gate area on the ramp and did a full engine run. Once that was complete they started boarding within a few minutes. Alaska Airlines - AS462 Seattle Tacoma to Los Angeles 0700-1005 Boeing 737-900ER (N224AK) Economy Class - Seat 8A Boarding: 0750 (Gate D2) Push Back: 0827 Take off Roll: 0841 (Runway 16C) Top of Descent: 1045 Touch Down: 1106 (Runway 24R) Shut Down: 1143 (Gate 65) We boarded for what was going to be another wait. But i got myself situated and started watching TV shows on my tablet to pass away the time. Before I knew it we were pushing back on a fairly off weather morning and headed towards the runway. We had to wait in line for single runway departures this morning and on the center runway as well, so it meant that we had to wait for more people to land before we could hold on the other side. Makes for slow going. We took off into the sky and it was fairly cloudy and boring so I focused on my t and tried to enjoy myself. I had been pretty annoyed for the lack of information and real caring on the airlines part, so being able to switch off was good. Thankfully we had a 12 hour stop as if this had happened with a 2 hour layover, not good things will have been said. We cruised south and the crew were super slow about getting service out. Was this going to be another lazy Alaska crew like my last flight. Probably! Didn’t phase me, I was engrossed in my shows. 3 of them later we were approaching descent into LAX. The descent was pretty rapid but as we headed in I could see another plane running parallel to us, that was not good. North runway ops 🙁 As we landed in on the north runway it was pretty crowded down there so I knew that it was going to be a while till we got to the gate. I figured it would just be a long slow taxi. Boy was I right. At one point we took a full 180 turn and faced the opposite end of the field. Yep… penalty box time! We sat there a good 10 minutes before a crew member even confirmed that we were waiting for a gate. We had to wait for that, along with also dealing with an emergency on the ramp. A flight had landed and it was surrounded by 5 fire trucks and an emergency air stairs. Unsure why! We taxied past it eventually and got to the gate where we were soon onboard and I was able to use the restrooms…. Tmi? Off the plane and out to the street to watch a National Shuttle roll straight past us. Had to wait about a solid 10 or more minutes for another one to come by. By the time we got over to the rental lot we were over 2 hours behind where we wanted to be. But at the lot we were greeted with a smiling face and when I asked where the convertibles were, he said “what color” and said he would bring one up. I asked him to bring us the newest one he had. He rolled back up a few minutes later in a silver 2017 Mustang Convertible. We spent the afternoon grabbing some lunch at Souplantation (to make my wife happy) and doing some plane spotting at Imperial Hill. I managed to snap some good stuff and we headed over to the beach for a while so Heidi could enjoy the sand and water. I spent most of my time walking and or watching planes take off. We ran a few errands and finished off the afternoon at In n Out watching the planes land. Pretty good sunny afternoon.
The time has finally come to start this adventure. It has been in the planning stages for quite some time. The whole point of this trip was to make up for lost trips in the past and also for Heidi to get down to Australia to meet my folks, and possibly the rest of Australia. I won't get to indepth into the booking of this but I will certainly point out some of the moments that have caused things to change. The planning of this particular trip started over a year ago, back when I first started my current job really. There was always intentions of visiting Australia during 2016 as we had to wait out leave and time etc. So it was always going to be during the Summer vacation for Heidi. But it was a complicated thing as we had a lot of points stashed away, but only in certain places. None of which could really help too much. We had points with Singapore Airlines after we had to cancel the Japan trip, Points with Qantas and also with American. So we knew that getting to Australia would probably involve Qantas and coming home would probably involve Singapore Airlines (as we wanted Suites). What was going to happen in the middle, well who knows! We got some stuff worked out after over a month of working through schedules and possible ideas, but once space started opening up, it changed quickly. In the end our trip ended up being down to Australia on Qantas in Economy (thank you Qantas for never releasing space) and then from Brisbane to Singapore on Emirates on the Red Eye. Then Singapore Airlines in Suites to Tokyo on the Red Eye with a connection to San Francisco on ANA. We would have 6 nights and an extra day in Brisbane thanks to the Red Eye and about 2 nights in Singapore for a good way to end the trip. The stop in Tokyo was only about 8 hours so wouldn't require a hotel or anything as it was a daytime stop. Maybe enough time to go downtown if we were lucky.Then the changes started happening, just weeks after we started booking. Singapore to Tokyo was taken off suites. Change that to a day time flight and now we lose a day in Singapore, but gain an overnight in Tokyo. Then Emirates cancelled its Brisbane to Singapore Leg, so we were rebooked on the Qantas Daytime flight. We managed to move that to the day before giving us 3 nights in Singapore. Then the SEA-LAX flights started changing. First we had 5 hours (what we wanted), Then 3, Then 2. This wasn't going to happen with runway works in LAX and the only option they would give us as 12 hours. Guess who gets to go plane spotting! In the end it would be 5 nights in Brisbane, 3 in Singapore and then 1 in Tokyo (thank you 24 hour stopover rule!). It would be a lightning fast yet still pretty good time. Now it was time for hotels. In Brisbane we were covered. It is called sponging off my parents. But for the rest of it, we wanted to use one of the benefits of my work. I get some free hotel nights at some amazing hotels and I wanted to experience some good stuff (and spoil heidi). Heidi's folks decided to come (and so did a friend for a while but he pulled out) and we ended up deciding on having a big party with my family (which will be bigger than our wedding) and we decided to do a lot of touristy things. When we are finished they fly off to do other stuff but there will be plenty of adventures as well. It took a bit of arranging but this is what we ended up with (flights as well). Monday 18th July Alaska Airlines - AS462 - SEA-LAX - 0700-0950 - 737-900ER - Economy Qantas Airways - QF94 - LAX-MEL - 2210-0700+2 - A380 - Economy Wednesday 20th July Qantas Airways - QF610 - MEL-BNE - 0905-1115 - 737-800 - Economy Accomodation - Parents House - 20th to 25th July Monday 25th July Qantas Airways - QF51 - BNE-SIN - 1215-1835 - A330-300 - Business Accommodation - Fullerton Bay Hotel - 25th to 27th July Accommodation - Raffles Hotel Singapore - 27th to 28th July Thursday 28th July Singapore Airlines - SQ12 - SIN-NRT - 0925-1730 - A380 - Suites Accommodation - Peninsula Hotel Tokyo - 28th to 29th July Friday 29th July All Nippon Airways - NH8 - NRT-SFO - 1710-1055 - 777-300ER - First United Airlines - UA424 - SFO-SEA - 1440-1650 - A319 - First It is going to be a fun and busy time!
The big trip to Australia is counting down super fast. With 2 weeks to go till we step on that flight to Australia, I am super excited. But it also means we have a lot of stuff to do in the mean time. I know that right now as the two weeks count down, there are plenty of things I need to arrange. I need to make sure that currency is ready to go, insurance (which I haven't even researched at all mind you) and other things are ready to go. However there are numerous other items that need to be checked. Making sure we have the correct things packed, that arrangements are still good, that any gifts we need to bring are ready. On top of all of that we need to make sure that we are ready to go, that the house is all good as well. So while the trip is so close, there are still so many things I need to do in the mean time, add on a couple of busy weeks at work, plus I am travelling again this weekend (a wedding in Spokane) and it means that things are not going to be easy. But I am all for it! I can't wait! After this coming weekend I will start the trip report prepping including the planning portions of this trip, because well you know, that's part of the fun of it right?
Sitting in my own living room, on the couch is a funny feeling. The move went well (if you want to call 3 solid days of stress, fighting, time outs and heavy lifting, well) and we are not starting to settle into the house. Although I haven't uploaded the photos from the move yet (there are so many I haven't had time to do it) this is the first morning before work where I have spent more time relaxing than doing other tasks around the house. Most of the time I have been around the house cleaning up, sorting things out, fixing up stuff strewed throughout the house. It is still a matter of unpacking things, but not to much is left now. We don't have artwork on the walls yet (as Heidi wants to do some painting) but that won't take long to put some up. We have a few rooms ready to go, the bedroom, office and gym are fairly done. The Kitchen is functional (even though we have no seats or a real kitchen table). As we try to get ourselves settled, we will continue to do what we can. As we wait for some of our furniture to be delivered (waiting on the 2nd half of our living room set) and we fix things up around the house, I can't wait for this all to sink in. We now own are our own home and although life is an ever changing thing, we at least have something constant.
Ugh, it has been a rough few weeks. As the trip to Australia gets closer and closer, normally I would be super excited for the trip. But right now I am feeling the opposite. Each day it gets closer I get excited that I will get to see my family, my friends and introduce everyone to Heidi. But then I get smacked with the feeling of homesickness. I want to see my friends and family so bad. It has been over 4 years since I have seen a lot of my friends and about 3 years since I have seen my own family (at least mum and dad, others longer). I really shouldn't be getting this feeling, my life is over here now and I love it. I don't regret leaving but each and every time someone asks me how long I have been here in the USA, asking if I miss home, well that doesn't help. I just want to see my friends, speak to them, hug them and I can't 🙁 I know that things will be worse when I leave Brisbane as I will have the feeling that I don't want to leave them but is it better to just suck it up and keep moving, or do I decide to just not do that to myself in the future? I know I can't do that because I want Heidi to experience Australia, and all that it has to offer. But I also don't want to put myself through so much pain every time. Maybe it is just that time I need to suck it up and stay excited about the trip and not think about the other stuff. Still hurts though!
4 years ago today, I walked through the car park of an airport dragging the following with me
I was setting off on an epic journey one that would change my life forever. Funnily enough thanks to the date line i would touch back down into Los Angeles still on the same day. My new life would begin early in the morning on the 2nd of May 2012. I cleared immigration and would begin a whole new journey. I was now a resident in the USA. It wasn't permanent at that point, but it was for a few years at least.
So much has changed over the last few years, I have moved around a few times, changed jobs, met someone I love, got married, travelled, done some amazing things and it has only been 4 years! O how time has changed! I have so many new friends, friends who make me thankful for life each and every day. I walked away from my life back in Australia and left everyone behind. That was not easy but my new friends and family over here make it easier each day.
As the new year in this country begins, this one will be a blast. I start a whole new chapter with Heidi in the next few months with a new house, getting to introduce my family to my wife & her family. I am sure that as things in the new job get better and better, life will be a roller coaster.
Looking back over photos from that flight over to the USA and the first few weeks in the country was a blast this morning. However I did see one photo that made me think twice:
This thing has been haunting me since the day I arrived in this country...... nemesis!!!
|From Emigrating to the USA|
|From Emigrating to the USA|
Heidi and I took a road trip on Saturday (mind you in an amazing rental.. but that is another story) and we are now the holders of authorised Nexus cards from the combined US Customs and Immigration Service and Canadian Border Patrol. For the low low price of $50 for 5 years (so really $10 a year) we get the fun of being able to quickly and easily go across the border between Canada and the USA. Now we don't often go up to Canada so why would we bother spending the $$$ to get quick access to the Northern part of the Commonwealth... ay? Well because for $50 you get Global Entry and also TSA Pre Check. Both of those things are the real reason to buy Nexus. Because Precheck is $85 and Global Entry is $100 so for half the price you get all three. WINNING! We were so happy to be doing Nexus and saving money, but what they don't explain to you is that any time you need to make an update (address, jobs, updates to your passports etc) you need to go back to a Nexus enrollment center to do that. *sigh*. They won't allow it to be just done online, you need to go back to the physical location. That would be ok if we lived closer, or if Boeing Field and more than 1 pair of officers (Nexus center staff work in pairs, 1 american & 1 Canadian.. ay). So we could wait all day and hope that we could get it done at Boeing Field, but there's no guarantee for that. Instead we will need to drive up north to Blaine to get the paperwork done there, because they always have staff dedicated to changes. But it is a small price to pay for being able to clear security quickly and easily, the way it used to be. If only you didn't need to pay for this privilege, then it would be ok. But that is the world we live in today. Guess we could always go up to Vancouver for the day right?