Monday, July 28, 2014

Moving to Luxembourg!

At the tail-end of April, we received the exciting news that Caterpillar is transferring our family to Luxembourg! With Rob's new role beginning August 1st, our summer went into warp speed almost instantly. The next 12 weeks were a flurry. We expedited passports, applied for immigration visas and Rob's work papers, took two-day cultural training, and began the involved process of applying Madeline and Charlie to the International School of Luxembourg. Then we scheduled a house hunting trip, put our Whitefish Bay house on the market (such an innocent-sounding phrase for a shocking amount of work), and set off for Lux the first week in June to find our new home and have the kids' required face-to-face interviews at the school (we were relieved to learn a week later that they were accepted....there were only two spots left in Charlie's grade!).

Ready for their interview!
Luxembourg City just blew us away. It reminded us of a miniature, squeaky-clean Paris. My French is rusty (I sound like 3-year-old John did a year ago), but it was really fun to break it out after all these years. We were fortunate enough to have dinner twice with our friends, the Currans, who were preparing for their own move to Nashville after their five years in Lux with their four kids. And we ended up choosing a fantastic house, set just slightly outside of downtown Luxembourg City, with a bedroom for each of the children, as well as a playroom, a guest area, and a great back yard. Madeline is most excited by the path running behind the house that's lined with apple, pear and cherry trees. Even though it was a working trip, we really treated it like a fabulous vacation, and we wanted the kids to leave with wonderful memories that made them excited to come back (which meant lots of gelato and playground time!).

Back on the home front, the house sold quickly, but then came the 65-page inspection report and the challenging updates requested by our buyers... Sometimes there were as many as eight skilled laborers through the house in a single afternoon; quite stressful in the swirl of an international move (especially when you throw in three kids, a dog, a six-months-pregnant moi, and a traveling husband). But we made it through. Sandie came up to help for several days, and friends came out of the woodwork to take the kids on fun adventures while the house was pulled apart.

In preparation for the move, we sorted our every belonging by sea shipment, air shipment, storage, and donation. We sent truckloads to Salvation Army and Goodwill. Even the moving crew took a couch off our hands. At last, we hosted a relaxed going-away party, and we're so touched by the people who came to see us off. The next morning, the packers arrived, and the real frenzy took hold, ending three days later when the sea container pulled out. I didn't even realize I was leaving our happy home for the final time as drove the kids to our hotel. Those details hit later, when the dust has settled. Like the fact that John's beloved blankee was boxed up on the truck and on its way to port, to be seen many weeks from now...
And then the goodbyes. I had to emotionally separate the excitement I feel about the adventure ahead from the absolute heartbreak of leaving our families, friends, and Maple-dog, who is now happily living with Rob's parents and joins them for work each day at Sunshine Lighting. It was crushing to leave Andi and Kyle just three weeks after they moved to Milwaukee for his radiology fellowship. And I was crestfallen when I realized I'd be leaving the support of family -- my dad, Ning and Rob's folks, Andi and Kyle -- when we bring the new baby home from the hospital in November. But we are also have built the deep friendships that we did in two short years, to have so many helpful visits already on the calendar between now and December, and to have fully enjoyed every minute of our time with Andi and Kyle, as well as an extra special visit from Mollie, Evie and my grandma Madeline (more on that soon).

So here I am. Pecking at my iPad in a hotel room in Luxembourg City. We're here; we made it! Jet lagged and travel-weary, but hopeful and excited!!

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