Home again, home again, jiggity jig…

I flew back to Charlotte, North Carolina about ten days ago and had a wonderful/nightmarish time. On the first night, my mom and I ate at my tie for favorite restaurant in Charlotte (my other #1 is a place called Good Food. We like to be literal ’round these here parts…) — this AMAZING Japanese joint called Baku. I’m just gonna go ahead and tell you now…I took barely any pictures the entire time I was home, and I was too dang hungry to do it that night, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say this food looks and is delicious. The restaurant’s vibe is upscale but low-key. Dim lighting, smooth tunes, GREAT drinks (I had the French Pear: Absolut Pear, Elderflower, and Lime. Diviiiiiine), and food that makes you want to slap your waiter in the face and demand they bring you every scrap of food from the kitchen and put it in front of you immediately. It was a good start to my trip πŸ™‚

Next day, the friend keeping my cats brought me to Greensboro for what should have been their last vet appointment. I had forwarded the health certificate and all the necessary info to my friend who passed it on to the vet. After the appointment, they tell us the paperwork should be complete and ready to send to the USDA the following morning; they just want to make sure everything is as it should be, so they thought it best to wait until their resident expert on international pet travel is in the office. Okeedokee. I take my babies back to my mom’s place and we get reacquainted. Tomorrow (Thursday) rolls around and my friend says they’re still holding the paperwork, but assure us that it should be ready by Friday. I was in no position at this point to change either my flight or my cats’ flight, so I needed to get this stuff sent out ASAP so I could get it back from the USDA in time to take off. As long as everything is in order, the USDA can have your pet’s certificate endorsed and mailed back to you the same day they receive it. Not sending the certificate to the USDA until Friday meant they wouldn’t receive it until Monday if I overnighted it and I, in turn, wouldn’t get it back until Tuesday…which is when I had to get it back because my flight (though it left on Wednesday) was from the international airport in Atlanta (because I couldn’t fly my cats out of Charlotte). We planned to be on the road by 8AM to ensure that I’d get there in time to check my cats in at the cargo facility before the 4PM cutoff. Friday comes, and I get another text from my friend. My cats need to see and have their paperwork completed by another vet because the first one wasn’t properly accredited.

I can’t…there just aren’t words for how angry I was.

Clearly, the reason they were dragging their feet with the paperwork was because they were trying to find a way around their lack of accreditation. They couldn’t, and in the end had to be honest (like they should have been in the FIRST place) and tell us they weren’t qualified to complete the paperwork. Do you know how much time could’ve been saved had they just pointed us to another vet from the start?

Anyway… I’ll spare you the gory details; we got it taken care of. (Sounds ominous, doesn’t it?) The good news is British Airways didn’t charge me any of the “arrival fees” I would’ve had to pay if I’d shipped my cats through Virgin Atlantic (which I won’t be flying with again. The seats were effing murder on my coccyx. Yes. My coccyx.).

Back to happier things. I saw my grandparents a few times while I was back. I also hung out with some friends, which was a lot of fun. Mom and I exchanged Christmas gifts. I got her one of those personalized jars of Nutella (thanks for the tip, Jaime!), some souvenirs from Disneyland Paris, and a London tea towel. She gave me black leather gloves and the bracelet she’d ordered for me before I left. 20150224_203731

Also, it snowed while I was there!!! The one time it snowed in Guildford, I missed it ( 😑 ) and I haven’t actually seen any in London (none that has stuck anyway), so even though the folks driving in it hated it, I couldn’t get enough. And of course lots of places were closed because in the South, people treat snow like the arrival of Armageddon…

The little ones, however, were enthralled πŸ™‚

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It felt strange to be “home.” I passed by places I used to frequent — restaurants, shops, roads — and felt so firmly embedded there that I was sure I’d wake up the next day and head to work like always. I got to remember what my life was like before…what it would be like now if I hadn’t left. There are lots of things I miss about the US, and about North Carolina in particular. Cracker Barrel, Carowinds, Central Avenue…my grandmother’s & mom’s cooking, my grandparents bickering, laughing with my mom, enjoying my friends…but I can still have those things. Just not often anymore. What I have now, I wouldn’t trade for anything. I made this life for myself, and that makes me proud. I’ve seen new things and made new friends (among which I count the lovely readers who comment here πŸ˜€ ), found a place to live, and a city where I feel happy to be who I am. What I miss most about “home” are loved ones. But those people I miss are willing to visit me, so I kind of get to have it all.

And right now, I have a warm bed, two cats cuddled beside me, and a computer on my lap. Life is good.

I also bought some new books! The two I’m planning to dig into first are Neil Gaiman’s latest short story collection, Trigger Warning, and More Than This, by Patrick Ness (author of A Monster Calls, which is totally worth taking a peek at). Here are some photos I took on my stroll toΒ Chiswick’s high street: 20150227_142118 20150227_142507 20150227_143202 20150227_143246 20150227_143334

A new friend :)

A new friend πŸ™‚

How does this building still exist?!?!?!?!

How does this building still exist?!?!?!?!

Until next time!

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20 thoughts on “Home again, home again, jiggity jig…

    • The ordeal continued when they got here; they spent almost 10 hours in the Animal Reception Center (and I spent 4 hours there). The staff wouldn’t release them to me until that first vet faxed a form back to them…which they proceeded to take hours to do. I really hope we get to stay here b/c I don’t ever want to deal with that mess again. But thank you about the bracelet! And for posting that Nutella tip! I ended up getting jars for three more people πŸ˜€

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  1. oh goodness, what a nightmare. KC and I have kinda discussed moving back home, but we have 3 cats and its apparently a huge nightmare (we spoke to a lady at home who waited like 6 months for her dog to join her or something, something to do with quarantine) and we could never leave them here so looks like we are staying! lol. good to hear they are finally with you though!

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    • Yikes! I couldn’t imagine putting 3 cats through a flight to Australia and then having to leave them in quarantine :/ That does sound awful. At least you like where you live! Maybe the regulations will change like they did for the UK (quarantine is no longer required) and you can eventually move your whole family back to Oz without hassle. Here’s hoping anyway!

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  2. Oh such beautiful babies! So happy for you! Virgin Atlantic is not my favourite airline either, I did a whole trip to the States with them with only breakfast (and you know how I like my food, Gianni, and how that doesn’t work for me!). Other stories about them would make a whole blog post, when I get time maybe. I’m really pleased that you are happy over here, but of course, you will never stop missing your family. I completely understand the feeling of being torn between two places. I admire you tremendously for setting up home in a strange country all on your own, and even more for doing it as a student.

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    • Since we’re still in the early stages of their move, I believe introductions to other cats would be cat-astrophic (had to). Especially for Neal (the black one). I brought him to a friend’s house for a playdate with her black cat once and by the end of it, Neal was so stressed out his fur was falling out in clumps. As far as their accents, Neal still sounds like the creepy old man in American movies who screams at you from his porch while he’s whittling a pan flute. Choko doesn’t say much. I’m still hoping she’ll end up sounding like Caroline from Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice and we can walk in circles making fun of people together. x

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