The end of a chapter – part 2

Pickfords arrived at around 9am on the Friday, as they said they would. They packed everything and were out of the place by 11am. All we had left was a collection of odds and sods that would surely only take a day to sort out.
By Sunday night we had thrown out another 10 or 11 industrial bin bags worth of junk, taken 3 boxes of stuff and countless suitcases over to my parents place for “sorting out”. We didn’t have time to clean the filthy carpets as we’d planned, and left behind a bunch of perfectly usable, but utterly undesirable items of crap. Sorry Yasmin!

We’d planned to go over to my mum and dad’s on Saturday and spend the weekend with them. Instead we rushed over on Sunday night, absolutely exhausted and demoralised. We had a lovely dinner with them, my sister and her boyfriend and consumed a posh bottle of champagne that some friends had kindly given to us on the Friday night.

The next morning, we rose early and attempted to sort the wheat from the chaff in our boxes of junk; a task in which we failed miserably. But we ended up with what we considered to be a suitable set of bags and then spent a couple of hours nervously doing nothing while we waited for the cab to arrive. When it did there were tears and fears all round and it was extremely hard. None of the goodbyes had felt real on Friday – probably because of the drink and the normality of being in the pub on a Friday. But two goodbyes over the weekend combined with saying goodbye to my family really hit me hard. If you’re moving abroad, get a good stock of tissues.

I’ll spare you the details of the flying experience. In a nutshell it had a very high suck-factor, BA have really gone downhill and anyone who pays extra for “Club World” is either deluded or a cretin.

We’re still settling in to our new life in Philadelphia, but at the moment it continues to feel like the start of a long, luxurious, holiday. In fact, it feels slightly less stressful than the average visit so far because we don’t have to worry about the flat getting burgled/incinerated, the parrot or work. The parrot is currently half-way through a 30-day stretch at quarantine but is living life like Harry Grout if reports from the screws are to be believed. I have a job interview, which could replace the stress of work, but to be honest I’m looking forward to it. Apart from requiring a short trip to Manhattan I’m looking forward to exploring their tech environment; it’s a geek thing.

We have made progress in other areas though. Today I applied for a social security number without which I might as well be in a PVS as far as everyday life is concerned. Michele has begun to change her surname to mine in a desperate attempt to reset her credit history. We both now have rather spiffing official photo ids; Michele has a lovely new driving licence and I have a beautiful little Green Card. Both come with photos, fingerprints, holograms and weird shiny patches of arcane markings.

This morning we paid our first visit to the Bob’s Diner for brekkie. I eschewed the local “delicacy” of scrapple in favour of the healthy alternative: pork-roll and corned-beef hash. With egg. And cheese. Sorry mum.

It’s quite odd how at home I feel here. Having a loving extended family of in-laws helps massively of course, but the area of Philadelphia we’re in really is quite lovely. Culturally it’s very similar to south-east London, and we have some beautiful parks and woodland within walking distance. We also have a car that we can’t use yet. Bizarrely, you need insurance before you can apply for a registration plate for it. Even more bizarrely, as I have no licence, we have to pay extra on the insurance to have me removed from it! That’s just sick, weird and wrong.

There have been plenty of twinges of sadness, but all very minor so far and the future looks bright for the first time in ages. The only thing I’m not looking forward to is the spectre of all of our impediments arriving – that doesn’t include Humphrey of course – I can’t wait to see those fluffy feathers again.


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