Shortly after 1am, I awake to what sounds like a clown nose honking beside my head. I am curled around O, my snoring 9-year-old, on a twin bed in my mother-in-law’s basement apartment. My husband is likewise smashed on a twin mattress with X, our 12-year-old, just a few feet away. We are all trying to power-nap our way through these last few hours in the United States. My phone alarm is set to wake me up at 2am to leave for the airport, so why is it summoning me an hour early?

I try to focus my eyes on the too-bright screen. Four emails have come through in as many minutes. My heart jumps when I see that they are from the Australian Visa & Immigration office. We have been approved. I am suddenly wide awake.

For months, we have been slogging the uphill road of immigration. In many cases, the paperwork they required could only be obtained after our arrival in Australia. A catch-22 that was maddening and took many late-night emails and international phone conversations to resolve*.

* I will pause here to acknowledge my privilege in being a native English speaker with access to resources that allowed me to pursue these issues with a (relatively) minor amount of anguish. I have walked with people as they navigated these same systems without the luxuries I enjoy and cannot even begin to understand the complexities of that situation. I could go on on this topic for quite some time, but maybe that’s one for another blog.

So, with only three hours before airport departure, we receive the approvals required to make this entire venture a reality. This really is a representation of our lives- a dogged determination combined with a Pollyanna-ish optimism that allows us to keep moving despite all appearances being that it most definitely will not work out.  But it did, it does, every single time. Or it doesn’t, and we do something else.

I wait an hour to wake up the rest of the family and our two friends who spent the night to help take us to the airport. Due to the snow and ice from “Superstorm Jonas” in the days prior, we had to park the vehicles way up at the top of the hill. Brian and Ermano dragged our cargo boxes up the night before on the boys sled- working until well after 11pm.


And here we are, walking our luggage up at 4am (sorry for the poor quality- it was dark, and I was too tired to try very hard to get a clearer shot).


We have to take two vehicles, as the truck and trailer are chock full of our cargo- three bicycle boxes and seven 20”x20” shipping boxes. This will be all our worldly belongings for the next year and a half. I wonder which very important things I have forgotten to include.

Guess we’ll find out when we arrive in Australia.

Next stop: ….endless airports…

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