Air Shipment & Peculiarities in Housing

Oh sweet, sweet air shipment! I knew how much I wanted everything in those 23 boxes but I didn’t anticipate the soothing effect it would have. I was so excited to see spices and canned goods with familiar labels! Mia INHALED the mac & cheese! She was so excited to see it! The kids also had pancakes this morning. I know that I should probably save it for a day when we’re feeling homesick but I was just so excited that I couldn’t help myself!

Food from home
Kraft Mac & Cheese and HEB Pancake Mix (Egg free!)

Going to the grocery store here has been… it’s hard to even think of a word. Exhausting, draining, overwhelming? First off, there aren’t many brands that have jumped the pond. When you walk into the store, it’s overwhelming in that you’re looking at vastly different packaging. This is fine when you’re in a convenient store but when the whole store is filled with products that you have no visual schema for, it’s quickly exhausting. Then you see a product like the one below and you think to yourself that there is something about it that is familiar.

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I probably end up buying products like this more because there’s some familiarity there than that it was the best option at the time. If you’re wondering why that Andrex package looks familiar, it probably reminds you of Cottonelle and Kleenex. They’re owned by the same American company.

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There aren’t very many brand options for products many times. If the company makes their own of a particular item, it might be the only kind in the store. ASDA garbage bags are the only ones available at ASDA and you have to double and triple bag them! Additionally, the store layouts are just odd to me and there’s something else different about the check out lines that I can’t put my finger on yet.

Monday would make 3 solid weeks that we haven’t seen anything from home but what was inside our suitcases or slept in our own beds. The bed in the corporate apartment was the WORST. Brett and I both woke up with aching backs every morning. We were naively under the impression that our air freight shipment would arrive at the same time we moved into the house. Once we realized that wouldn’t be the case and we didn’t even have a date for delivery yet, air mattresses had to be ordered. (You’ll recall my Amazon post.) Additionally, we had to get sheets and blankets. Being in the city, the apartment didn’t have much in the way of a breeze and could be pretty hot at night so we went for light blankets. Brooks had his own twin bed in the apartment and we purchased a pack n play for Mia when we arrived. Unlike their US counterparts, pack n plays here don’t have suitable mattresses so I folded up a duvet for her to sleep on.

Since Sunday night Brett and I have been sleeping on a queen sized air mattress – which they call a king here – and the effects have been pretty typical of an air mattress. Not the best, not the worst. You’re airborne any time the other one turns in their sleep. Brett somehow gets airborne when he turns in his sleep on a regular mattress so it was quite the the jarring awakening at times. The thin blankets left us freezing all night due to our location in the “country” so it was a rough week of sleep! And speaking of country, here’s a glimpse at the road going to our neighborhood:

 

In what I have decided was one of the best ideas of my entire life, I ordered a Helix mattress to replace our guest bedroom mattress and had it added to our air shipment container in addition to our regular pillows. A Helix is what we usually sleep on and I’ll never go back. They’re amazing and customized to you. They come all rolled up in a box so it easily fit into the extremely compact air shipment container. Last night we slept on a real mattress with real pillows and it was AMAZING! We also had real duvets and normal sheets in the air mattress. It was like heaven!

Let me take this opportunity to give a shout out to my father-in-law, Keith. The one flaw in my plan was that the mattress was delivered the afternoon that we flew out. (Helix and UPS were no help in changing the delivery date.) He schlepped it across Houston to the packing people and stayed there until he saw them put it in our container. Thank you, Keith!

Mia also got her crib in the shipment and immediately asked to get in and for all of her babies to join her! Scotland has had a multiplying effect on these babies of hers. We left Houston with 3 and she now has 5. She keeps trying to claim that Brooks’ dinosaurs are her babies as well! As soon as she sees an opening, she grabs one and runs off screaming, “MINE! MY BAY-BE! MINE!”

Poor Brooks is on an air mattress until our sea freight arrives but the air shipment brought with it his new duvet cover with his name monogrammed on the sham so he’s pumped. He doesn’t seem to mind the air mattress at all! Actually, he doesn’t care about much of anything now that we have the internet and he can watch Dinotrucks.

He’s also made some new friends in the neighborhood already and the availability of windows and closeness of townhomes mean that we can clearly see and hear him from in our own home. Here’s a peek at him playing with his new friends as seen from the balcony off our bedroom.

Now on to the oddities of our new home. Smeg seems to be the ruler of appliances here and apparently doesn’t feel the need to use words, just symbols, to communicate operation.

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Microwave
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Oven

What in the hell do these things mean?!?!?!?!?!?! It really seems to be this way with everything over here. The traffic signs and whatnot are just symbols not typically accompanied by words.

After some searching, I found a bit of a cheat sheet for the symbols on the oven. With the microwave, I just stumbled on to one way I found that works and I’m sticking with it!

Here are the dishwasher symbols. They’re more self explanatory but why do the last two have the word end above them? And why are they always flashing when I open it?!

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The dryer has been pretty mystifying. What I’ve deduced thus far is that there is no heat setting but there are levels of dryness. I have gotten clarification from my one British friend Danielle on some of these things but am still flummoxed by what Cupboard Dry means. Based on my experience with it thus far it means that the clothes are still wet when the dryer says they’re done and I don’t see how they get put into a cupboard at that point.

Note the light next to Water Tank Full. There is no hose connected to the dryer. All the water that is in the clothes is somehow sucked into the container you see below and must be emptied occasionally.

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The dryer situation has led to me really enjoying drying my clothes outside!

As expected, the refrigerator and freezer are rather small. This means that multiple trips to the store are needed each week and that it constantly feels like you have nothing to feed your children! Our particular kitchen set up has the door to the kitchen and the refrigerator door back to back so that neither can be opened unless the other is closed.

 

We spent a lot of time away from the house this week since the weather was beautiful and there wasn’t a reason to be in it! I’ve been taking excessive pictures of Brooks and Mia while I try to figure out my new camera. Below is a mix of iPhone and Sony camera pics of our outings this week.

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Brooks playing in the backyard during a brief rain
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Brooks
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Mia playing in the rain
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Mia trying to blow a dandelion
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Brooks struggling to blow a dandelion.
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Oh! I was wrong. There are six “babies” now. This one is aptly named “Dog”. Not to be confused with her other ugly baby named Dog.
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Mia all smiles post nap.
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Mia showing her tummy to the world!
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Still showing her tummy.
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Brooks at Duthie Park
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Mia down the slide at Duthie Park
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Mia practicing climbing at Duthie Park
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Brooks at Duthie Park
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Mia at Duthie Park
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Brooks and Mia looking for minnows at The River Dee
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Brooks trying to figure out where the water in the River Dee comes from and Mia trying to copy him
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Trying unsuccessfully to skip rocks on the River Dee