Thursday, August 7, 2008

Life in the Fast (?) Lane

I didn't grow up with taxis. Suburban Missouri just doesn't have them. The only time I'd ever ridden in one was when I was on a layover in Salt Lake City, ran to Temple Square to see some people I loved there, and missed my shuttle back to the airport.

And then this move happened.

Jason and I left NJ on 31 July. We thought we'd finally done everything right by scheduling a driver to pick us up & take us to the airport at 5 a.m. to catch a 7:45 flight to St. Louis. When our 4:30 wake up call didn't ring, Jason phoned the dispatcher who assured us that our driver was on her way. At 5:05 the dispatcher called to say our driver had overslept -- and was in Philadelphia. I spent the next thirty minutes waking up taxi dispatchers, trying to find someone who could manage getting a family of five with two weeks worth of luggage to Philadelphia. When our "taxi van" (Cami's description) arrived, we got everybody in as quickly as possible and were on the road by 5:45. And then flew down the NJ Turnpike at speeds topping off at 90 mph.
Thank goodness for heavenly protection & no police interference.

Then yesterday happened. We arrived in Manchester, England, and couldn't find our driver who was supposed to meet us at baggage claim holding one of those little signs with our last name on it. Jason used his UK cell phone (anybody want our US cells?) & we finally made connections, but it's really hard to navigate a (literally) foreign airport with two stacked luggage trolleys and a double-stroller. A sweet young lady, probably about 20 years old, stopped us and took over the stroller. . .an absolute angel.

Once we were all tucked into our second taxi van, I spent a good deal of time watching the countryside pass by us. It wasn't so unnerving to be driving "on the wrong side of the road" when on the highways, because the median is in the way. But here's the English driving rule that I'm trying to figure out: is the left lane the "fast lane" or the "slow." My guess is that it's the latter, because we spent most of our drive to Leeds there. Or, more accurately, we spent a significant portion of the time on the left shoulder of the highway. . .the van kept overheating. The bottle of Harrogate Spa water I'd almost drunk when we got in the van, but felt I needed to save, got poured into the carburetor and we limped along the M(otorway) 6 a bit further. When things got really bad, the driver actually stopped the van & walked to a nearby farmhouse to get water. In the end, we got to Leeds, having stopped for three water breaks.

But we are here. Whether fast or slow, we have arrived.


Amy Donner said...

Wow! Such adventures...I cannot even imagine how exhausted you must have been after that journey. Nonetheless, you are there, enjoy getting settled into your new home, and know you are missed here...on Highland Avenue:)

Tricia said...

It almost seems like someone doesn't want you in Leeds--which means you are doing the absolute right thing by being there!!

Marie said...

Ohhh, hope this doesn't colour your view of this lovely country, but am thankful that you arrived safe and sound! The scenery is never that great from the motorway, not like it is in the countryside at any rate! Yes, slower cars do travel in the far left hand lane, and let me tell you . . . even after 8 years here I still feel like I am driving on the wrong side of the road! Hope the rest of your transition is a lot smoother! ((((hugs))))

Christel said...

Glad to hear that you and the family made it safely! I really enjoyed your visit, even if I didn't get to see you nearly enough. You'll have to tell me all about England. Also, once you have it and are moved in (have you reached the person from the letting office yet?) could you send me your new address? I have Graham's birthday presents to send. Also, Happy Birthday to the Graham boy and Happy Anniversary to you and Jason.

Amy Donner said...

Birthday and Anniversary wishes to you both and Graham! Kathryn woke up very excited this morning-she had a dream that she and Cami were playing "mommy and daughter" at your new house in England. I think it's safe to say that Cami is missed:)

Kristin said...

Starr, I feel like I'm reading a novel. I'm just glad you're at the latter end of the experience, and not the former one. Sounds like the kids were angels, since I didn't hear one mention of tantrums or anything like that. We miss you guys.