Going Back To Cali, Cali, Cali

No matter how much preparation goes into moving, the reality is that it always comes down to the last minute. Or for us, the very last minute.

Last Friday at 10 pm, two Consulate vans and three men helped transport 10 pieces of luggage, 3 car seats, 5 carry on bags, 1 stroller, 1 100-lb dog / crate, and 5 very excited passengers to the Chennai International Airport. What happened since then is no longer a blur. Here's the latest update from the other side of the pond...

... We got to the airport three hours before our flight and began the slow check-in process... first our bags, then our dog, and finally our seat assignments. We had no problems with tagging all our bags and they didn't even check the weight. There was even less of a problem with the dog as NOBODY bothered to even look at her, blink at her, or pay any attention to her except for charging the $500 excess baggage fee. The biggest issue? Getting our seat assignments changed for our flight from Frankfurt to Los Angeles... we were all placed in separate rows. What. Joy.

... Despite two separate doses of Dramamine, Grady defied sleep and managed to stay awake for over 20 hours of our 29 hour ordeal. He also REFUSED to sit in his car seat for more than a few hours at a time and used me as a human jungle gym. What. Joy.

... While all seated in the same row on our flight from Frankfurt to Los Angeles, we weren't all seated together. Instead, we were separated by a large German man who sat in the aisle, refused to change seats and thus got stuck next to me, the human jungle gym, and Grady. What. Joy.

... After two LONG plane rides totaling 23 hours, and five hours waiting in two airports, we finally landed in Los Angeles. And as soon as we all stood up and got ready to depart the plane, Sheridan decided that NOW was THE perfect to vomit. All over the floor and her seat. Riley followed suit by falling over and dry heaving after seeing her sister. What. Joy.

... Despite gate checking my stroller in Frankfurt, it didn't make it on the plane to Los Angeles. I found this out after waiting on the jet way for 20 minutes after we deplaned, and confirmed this when my name was called over the loud speaker in the baggage claim asking me to see a Lufthansa agent. I had to then file a claim and get a replacement stroller in the interim. What. Joy.

... The car service we hired to transport us from the airport to Newport Beach was AWFUL. The driver was irked that we were late coming out of the terminal and barked at us to hurry up as he was afraid he was going to get a ticket. Seriously, do they not account for delays? But the icing on the cake was when he refused to stop at In N Out. Apparently he never read the notes in our file and scheduled another pick up immediately after ours. Oh. The. Joy.

... Sunday was spent car shopping. Monday was spent car shopping. Tuesday was spent car shopping. And after going to about 10 different dealerships and sitting in and test driving at least that many SUVs, we finally went in an entirely different direction and bought a car on Wednesday that we never previously considered. I didn't love any other until I saw her. I couldn't see spending that much money on a car I didn't love until I saw her. I was about at my wits end... until I sat inside, test drove old faithful, and knew she had to be mine. Oh 2008 Land Rover LR3 HSE with the black on black leather interior, luxury package, climate package, fully loaded SUV with the DVD player and wireless headphones inside, I really do love thee. EEEEKKK. The. Joys!

... The girls are enrolled in elementary school for next year, though not without its own set of headaches. Apparently we needed three separate forms of ID to validate our local address in order for the school to accept their applications. I had a CA drivers license, and a lease for the rental house that started in September. But those wouldn't suffice. So after spending three days trying to figure out how to handle this, I finally drew up a mock lease for my in-laws house and brought that with me to the school district validation office. Three minutes in the office later, we got the approval paper and was able to bring it to the school to solidify their enrollment. Of course once the school looked through our information they realized they weren't sure how to handle Sheridan's Omani birth certificate, nor the CRBA (Consular Report of Birth Abroad), and wanted to treat her as a foreigner. What. Joys.

... We've also managed to unpack, do 5 loads of laundry, hit Starbucks everyday, get haircuts, make a few shopping runs to Target where I SWEAR there is a law that you can't get out of there without spending at least $150, buy a few things at Old Navy, take the dog on endless walks, meet some new neighbors, and get this ... relax.

We're finally back in Cali. Yes. The. Joys.

The porters with 4 separate carts filled with our bags.
Matt, the dog, and the kids prior to departure from Chennai.

Two LOVELY visions on Saturday ...

My new ride.


Sunny said...

Yay! You made it! It sounds absolutely awful. Every time we travel they decide it is a fantastic idea to split the family up. Seriously. I was livid reading your post but so so happy for you.

And by the way, I love the big pimpin' ride. You deserved it and now you have it.

I am so distressed that they are treating your daughter as a foreigner even with a CRBA, makes me wish I had my son in the US just so I could avoid that kind of headache. Come on California, you know better!

So happy for you. We are 40 days behind you but who is counting.

Ramit Grover said...

Go Grady go! Ooops, sorry Mommy dearest!

Love the car, told you that already didn't I? :P

Ugh, don't remind me about the great Target conspiracy! Heh! :D

I'm so happy for you!

And I envy you too!

Good Luck! :D :D: :D

Anonymous said...

I would like to request that you have one caramal macchiato with skim, two blue icees and a hotdog from the snack counter AND swing by the arts/crafts aisle next time you're at Target?

Just for me? purty please?

(glad you made it home ... and boo hiss on the large german man who refused to let you sit together ... sounded like Donna G's trip home!)

Z. Marie said...

I've pretty much decided not to take Owen's carseat on the plane with us this time. I know he won't sit in it for more than a few minutes, so I figure I'll give my arms a little rest (from carrying it). Because what I do know is that I'll be holding him the whole time.
Thank goodness our flights are much shorter than yours!
Yay on being back! And the car! And Target! (Not the spending so much there, of course, but just being able to.)

Daniela Swider said...

Wow, what an odyssey but the best part is that it's finally over and you are home. Take it easy and relax now, as much as possible with three kiddies.

A Daring Adventure said...

YAY! You made it, everyone is safe, and you found a rockin' ride!

(Of course... just to show how much of a Mom I am, I looked at the picture(s) of your new car and thought: Will that fit everyone?! But I'm sure that if it wouldn't have fit everyone, you wouldn't have bought it!)

LOVE the pictures - especially of the Welcome to the US and Grady finally sleeping. Bless your heart, you human jungle gym!

And I totally hear you about a mock lease for your in-law's house. Girl, I can't tell you how many times I've been forced to do something like that in order to get library cards wherever we are. Because hotels don't give leases, and we CAN'T LIVE without library cards! LOL!

SO glad you're back, and that you're safe, and that all is well, and that you found a car that you are so excited about! YAY!

Bfiles said...

Glad you are back safely! What an odyssey! Why was the same man on your flight and Donna's? How odd! Hope there is more relaxing in your near future. all the best.

Unknown said...

A German who refuses to change seats so you can sit with your kids...now why does THAT sound familiar?

I'm so glad to hear you made it safe and sound though. BTW, can I borrow your cool new ride? That would beat the minivan anyday!

Donna said...

Why do we do this to ourselves?

And when are we going to meet in real life? (answer: never, if we have to go via plane to accomplish it).

Glad you're safely back in the U.S.ofA.

Kirsten said...

Oh my. You need a vacation.

LOVE the new car!!!

Emily said...

You made it! You made it! I am so glad that everyone made it, even with some difficulties.
Welcome back to this part of the world.
Can I say that I love your car, and am a little jealous? Okay, I said it anyway. It looks amazing.
Enjoy the spoils of the States!

Christy said...

Hurrah - you made it! And I'm so not surprised about the German. No offense to any Germans reading this, but every time we go on vacation and there are Germans - they always get up at the crack of dawn to put their towels on the best beach chairs and won't budge all day. Ha! LOVE your new car and the photos!!!

Mom24 said...

Wow! What a trip! I'm so glad you made it all in one piece. What an ordeal though. Holy Moly! I love the new car. Very fun. I agree, if you're going to drive it, you want to love it. Can't wait to hear more when you're ready.

Take care.

David L. said...

Glad to see you made it back stateside safely. Is it too early to wish you the best with the coming headache/heartache of an unaccompanied post? If so, sorry I brought it up so soon.

Jen said...

You always have the best adventures.

And.... welcome home!

Anonymous said...


anymommy said...

Hurray!! Thank god all of that is behind you. Now, enjoy the summer - I don't know how you do it and I can't wait to meet you in person.

Natalie said...

So happy for you all that you're back home...and the Land Rover...sweet!!!! Deep breath, enjoy that Target! :)

Jen said...

Wow! So glad you are back and relaxing!

Lisa said...

oh. my. i can't even imagine. i feel like i write that on every post of yours, but i'm serious - you are the biggest rock star Jill! So glad you're back in Cali (and yes, I started singing/rapping that in my head as soon as I read it....hehehehe!)

A Daring Adventure said...

Matt has a shoe twin!


Love the darling TwitPics from Disney! I'm so glad you guys are out having fun! Welcome back to the US, Perlman family!

Kat said...

That sounds like a NIGHTMARE!!!! Oh my word I don't know how you did it. You are an amazing woman. Whew! I think I need a drink after reading all of that!

BUT, I am so glad you are all back and settling in! WOOHOO!! Welcome back to the states, baby! :)

Connie said...

Welcome home!

Laurel said...

Hey - that was you in our bodies a year ago! I so comisserate with you and have enjoyed checking in on your blog now and then. Welcome back to the US. Drink all that clean water, have a latte and enjoy:).

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