We’re officially expats!

Well we’re here! We’ve made it! We got through immigration without an issue and now we’re officially expats- Canadians living in the UK for the next 3 years!

Our flights were pretty good, the only hiccup being delays in Victoria, about 2.5 hours. Luckily, we originally planned for a long layover in Vancouver so we had time to spare. Turns out we ended up with only an hour or so in Vancouver and because it’s such a large airport, by the time we got to our gate, they were just starting boarding. Perfect!

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Looking fresh at the beginning of our long flight!

The flight from Vancouver to London is about 9 hours and is an 8-hour time difference – so no matter what, it leaves you messed up. There’s not much you can do to prepare for that and it takes time to get over that.

Wine helps.

This was the longest flight Sophie has ever taken and the furthest she’s ever travelled to date in one-go, so she had endorphins and excitement to keep her going. She’s never been on an intercontinental flight, so she’s never got to experience a real airplane meal (not including the fairly nice ones you can buy on Air Canada domestic flights).

Air plane dinner

We knew that dinner would be served right before we needed to try and sleep, and the only sugar-free drink options for her would be water or caffeinated diet Coke, so we picked up a sugar-free drink in the airport before we boarded (she had the choice of iced tea or diet Sprite). Thinking ahead is usually how to I try to avoid diabetic upset!!
But then dinner came and how to guess how many carbs in this meal? Pasta, a bun, a brownie, and a corn and edamame salad? We just completely guessed. We didn’t guess enough, and had to do a correction later on. We figured it was better to be conservative on that side than to risk lows on the airplane.

Then it came time to land!

Eric showing Sophie the landmarks of London as we fly over
Sophie couldn’t take her eyes off London below us as we descended

And as you know when you approach a new city with new time zone as you land, the pilot lets you know the local time and everyone adjusts their watch (okay, not as much anymore because everyone has cell phones…). We took this time to pull out Sophie’s insulin pump control and adjust the time settings in that.
The timings in an insulin pump are very specific to each individual for every hour in the day. As I’ve explained in the past, she gets a constant drip of insulin throughout the day, as well as doses with each thing she eats. This constant drip dose throughout the day changes up and down based on her body’s insulin needs (as we’ve determined them, with the help of nurses and glucose monitoring). Same with her meal doses- She gets a different dose of insulin with breakfast carbs than she dose at lunch or dinner. This is all because of a lot of trial and error and countless dose adjustment and changes we’ve made over the past 6-9 months. We are always watching her glucose levels and determining her insulin needs and adjusting her insulin pump settings and daily timings, if necessary.

So, we were very nervous about making a drastic 8-hour time change to her insulin pump. We did a lot of reading about how best to do this – we read about changing it an hour a day, eating meals on the origin’s time for a few days, etc. But we found most of these suggestions lent themselves best to the idea of only a 2-4-hour time-change, not a huge 8-hour time-difference.

In the end, we decided to go for the rip-off-the-bandage approach and just change the time in the pump and deal with some wonky blood glucoses for a few days as we all try to get used to the time.

Pushing through!!! Changing those time settings!

We definitely noticed wonky BGs for the first 24 hours, her body didn’t know if it was breakfast or nighttime or what…. but we’re approaching the 48-hour mark and the BGs are already starting to make more sense (as much sense as T1D can ever make in a pubescent girl!)

So now here we are in Bristol!! We pushed through our jet-lag and had a busy first full day, picking up our rental car, picking up the keys to our new house, visiting our new house, and registering at the local doctor’s office. Sophie loves our new ‘local’ (the closest pub to our house) where we went for lunch and we do too.

Sophie can’t take her eyes off the windows while driving around, there’s so much to take in!

We topped off the day by celebrating Sophie’s first diaversary! Yes, one year ago, on 13 August 2018, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. And now here we are! She got to choose dinner (fish & chips with mushy peas) and pick out English chocolate for dessert. It wasn’t a big huge celebration, but we are in a new country and getting to do an awful lot of awesome fun things!

Sophie is enjoying her diaversary chocolate

We still have so much to do- meet the doctor, get referral to the Diabetes Clinic, buy stuff for the house, go get school uniforms for Sophie, set up our mobiles…. the list seems endless.
We’ve received word that our furniture and effects have arrived in England and we’re currently trying to arrange a date for delivery and unpacking- they don’t seem to be in a super hurry to get to us!

So there’s still so much to do to officially make this our home, but we will and we are! The adventure has only begun!

Thanks for bearing with me! Here we go!

Well the past two months’ of blog posts have been what I’ve promised- practice. I needed to learn this platform, figure out how to blog, how to post, and how to ‘run’ a ‘website’ (both terms I use very loosely).

In the past two months, I’ve even struggled with what to write- our life in Canada is pretty mundane and boring, even while preparing to move across this globe, even while living in hotels for the past month.

But now we’re ready to go. We fly to England the day after tomorrow and our adventure truly begins!! Now I hope to start having blog posts worth reading! And I thank the 30-40 of you who have actually been reading up ’til now and giving me enough reason to go on.

We’ve had a few hard goodbyes in the past week or two. Especially for Sophie. But luckily she’s now at the age where she can keep in touch with her friends digitally. If we didn’t get to you for a so-long hug, I’m sorry and don’t take it personally. I truly find it easier to just not have them. We’ll all chat online and I love that I can keep up-to-date on my friends and even their kids on social media. We also live in the military— we’ll all see each other again eventually!!!

I’ll share a handful of pictures of our ‘resort life’ now as we’ve been living in a cool hotel for the past 16 days. Sophie has had a blast swimming every day (which makes her blood glucose fall like crazy— good, if it’s been running high, we just take a quick trip to the pool! If not, she needs to drink some regular Coca-Cola before swimming in order to have high enough blood glucose to swim and sometimes every 20 minutes, too).

Also, check out my Highs and Lows Abroad Instagram below for more frequent photos.

The biggest golf tournament of the year was here on our second day.
Sophie and her bestie playing in ‘ceremony circle’, taken from our balcony on the 5th floor
Taco night with a view
The beautiful pool we’ve spent many hours at

So that’s it. That’s our life in Canada for now. Yes, we’re still here for a couple more days but I’ll be busy packing and saying so-long in person to a last few folks. So this is my last Canadian blog post.

Wish us luck with the long flights and immigration process.

I’ll update when we get to England, probably in the middle of the night when I’m jet-lagged and zombie-like exhausted!

Here comes our next adventure!

Moving is exhausting

I haven’t posted much in the past 2 weeks because we’ve been so busy getting our house ready to be packed and loaded on the sea can. Because of our international move, we actually have two sets of pack and load days – one pack day and one load day for our sea canister that is heading to England, then one pack day and one load day for our long-term storage – things staying here in Canada for 3 years (like our electronics and such that we can’t use there).

Leading up to our pack day, we had to first pack our suitcases – decide what we will need to bring with us on our persons to England. We are given 5 checked suitcases and 3 carry-on suitcases (but could pay for more, I guess). In this luggage, we need to bring 6 months’ worth of medication and medication supplies like Dexcom and Omnipod supplies. This greatly reduces how much clothes we can bring!!

These are our suitcases- the 3 on the right are all medical supplies!!
6-9 months’ worth of insulin and my multiple sclerosis medication – all of which need to remain refrigerated/with ice packs while in luggage.

Then aside from having to pack our suitcases (so plan our lives for the next 6+ weeks), we have also had to rearrange our house to separate the things going to England and the things going into storage. This also meant a lot of cleaning and purging, too.
People have said to me that because we have military moves and ‘they pack for us’ that it must be easy, but I promise you it is not. To make any move successful there is so much preparing and work involved at origin and then again weeks and weeks of work at destination (sure, they ‘unpack’ for us, but that just means taking things out of boxes at break-neck speed and putting it on any flat surface – they don’t put anything away or organise or clean!). Luckily, this is our fifth military move and I’ve learned things each time and am more and more ready each time!


Then came the packers! An overseas move requires our furniture to all be bubble-wrapped (rather than in quilted moving blankets) so it took the packers a while but soon enough, our house looked like a Tetris game:

Our Tetris house

Once they moved everything out to the driveway to load on to the truck
Sophie was so bored during the 2 days of packing and loading


Now we’re living in an AirBNB in downtown Victoria for the next 2 weeks. Our house sale doesn’t close for 4 more days so we’ll be there every day cleaning up and getting the long-term storage packed then trucked out. We’ll also try to enjoy what there is to enjoy of Victoria down here – restaurants, Market Square is just below our rooftop patio, and FanTan Alley (the most narrow street in Canada) is right across the street:

So, we’re exhausted, but we’re a few steps closer to getting to England….

Is it September yet?