Pet passports and more: adventures in moving home

When I graduated from Nipissing University in North Bay, with my Bachelors of Education back in 2009, there were few job openings for newly qualified teachers here in Ontario. This was one of the factors that led to my choice to move overseas to teach in England. It was a simple choice but a complicated process – I sold my house in Hamilton and put my furniture and life in “temporary” storage. At the time I thought I would be away for a year or two – not nine whole years!

I finished the last day of my secondary level special needs teaching contract in Oxford on May 25 and off we flew, via Air Canada, from London to Toronto on May 30. Having seen that all our UK goods were safely packed away for shipping.

If you read carefully, you’d notice that “I” moved to England but “we” moved back. Yes, as these things happen, my English born partner and I are moving together – along with our two cats. We had visited Ontario multiple times together, so the move is not a total surprise for her. What was even better was that she was quick to get a job lined up once her visa paperwork was in order. Working in IT and moving to the area near Waterloo certainly helped in that aspect.

Traveling with cats was an interesting aspect of moving. Our worldly goods were packed up by professional movers, mostly so that customs would have an itemized list of what we were bringing into the country – as would the insurance company. That made everything much easier on our hectic pre-move schedule. For anyone planning such a move, there are not that many airlines that can accommodate small animals, but luckily Air Canada is one of them. All we needed was to get carriers and pet passports to make the journey quick and simple.

While the UK is a rabies free country, Canada is not. Had our trip been in the opposite direction, it would have been more complicated. As it was, they followed us through the check-in, past customs (with their own private inspections), and into the cabin. Technically, they counted as a separate carry-on bag and were therefore, to be placed under the seat in front of us – which explains the specific requirements in the size of their carriers. I must say, they were very well behaved throughout the 17-hour door-to-door ordeal. There was the occasional meow but generally, they only required the occasional reassurance and petting through the opening of the carrier.

So now we’re settling into our new life in Cambridge, Ontario. I’m now back to job hunting as well as getting things ready around the house. Apart from the usual household chores, I have around 6 weeks to sort through all the items from my storage locker before our shipment from England arrives. I think I’m going to be pretty busy!

Bob Houghton– Bob Houghton
Broadcasting – Television & Communications Media, ’81

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