Yep that's right. 6 weeks to sort out 13 years worth of crap in our house. And get it rented out. And get all the things we needed for our visa - HIV test, police clearance, TB clearance, doctors note to say we were fit. And the plane tickets. And the money to buy the plane tickets. And the visa from their end, cos I sure as hell wasn't booking no plane tickets to the tune of £3600 for the two of us without it. Oh and travel insurance in case one of us died (can we just say you might surf for less than 14 days so it's cheaper?), or some narna lost our luggage along the way... 'Shots? Do we need shots? How much is that going to cost? Oh there's no malaria over there so I'm sure we'll be fine...'
I had one major emotional breakdown during this time - it lasted for about 3 hours when I got an email saying they needed everything for the visa in the space of a week. This was because getting the visa cleared at their end could take up to 4 weeks... 4 weeks? Crap we only had 6 and the breakdown began when I realised we needed police clearance and TB tests to show we were clear. Thank goodness for FB, and the solutions people came up with. I know from experience that CRB (criminal record bureau) checks in the UK can take up to 3 months to arrive and we didn't have that kind of time. Sarah, bless her, came to my rescue with the information you can get one from ACRO (http://www.acro.police.uk/police_certificates.aspx) if you need a visa for Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa or the USA. Yeah yeah I know we aren't going to any of them, but it's a US Protectorate right - it'll be fine! It was, thankfully no-one ever questioned it. The second issue was the TB screening - you may think you could get it done at your doctors or local travel clinic. You can't. Because TB isn't that common over here you have to be referred to the hospital for a chest x-ray by your GP. Chest x-ray? Hospital? Does this mean I'm going to have to go to Bupa or some shit and pay loads of money? I haven't got loads of money and we haven't got enough time!! I cried. Well until my mam rang me and reminded my I had a BCG shot when I was 13...Ohhhhh was that was that was for? Who knew a BCG shot for for TB? Certainly not me - I just give my arm to medical professionals and they put something in there - seriously it could be anything. So I got a doctors note saying I was vaccinated. Phew - the adventure was back on!
So the weeks flew by, and we ate lots of Papa Johns pizza and drank copious amounts of Kopperberg cider and saw loads of our friends. I figured we weren't going to be able to get either of them there and as it was going to be hot and humid the extra weight would surely just fall off. Er no it wouldn't!
And so 6 weeks after being offered the job and having said goodbye to all our friends and family we packed 2 surfboards, 2 bikes and our lives into 2 suitcases and off we went on a 4 day journey to a land that only a few months previously we have never heard of to start a job 2 days after arrival...
Crapping my little (but now slightly tighter) pants.