who/what/where/when and why.

one of my kuwait camel sightings

I've been sitting pretzel style on my bed for 45 minutes, dazing off into space. It is safe to say I've hit a "moving" wall.

We found out about this move on Thursday, it's now Monday morning. Three fourths of the house is packed or just awaiting more boxes. We've already locked down a home in California, and our plane tickets are booked. Somehow we've packed up our life almost entirely in four days.

That's wild.

Whenever you make a big life change, you wind up explaining what/where/why about a thousand times. It was that way when I moved to Kuwait...there's this awesome human reaction to excitedly ask for details when a loved one is going through positive changes. I love it. But given that we've got four more days to get our proverbial crap together...I know I won't call/text/email everyone I'm supposed to tell about major life changes.

So, apologies in advance family and friends. I'm just going to be the Millennial that I am, and lay it out there on the internet for family + friends + inquiring minds.

Here you go, pals. :)

Why are you leaving Kuwait? Don't you looooove sandstorms, heat and not drinking wine?
Hey, we enjoyed this year of adventure. But our real goal in living in Kuwait was to pay down our debt + travel a bit. That was pretty near impossible given the high cost of living + US mortgage we paid until our house sold in January. On Thursday, Gabe was offered an amazing short term job in the Middle East, living + working on base. We crunched the numbers and realized that simply by leaving Kuwait, we'd save thousands of dollars every month. Thousands. If Gabe took this new job while I returned to the US, it meant spending a few months apart...but it would eliminate the 2 more years of living in Kuwait that we'd need to reach our financial goals.

We chose distance + sanity over staying here for two more years. I can't say I'd recommend the same for a couple who has never been apart. But, we've done distance. A lot. And while it's a little difficult, it has never negatively impacted our relationship. The time flies by (after the first week), and soon you're planning what you'll wear to pick your guy up at the airport.

After this short term job...we will both be planted in the US for good. Like normal people. :)

Where are you moving?
Santa Cruz, CA! We love Santa Cruz. It's a little hippy...a little weird...but totally loveable. It's right on the coast with beautiful beaches and pretty hiking spots. I'm fond of the blend of small businesses + community vibe, but close access to bigger cities with just a short drive. Our best friends live in Santa Cruz with their 1 year old boy, so we're excited to have built in family awaiting us!

We already have a little place lined up...a few blocks from the beach...with a guest room! So give me a month to get settled, and Casa Contreras is totally open. :)

When are you leaving Kuwait...and is kitty coming, too?
We leave this Friday, and wind up in Santa Cruz on Monday! And yes, absolutely Lucky is coming too! We're so nervous about that. The travel time from Kuwait to California is crazy long...something like 36 hours with all layovers included. Leaving a cat in a tiny carrier for over 20 hours was unfathomable to us. So, we're taking a one night break between flights once we arrive on US soil...holing up in a hotel so Lucky can stretch, play and eat for 24 hours before climbing back in her carrier for the second half of the trip.

Incase the above paragraph didn't make it clear...we are those weird cat people now. Here's the clincher: we used miles to purchase an international seat for our cat. Her ticket reads "Lucky Cat Contreras".

Yeah. That happened. ;)


  1. Bwaaaahahaha I burst out laughing reading the ticket for your cat. I'm in love with y'all. Fabulous.

  2. This post makes me do a happy dance for you! And for me because I was always scared to ship you things overseas but now I can ship them to Cali! Yay!

  3. Congrats about Gabe's job! How amazing to skip ahead 2 years in your finances, and be able to move back to the U.S.!

    And coming from a long distance relationship survivor myself, good luck to you again with that. I'm sure you will send the best care packages!

  4. Oh I hope kitty does well with her travels. Some cats do really well and some don't. I send you safe travels and easy times with sweet kitty. :)

  5. I loooove Santa Cruz! We went there last summer and absolutely loved it. We're making a move from California in a few weeks, but I've had a couple months to plan. I can't imagine doing it all in a week! You're awesome.

    Good luck with the move!

  6. I'm so thrilled you're meeting your goals much sooner than expected. The move back to America might also require a little adapting (it was almost culture shock for me). But in no time at all I'm sure you're going to know this decision was the right one. There really IS so much more sanity back here in the US :)

    Hopefully Lucky will do well on the flight. We found that ours were in their own little state of culture shock and shared one carrier for over 20 hours, including flight times and layover. The most difficult part was rushing through security in DC and being required to remove them from their crate while it was scanned. In Kuwait, as you enter security (both places), just explain you have a cat in the bag and you refuse to xray her or take her out... they'll let you slide right on through. You won't need to show any paperwork for the cats until you arrive at immigration in America. They'll be the ones who ask for it... if they remember.

  7. Your cat ticket. Your awesome explanations. The fact you're moving back to the states. Your strength. I LOVE ALL OF THIS.

  8. Nothing crazy about how Lucky is traveling!! Ours unfortunately had to go in cargo to and from England, but we refused to put them on multiple flights (in the cabin would have been different, but the dogs are too big for in-cabin flights), so moving from Idaho to England involved me driving the pets from Idaho to New Jersey (by myself... Paul had to be in England before then) and then Paul drove down to Heathrow to pick us up, and then for the move back we drove down to Heathrow, flew to Dulles, and Paul's dad (who'd driven up from GA) picked us up and drove us down to NC.

    Although maybe y'all are crazy... because, while we'd not change a bit of what we've done (short of having airlines allow big dogs in-cabin and have the UK allow pets in and out of the country in-cabin) I'm happy to admit we're crazy!
    Happy moving, and a calm, safe travel for Miss Lucky!!

  9. First of all, I love that you can say "ONE of my camel sightings...". You two have had some wonderful adventures that will be so much fun to tell your kids someday.

    And this is so exciting! I'm amazed that you've found a house this quickly, but that is great news and I'm so happy for you. The long-distance will suck, but short-term is totally do-able and it'll be so worth it. Good for you guys!

  10. What!?
    I just found you through your interview/guest post..was so excited to see you live in Kuwait (me too!) And your off...on Friday.
    Crazy times.moves are so stressful...a move in 4 days...phew!

    I'll enjoy reading back over your year here.

    Enjoy that wine on the plane...hurray!!

  11. Oh dear god it's about time.

    So happy to have you back on US soil. So happy ;)


  12. I'm glad/relieved you are moving back to the USA. Yes indeedy.

  13. it must be so hard to do long distance over oceans! i've done it before but if was from chicago to tulsa, not quite as bad. but if it means that you don't have to live in kuwait as long, then it sound like a winning deal! good luck on your trip back!

  14. So happy to read all the details and especially that Lucky Cat Contreras will be coming home with you as well!

    Best of luck with the move. I'm sure it is all very whirlwind at the moment, but when you get your feet beneath you I can't wait to see your new space.
    - Jenna

  15. So exciting that you all are coming back!! And yay for Lucky making the journey too :)

  16. I'm a new follower coming over from finding you on Instagram. Although things are crazy for you right now, I'm thrilled to read you'll be settling in Santa Cruz! It's one of my favorite towns (I'm in the SF Bay Area not far away). Good luck with getting the last of everything packed and moved. Just keep repeating the mantra, "This will all be worth it."

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  17. Just found your blog from "from there to here" and I love it! So interesting to hear about your life in Kuwait! Good luck with the move!

  18. I love Santa Cruz! I live about 40 miles north; every heat wave I long to make the trek down. Good luck with your move!

  19. Burst into a smile when I originally saw your tweet about this and it's just grown bigger + bigger as I read this. I'm so happy for ya'll. Cannot wait to follow your adventures as you make a new home in CA.

    And I laughed out loud at Lucky's ticket. Of course. Frame that sucker.


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