Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Get That TO DO List Out

The TO DO list seldom changes when your husband utters the words 'what do you think about (insert country)' and he's not referring to your next holiday destination.

Work beckons.

There's a new contract hopefully about to be won and they want him on it.

Your next adventure is a possibility sooner than you thought, tho in reality maybe not. Who knows? When's the tender due? When's the client giving the answer? How quickly will you go?

WHO KNOWS? It was just a 'what do you think' off the cuff question.

Yes, but us expat wives know where there's a question of this nature, there's an offer lurking - or not.

We know that we might, or might not move. Which means we might, or might not have to be prepared. So, we take the high road, and get out the TO DO list which served us well the last time, and the time before that.

You're mastered the BE PREPARED motto of the Scout movement better than any Scout you know!

The TO DO list looks like this:

Location of office in relation to school.
Potential housing - in relation to school/work/ammenities.
Cost of living.
Health System.
International Womens Club.
Timing in terms of the current school year.
When would you leave?
When would we follow?
Can we take our electrical items?
Can we take the car?

You go thru your list of International friends and when the time's right you start asking LOTS of questions of people who were born there, or who have lived there (the two perspectives can be very different) and maybe ask for some basic language lessons.

No point telling family .... or friends ..... until you know for sure you're actually going. Why get everyone worked up over potentially nothing. It's bad enough you have to go thru it.

The phone call.

The potential of a possible move.

The shock at oh, so we're not staying here any longer.

The excitement of, oh THERE!?

The waiting for a genuine offer.

The look-see (I've insisted on a look-see before we commit)

The school application/s.

The waiting to be offered a place (or places).

The house hunting.

The telling friends we're leaving.

The organising of belongings - what to sell, what to donate, what to give away.

The packing.

The farewell parties.

The last night.

The airport.

The arrival.

The hotel.

The searching for a new home.

The signing of a new lease.

The moving in.

The unpacking.

The settling in.

The first day of (another) school.

The first day of new friendships.

The first (un)successful grocery shop.

The first visit to a hairdresser that's recommended by a new friend.

The first real laugh with a new friend.

The first opportunity to volunteer.

The first guests.

The first tour of your new city.

The first time you get lost (there will be many)

The mourning period.

The acceptance of a new place to call HOME.

Oh, wait, what?

We're not going?


We get to stay here a wee bit longer.


Can you relate?
What's your TO DO list when you hear 'potential move'?
How many times, over what period of time have you moved?
What lessons have you mastered?
Which bits still get you down?


  1. Oh ms havachat would you believe that it is easier to not be an expat (wife) - I put that in brackets because there are many expats who are doing it on their own. Sounds contradictory doesnt it - but if you can/have to work there is a network there for you to tap into. If not ... well that is where International Women's Clubs etc are SO vital. but in essence - and as women we all know this - where would we be without our girlfriends? I thank every god and every star I have such incredible friends. Sorry off to sob in a corner now ;-)

    1. Gosh OF COURSE there are :)
      My kinda expat is merely one kind.
      There are oodles of people who consciously decide to up'n'move, whether overseas or interstate, heck, moving from one side of a city to another can be just as traumatic or exhilarating.
      YES - when you move to live somewhere, and if you are working full time there's another layer of organisation and reaching out that needs to be done.

      We'd be lost without our support network - be they up the road, around the corner, or an ocean away.