Thursday, 23 July 2015

ms-havachat's On The Move - Again.

Thanks Google Images :)

How I wish we could just move like the picture I found on google represents.

Just pick up the house and move it, with all your stuff to a new location and start over.

Except as expats we can't. We purge, pack, transport/ship, unpack, settle. And that's just the contents of the house.

We only unpacked 2 years ago. I can not believe how fast that time has gone.

Here we are again, much to our surprise preparing for another international move in less than a month.

There I've said it.

We are moving.

Expat life is full of ups'n'downs, comings and goings, packing and unpacking, saying hello and saying goodbye, joining in and opting out. As one or two friends like to remind me 'it's your choice' and 'you could always come back' what they don't seem to understand is we move with the job, we don't move by choice (tho we do have some say over the destination). If there was work back home, we'd consider it for sure, like we do every other opportunity that comes G's way.

An expat friend said to me 'expat life can be so inconvenient sometimes' and she's right.

The timing of this move is the problem. We are all so happy and settled here and the move has happened so quickly we've not had time to get used to the idea. We knew we weren't here for ever, but one more year would have been lovely.

While some aspects of expat life are easy to get used to, others are not. It's healthy to be sad about leaving one place yet excited about arriving in another. In Third Culture Kids The Experience of Growing up Among Worlds by David C Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken, we learnt from others that there are various phases we go thru like grieving, disbelief, anger, excitement, acceptance etc when moving often.

In chapter 13, Dealing with Transition, they talk about building a RAFT when moving ...

  • Reconciliation
  • Affirmation
  • Farewells
  • Think Destination
We're up to the Farewells and Think Destination bit while friends are just finding out, they are back at Reconciliation and being upset bit.

It's a complicated lifestyle. Many of our friends have said they have no idea how we do it, and you know, if I was to analyse it, I'd probably agree with them.

This is our 5th move in nearly 10 years and we feel confident and competent that we do 'it' well and we keep focused and engaged right up to the minute we leave for the airport. Some people disengage as soon as they know they are leaving and that's sad but it's a coping mechanism.

The opportunity came out of the blue and we are still in a kind of fog even tho we have started the leaving/arriving process. Here's a quick list to give you an idea of what's involved if you are contemplating an international or interstate move, or wondered what on earth expats go on about!

We aren't doing all of these as we're only going across to the UK from Ireland. But 3 of our moves were huge and required lots of planning. Wish I'd had a list like this for our first move!

  • Cancel/resign:
    • Utilities
    • Household insurance
    • medical insurance
    • Car insurance
    • Any type of regular home help
      • Gardener
      • cleaner
      • window washers
    • School
    • Gym
    • Any extra curricular activities
    • Mobile phone contracts
    • Cable TV
  • Unsubscribe from local websites
  • Unfollow local Facebook pages
  • Sign up to 'new' local websites
  • Find 'new' local Facebook pages
  • Research new schools
    • apply to new schools
    • visit new schools (if you can)
  • Sell/rent out your home
    • We haven't had to do this, so I've no experience to offer, but it's something to be aware of and make lots of enquiries so you make the right decision
  • Follow real estate alerts in order to find a new home
  • Prior to packers coming in, purge (recycle, give to friends, donate to charity, sell or tip) and while you're at it, clean:
    • Kitchen cupboards
    • Laundry/utility room
    • Wardrobes
    • Attic
    • Garage
    • Garden shed
    • Book cases
    • Toy cupboards
  • Source quotes for final clean of house, including. These might need to be sourced from specialists, so make sure you have the time to get the quotes and then plan a sensible time line for things to happen (carpet cleaning is usually the very last thing to be done)
    • carpets
    • windows (inside and out)
  • Check diary for any plans you've made from 'now' on and amend them accordingly.
    • eg: I have theatre tickets for October and a friend had to sell her 3 One Direction tickets.
  • The car/s
    • Sell vs take with you
  • In the last month or so before you leave, slow down the grocery shopping to avoid throwing out too much
    • Eat everything in the freeze even if the meals don't make sense
    • Shop daily or every other day for what you 'need' to keep a minimal inventory
  • As we're not going far, our stuff isn't in transit for long so we can take laundry and pantry stuff with us, just have to make sure it's all sealed and secure for packing.
    • When we were leaving for /leaving from Japan we had a shopping party where friends came with their shopping bags and took all our left over food, grocery items, laundry items and alcohol as we couldn't take them.
    • Or have a party!
  • Depending on how far your going, you might be with out your stuff for a few days or several months. Therefore, you need to plan what you'll need in terms of:
    • Clothes
    • Shoes
    • Jewellery (always take this with you and NOT in transport)
    • Games/books for the kid/s (depending on their age and how long you're without your stuff for)
    • Medicines (again, depending on their age and how long you're without your stuff for)
    • Depending on how long your shipment takes, you might want to think about packing a case (or posting a box to work address) with basic crockery, cutlery, towels etc otherwise you'll end up buying them when you arrive and end up with more than you need.
  • Don't laugh but you'll need to find new homes for indoor plants, fish, hamsters/guinea pigs/mice etc
  • If you've a cat or dog and are taking it with you check with the vet the minute you know you might be going so you can be aware of all the requirements of your new country in terms of vaccinations and quarantine.
  • And talking of vaccinations, what about you and the family?????????????????
  • Ask your hairdresser to write down the codes of the colour they use for your hair.
  • Request summary reports from:
    • GP
    • Chiropractor
    • Optometrist
    • Orthodontist
    • and any other medical practitioner you or your family members have been seeing.
  • If you take regular medicine, make sure it's available where you are going, otherwise research what you can take instead or how you go about 'importing' what you need.
  • When we moved to Japan, I invested in bras and undies as I wasn't sure if the stores would stock my size (and they didn't). G was OK but not easily bought for either, so we shopped annually on holidays and usually out of season. MissM was fine, tho Japanese kids fashion isn't always cool on a western kid. 
  • If you are moving to a country where your mother tongue isn't spoken, think about books for the kids, games, magazine subscriptions etc to keep the families mother tongue strong. 
  • This also goes for:
    • hair products
    • skin care products
    • off-the-shelf medicines

Have I forgotten anything? Please let me know as it'll be helpful to others.

So, all I really wanted to say was, we're moving .................

With friendship

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