Becoming an Expat

When I told one of my friends that we were moving to London, and I knew it was going to be stressful, she said “What can be so hard about it? You pack up your stuff and go!”

Here’s just a taste of what keeps me awake at night.  Stream of consciousness style. 

I need to get passport pictures taken. Then they have to be retaken because kids aren’t allowed to smile. Then we need to go to the passport office.  But appointments are required now.  And we can’t get in for three weeks.  But Caldwell takes walk-ins. So we drive to Caldwell.  Passports done.  But now we find out we need Visa photos. So we have to go back to Walgreens. For the third time.   We also need to do Biometrics.  And well child exams.  And immunizations, or “inoculations” if you’re British.  And we need lab work for Simon so we can have a follow-up with the allergist and Eli needs an eye exam… Not to mention my own yearly you know what…

And then there’s our drivers licences that will expire while we are away, so we need to renew those.  Which I’ve learned can only be done at one location in the Treasure Valley.  News to me! I also need to cram in as much CEU for my hygiene license as I can, and renew my CPR certification before I go. 

Then our cars were crashed into and will require six days in the shop… no biggie. 

And there are our belongings.  Ship, store or sell.  Yard sale, trip to Utah to deliver our shipped belongings to a warehouse in SLC.  And a storage unit… research, reserve, deposit, fill.  And suitcases.  We are each allowed two checked bags, one carry on, and a personal item.  That makes a total of 18 suitcases, and six personal items.  Is that even possible? How can we fit those into one car to get to the airport, manage them AT the airport, retrieve them upon arrival and fit them in a taxi or rental car in London?  

Then there is the house.  Sell or rent? Rent.  Paint rooms, fix up some landscaping, clean clean clean.  Patch holes in the walls, repair sprinkler heads.  Find a property manager, research, contact, contract.  List the house.  Keep it clean so people can come see it. 

Goodbyes.  Goodbye parties. Trips to visit siblings in distant states.  Lunches, dinners, farewells, Lots of crying. 

Where are we gonna live?  A city of 8 million people.  Research neighborhoods and boroughs.  Read through listings, wait a week or two and scour the listings again.  Email friends of friends for info.  

Cancel an entire life here.  Auto insurance, home owners insurance.  Close bank accounts, open bank accounts.   Internet, mail,  electrical, cell phones.  OHHHHHH CELL PHONES!  Make phone calls about cell phone plans abroad, ask questions and more questions.  What will we do if we cancel both our cell phone plans, and then land in a new country with no cell phone?  Learn about Skype, Voxer and SIM cards.  

Buy everything that I think I need and won’t have an easy time acquiring when we’re there.  

I know it sounds like I’m complaining.   I am a little bit.  In the beginning when Richard was talking to Anthony, he warned us that it would be… “excruciating” was the word he used.  I had no idea.  But fortunately I have the thrill and excitement of our upcoming adventure to carry me through.  And really supportive friends and family.  

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