The unexpected side of moving overseas

in life •  7 months ago  (edited)

When the conversation starts about moving to another country there is usually a lot of researching, budgeting, spreadsheets and lists, preparing for the packup and the move. You go through the emotions and uncertainty of deciding if this is what you want to do. You know its going to be a hectic, tough, crazy time. These are all the expected things.

Something I didn't expect about moving was how hard it would be on our families who stayed behind. We would be gone out of their lives and although Whatsapp calling makes it much easier to live far away, we would be out of their day to day and out of reach of each other's normal circle of existence. No quick pop- in's for coffee, Sunday family lunch or any of the help with chores or errands you would usually have from family. A part of their world had shifted and it would no longer be as it was.

I think this is the same kind of mourning as when a relative passes away. ( Not to the same intensity though) You are sad that they are no longer with you, but it doesn't affect the one who leaves, it affects you who stays behind. It is something out of your control which affects your daily life.

For the ones going though the move it is a different experience. You're listing, scrutinizing, wrapping, packing, donating, storing or throwing away every item that is part of your cocoon of comfort. It is the ultimate purge or Spring clean or whatever you like. ( I personally enjoyed the "sensitive documents bonfire")
You need to make decisions on selling furniture or appliances, making sure everything will fit into the storage locker that will house your earthly belongings while you're 7000 kilometers away. Your whole frame of existence and your mental image of your home stops being what it was. You go through a complete removal from where you called home. Even if circumstances are that you would return there someday, it would never be the same again.

You are in the middle of the circle of chaos, the 'crisis'. You are in survival mode and governed by to-do lists and diary appointments. Getting every scrap of official paper copied and certified in triplicate. Sorting out your will, life insurance, online banking, the cats' paperwork, kenneling, vet visits for blood draws, chasing down vets who didn't sign the sterilization blokkie on the back of the vet card 2 years ago. ( That's a story for another day)

You don't have the time to feel the feelings of the move. You know you should be devastated, but you just don't have the mental capacity to focus on being sad as well as having to go back and clean the old house and taking the last things to storage. You distance yourself from the feelings to be able to get though what needs to be done.
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end”

The sadness comes in waves. It hits you at strange times.

I am thankful that we lived close to my parents and could stay with them while we were packing up. It made for a much softer transition than our past moves have been where you frantically stuff everything into the cars and moving trucks and off you go across the country, hoping that everything is in and that it all arrives in one piece.
This was my 14th move.
It was nice that we could pack and move and have a couple of days with my family to relax and spend time together. We rented a farmhouse in Ceres area ( Landmeterskop) for the weekend and had a Christmas in June feast on the Saturday night with Crazy store Christmas crackers and our wedding champagne from 8 years ago. If not now, then when?
While I was making dinner that night it hit me that we were leaving and I had a " whatamIdoing" meltdown. My mom and sisters and I had a good cry. At the start of the weekend I had told my family that they had the freedom to 'feel the feels' and cry if they needed to. No brave faces. Squashing sadness just makes your stomach hurt and ugly crying lasts much shorter than you think it would.

Champagne, silly jokes and thin plastic crowns made it all easier. We laughed and cried and ate food. Dessert was pecan pie and ice cream. Afterwards we played a card game at the table, and then sat in front of the fire.
It was painful.
It was freeing.
It was necessary.

It is so important to take the time to say goodbye. Even if you, the one who is leaving, do not feel like all the many goodbyes, it is about the people you leave behind and giving them a chance to say bye.
When a loved one passes away we're often sad about missed opportunities and not having the chance to say goodbye. Take every chance to celebrate anything. Any excuse for a party :) In my family if we get good news there is cake. If there is bad news there is also cake. It helps that my sister is a wedding cake decorator.

Live your life, set your own memories and your own life goals and events. If we don't mark occasions we forget them and life just happens and you look back and wonder what you did with your life.


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I read this a while ago, and even shared it on Twitter. But it still rocks me and it's fantastic.
My best friend just moved to Melbourne last week. And man...
Everything in this post speaks the truth. And I just wanted you to know that I'm glad you wrote it :)


Thanks @gymbeann. Sorry I missed your response. I haven't been on for a long time.