Being told you’re moving overseas is exciting – what comes next is trickier. I’m paralysed by indecision and disorganisation at the best of times, so for me this has been particularly hard. What are we going to do with our house? What about our daughter’s school? Where will we buy our coffee? And so forth. Here’s a breakdown of what we’ve been struggling with this past month.
Where will we live?
If you’re lucky enough to have the luxury of visiting your destination prior to moving, I would highly recommend it. We have a small (two days and two red eye flights) trip to Hong Kong planned for two weeks time without our kids, during which we’re aiming to find somewhere to live, find a school for our daughter and pin down our local Starbucks. Easy right?
This is kind of a mammoth task on your own, particularly if you don’t know your destination well. It helps to reach out to anyone you know who lives in or has lived in your detonation. If this fails, our current equation is Close to Work + Close to School = Our Perfect Area. We know where my husband will work (the ATL Logistics Centre on the Kowloon side, for reference), so we’re aiming to live within 30 minutes of there and contacting schools anywhere in between.
Our next step was contacting an estate agent over in Hong Kong. So far she has actually been kind of unreliable, so I can’t fully endorse this course of action just yet! But the plan is that she will show us around on one of the days we’re in the city and have a full schedule of places for us to view. We’ve given her the particulars, so we can only wait and see…
And What About Things Here?
If you own your house you probably want to look at renting it right away. We were lucky enough that my sister and her flatmate were looking to move, and are happy to keep some of our stuff and sell some of theirs. This makes the whole packing up process a LOT easier.
So, what about that packing up process? We move in eight weeks and have already started, which is necessary especially given we are also having a vacation in a month. Personally, I’d recommend getting started early anyway. We started with things we don’t use often, like tools, books, ornaments and stationary. We also packed up most of our wardrobes, which is actually a great exercise in teaching you how little you really need (and if you’re me, how much you actually have…).
The most boring, difficult part is of course all the paperwork-y, VISA-y, tying up of loose ends that needs to be done when you move at all, let alone overseas. I have found this checklist to be invaluable – it allows you to track your progress and personally reminded us of so many things we hadn’t even thought of (medical records, vaccines etc.)
But We Will Miss Our Friends!
Now is the time to actually let your friends and family know you’re moving. So far we’ve failed kind of miserably at this! Basically it all happened really quickly and there were so many question marks and only just now is it being confirmed, yet our departure date is only eight weeks away!
Most of our closest friends have been involved in the whole process: Aaaah we might be moving! Shit it is really happening! Hong Kong is so expensive! But there are still loads of people who we haven’t told at all or haven’t updated. So our next move is to write an email and plan a leaving party. I think we are pretty much in denial and haven’t wanted to face this yet…
Obviously this is NOT a comprehensive account of everything you need to do before an overseas move, but it’s what’s been on my mind!