mnot’s blog

Design depends largely on constraints.” — Charles Eames

Monday, 12 February 2007

Things to Remember when Moving Country

Filed under: Australia Travel

It’s always more expensive than you plan.

The few weeks before you go are the busiest of your life. It’s on the scale of planning a wedding where royalty are involved, because there are so many loose ends to tie up with no chance to “get to them later”, and people will come out of the woodwork to have that last chat/party/booze-up/shopping trip before they never see you again. It’s time well spent.

You will spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing about what to take on the plane.

Never take customs, quarantine or taxes for granted; in short, paperwork owns you. Don’t underestimate the time it takes to figure out how things are done for health care, schools, renting a property and finding a house; even if you’re familiar with local customs, you’ve probably forgotten the important bits.

When you get there, it will be ungodly hot. Or really cold; doesn’t matter — the weather will be absurdly extreme, making you doubt your sanity for even considering leaving your old home. However, it will get better in a few weeks.

The few weeks after you get there are, in short, surreal.

In the time that you spend without your stuff, you’ll spend a good chunk of money buying things like staplers, mattresses and cheap cutlery. Ikea is both your friend and your enemy.

Don’t even think it’s cheaper to buy a new kitchen/bedroom furniture/living room than to ship it; you’re not counting the sheer amount of time it will take you to build up all of the little things that make up a normal household, and until you do, you don’t feel settled.

…except for anything electrical, which almost certainly won’t work. You will go shopping for new appliances/tvs/phones, but that process won’t be nearly as much consumerist fun as it sounds. It is, however, a great excuse for buying a LCD TV.

It takes about two years to get settled in a new country, in our experience, and seven years to be a local. Knowing that ahead of time makes it much easier.

There will almost certainly be things that you take for granted in your everyday life that will not be available — or even conceived of — where you’re moving to. Don’t try to stock up and take it with you; start adapting.


4 Comments

badenh said:

Missing the decent broadband, broad coverage wifi, tivo … huh ? :-)

I actually think that the “transition cost” depends largely on where you’re coming from and going to, regardles of your familiarity with the destination. Technology differences, for example, are enormous when relocating from Silicon Valley to anywhere, and there are interesting impacts on your ability to do things like working day to day just because of technology differences. And everywhere has a higher level of bureaucracy than is tolerable :-)

Tuesday, February 13 2007 at 11:13 AM

Ian said:

And nobody else charges for incoming calls to cell phones..

For me (UK->US) it was Tea bags. 7 years later I still do the tea run each time I pass through heathrow..

Glad you’re settling in ( at least enough to buy shiny new tv ;-) )

Wednesday, February 14 2007 at 3:40 AM

lavi d said:

It took me so long to figure out what your nickname meant, that I feel compelled to reply…

r2!

:)

Friday, April 6 2007 at 5:34 AM

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