Monday, 12 February 2007
Things to Remember when Moving Country
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.