Live like a local.
Decide which pieces of furniture you really love and donate or sell the rest. The list goes on like this. Tiresome and I swear, just like everyone else, that I’ll never collect the amount of “crap” I just got rid of again.
What did surprise me is the amount of paperwork and transition that has to happen. Moving to another country – in my case Great Britain - opens up an entirely unknown territory for me regarding banks, currencies and mostly how it is all taxed! You don’t want to be paying for something in pounds from your US money … or vice versa… or the taxman will rein down on you and you will regret being too tired on that early AM call and not paying close enough attention to how this all works! Then there is the medical. All your records must be transferred to the National Health System, and don’t forget the hassle and headache (or game one must play) regarding your US insurance paying for only 30 days of medication and yet you probably won’t know where you’ll be living (and therefore not signed up in the proper district for the NHS) and will run out before you have it all figured out. These details make your head spin.
Then there’s something that should be relatively easy that I’ve gotten a major headache over… the PO Box. I bought a PO BOX and have transferred only addresses of important paperwork (i.e. banks, mortgages, etc.) In my mind, there shouldn’t be too much that comes in through the mail because I can access most of what I need online. I was further buoyed by the fun fact that the USPO can scan the incoming mail so I’ll know in England what is in my PO Box. (How brilliant!) With this happy thought, I go to the USPO to sign up for this, and the conversation goes like this: (if you are not already, I advise you sit down…)
So It always comes back to: why is this move so difficult for me? It’s difficult because I’m reinventing the way I think. I’m freeing myself from the prescribed right/wrong. I’m literally and figuratively wearing new lenses! (Yes, I did get new glasses before going across the pond). All my friends and family have had to hear me bemoan the difficulties of the logistics of this move. But I already have a time-tested coping mechanism in my bag of tricks. Over the course of packing, sorting and throwing away, my life once again became a series of lists and check boxes. A way to stay on track when I felt completely out of control. This has been my go-to method of staying sane while being a stay at home mom with three active children and wanting to be the best mom and wife out there. (Note to self, and others: that’s a lot of pressure), and I didn't realize I'm still doing it.
This system is fine for a while until you realize can’t do it all. But what do you give up on? It becomes a gradual process of elimination that doesn’t happen overnight, or it didn’t for me. I could still feel good about myself if I could get this thing done “check” and hurry up and get another “check” off the list. Make this for that person “check” and get to the store “check” and… and… and I ran out of energy, lacking any emotional intelligence for me. “Checks” are not all bad. They allowed me to be there as actively as I could for my family, but they can be draining. It always felt I was on the edge of a cliff.
So, here is what I learned. The checks have helped the process of moving, but they failed at allowing me to "experience". There is no check box for feelings. I realized that a significant part of the stress I’ve been feeling about the move is because I’ve had a hard time letting go of the “things” that were associated with the memories of the erratic years watching my family grow up into amazing, independent, and intellectual individuals. I’ve had to slow down, take stock and realize that letting go of “THINGS” doesn’t remove the people from my life, it instead, allows them to join me in an awakening. In my awakening, I need to become curious again, to feel, to question, to be spontaneous and I need to find the time to explore the world and pay attention!
My house is empty, but my heart is full. Soon to be on our way…Check!
Jody Steere | If there is anything you are curious about or want me to DO, or FIND for you, shoot me an email and I’ll see if I can make that happen. After all, I’m wanting to explore and find interesting places and meet fascinating people.
Don't take life so seriously.
I'm Jody. I love to travel. I love to take pictures. I love to meet people and find interesting places. I also love to write about and post pix of what I've found. But, I've been told that I write like I talk - in streams of consciousness. So, if proper grammar and well composed sentences are a must for you - my posts will make you crazy. If you want to follow my journey as I learn about really cool places and offer some great tips about living abroad, read on!