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Lessons I am Learning as we Move Abroad-Part 1


Let’s face it moving is not anyone’s idea of fun. Moving to a different state is exciting but again not that fun, unless you have a moving company helping you! Now moving abroad? Well, that sounds exciting and adventurous. That is until you realize you need to pack up your life. There is nothing more nerve racking that packing up your entire life to move clear across the world.

As a citizen of two countries I never imagined moving to the land where I felt like I was home. When I first went to France it was as though I had landed where I belonged. Sure I was intimidated by the language. Will my accent sound right? Will I pronounce the words like I am supposed to? Will people think I am a poser?

You see growing up in a small town in Texas I was oblivious to my surroundings. I lived there so I must fit in right? Then one day my family up and moved to California. I hated it there. I hated every minute. If I wasn’t getting made fun of for my accent then I was being teased for something else.

Because I was a brunette and not blonde, and I was not 5’7″, I felt as though I was a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. The day I left California for the Pacific Northwest was almost like going home. Almost.

Until I went back to Europe. There I felt cozy, and warm, as though the whole country was giving me the best hug EVER.

So when my husband turned to me and said, “Let’s move to France.” I didn’t think twice about it. Instead, I went to work right away, registering our marriage, changing my last name, and making sure that my kids had updated passports.

Fast forward to now, the move is happening!

Currently, I am surrounded by my life in boxes. Now there are some lessons that one learns as they are packing everything they own into boxes and then trusting someone to ship them overseas. Bubble wrap is your best friend. BEST FRIEND!!

Lesson Number 1

You can’t take EVERYTHING with you!

You know that hair product that you love and spent a good amount of money on. The one that you nurse so you can get your money worth just so you feel vindicated that you spent that amount money, and now it is half full. Throw it away. It is not worth the weight, and since things have changed so much with airlines, it really depends on the airline on how much weight your suitcases can have.

I have had to make hard and fast decisions on my products. The mantra “you are not moving to the middle of nowhere” is a saying that I mumble over and over. I am confident I will be able to find a heat protectorate in France. Just like I am sure I’ll be able to get a blow dryer.

Which leads me into the next lesson,

Lesson Number 2

You’re gonna have to ship your winter or summer clothes.

As much as I would love to have all of my clothes with me. And I would. I have had to have the most difficult conversation with my favorite sweaters and puffer jacket. “Look you are just too puffy, and I can’t take you with me right now.” Tears were shed, sleepless nights ensued. Debates happened on whether I should use a box or a plastic bin to pack the loves of my life. I am packing up my winter clothes, only because right now it is summer. When I get settled in France, my winter clothes shall follow. The extra weight and thirty different bags are not worth the money or argument. Which leads me into my next point about shoes.

They weight a LOT! So the only option you have is to make Sophie’s Choice and only take shoes you will use and need at this time. For me that is a pair of sneakers and two pairs of wedges. (One sandals and one rain boots)

Lesson Number 3

Ship your books

As much as it pains me to have to get rid of half used hair products or eye makeup I hardly use anymore. (silly I know) or to leave some shoes and sweaters behind, it hurts more to leave my books. Sure I can get them on my kindle but is not the same. There is no book smell, there is no risk for a paper cut! Plus your hand doesn’t go to sleep when holding up a heavy book for a long time because you can’t put it down.

Now, I am bringing some books with me. The rest I have wrapped in bubble wrap and some foamy stuff then in a biodegradable plastic wrap and finally into a box. These will have to come over with the rests of my stuff. Again the weight and ton of luggage is not worth it. Hard lesson to figure out, but at least it was a home not at the airport.

The other thing to remember is you can still by books, in your language where you are going. I really need to stop watching 90 day Fiance The Other Way!

Lesson Number 4

Planning pays off.

I did not know at the time I registered at my consulate that I was doing so for protection and the ability to go home free of fees. That’s right when you ship your stuff, home belongings and furniture you have to “buy” your stuff back when it arrives. However, I do not. With a little planning some six years ago, I registered and then requested a handy little sheet that will allow me to collect my things, free. Which is great! However, I still have to catalog my items and give a rough estimate as to how much each item costs. Which is fine, as long as I do not have to “buy” them back!

Lesson Number 5
It is ok to be homesick before you leave.

Remember when I said that I never felt like I fit in? Well, also remember I said that the Pacific Northwest was almost like being home. Well, it has been my most favorite place in the United States. Here I discovered a lot about myself. I explored the outdoors, saw the Twilight house in St. Helen’s, went to the beach, and discovered I actually like the beach. Ate my body weight in seafood. Realized my love for the rain was NOT in my head. I really really love the rain and cold. I love the mild summers, the friendly people. Even when I don’t want to be bothered. I love the sense of community and how everyone here genuinely wants to help you or see you succeed.

With that, I am going to miss this wonderful place. I will miss it dearly. Especially the mom and pop stores and restaurants. The friends that I have made. My life here.

But, I am ready for the next chapter. I am ready, so ready, to go home.

There will be a part two post. I am going to talk about the packing list you should have when ever you move. I am also going to talk about the journey into the new norm on the plane. I still CAN NOT believe we are really doing this, and I can not wait to tell you more!

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