There are so many things that we want to remember from our moving experience. I want to try to note down events of the last 6 weeks - even the boring stuff - so we can remember a few of the details in future, and reflect on what has been one of the biggest life events for our family.
On Wednesday 14 January 2015, an unlikely possibility became a reality. Something that we (well definitely not me) didn't really expect to actually happen...and certainly not anytime soon. Of course there are two sides to every coin flipped, but as a self-confessed realist I did not dare start entertaining crazy possibilities.
We shared our news over the next few days. Dates were decided. Flights were confirmed. We were off. In two weeks.
Moving your life in two weeks does not leave a lot of time for breathing. There were lists for everything. Decisions were being made all the time about everything. It is physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. Not that there is any time to think about it.
I would highly recommend making a daily plan to clearly see what needs to happen when. You then determine very quickly which are the top priorities and it helps to establish a very definitive action plan and timeline.
Hubster had to finish up at work and fortunately he didn't have to work out his notice, which meant we had two bodies in the last 10 days to wrap things up. As the girls were still on school holidays they were about and when they weren't being helpful, they were playing outside in the glorious summer weather. The girls were also the first to hear about our family adventure... they were so excited... all for different reasons. A was excited that we might finally experience snow at Christmas or at anytime in the winter for that matter! H because we would be close to Holland and that was ideal because her favourite colour is Orange and their sports teams are orange... :) L because we would go on a big plane and get to live in a new house!
Decisions were made about what household goods to take or gift or sell. We have had most of our furniture from when we were flatting together 15 years ago... 6 moves and 3 children later, takes a toll on flatting furniture... So some decisions were easier than others to make :) The house was divided into "coming" or "not" areas as we prepared for the movers due on our last Thursday. Pretty much all of the non-essential or "not coming" items were sold or gifted to friends. And for the record I am not a hoarder by any stretch of the imagination but you know how it is... kids and life equals stuff. This "off-loading of stuff" is a heck of a time-consuming activity.
What comes with us on the plane, what do we send afterwards and what do we need for the 3 days before we leave once the house is packed/empty? Do we all have enough warm clothes? What critical items will we need in the first three months that absolutely have to come with us? We had quite a hefty bag allowance which meant we were able to take a box of quilts/duvets/blankets/pillows with us to make sure the girls especially, had some home comforts in the first three months while we wait for our household goods to arrive. We packed all our winter clothes and so far we have been absolutely fine. An extra smaller box with the last bits and pieces that had to wait until the last day with other essentials like meds etc. All of that and we didn't even get to half our combined baggage allowance! The girls each had their own wee travel suitcases on the plane that carried books, colouring pages and some Lego for the trip and also on arrival. Another carried some of our essential documentation and extra items for the trip, along with a change of clothes for us. And the last one carried a change of clothes for the girls. All in all our luggage consisted of two suitcases, one large box, one small box and 5 pieces of hand luggage. So far we seem to have covered our bases.
Do we sell or rent out our house? A lot of time spent talking to accountants in NZ and the UK, etc etc. For now, we are renting it out. So next, take care of all those little bits that we live with but tenants shouldn't have to, and find property managers. Not to mention cleaning every surface, nook and cranny over the last two days - yes even leaving day! (I have moved in to too many houses that I did not consider clean, to not make sure it wasn't practically glowing!) Paperwork, legal docs, mail redirection, changing insurance types, etc. Naturally there was a good dose of gardening too :)
Of course there is a tonne of admin and paperwork. I had to wrap up my work and pass my clients over. Cancelling mail, subscriptions, services, etc. etc. Selling cars and transferring ownerships. Getting hold of medical, dental and optometry records. Informing the bank, insurance companies, checking on wills and power of attorney's. Backing up computer files and transferring data. Of course through all this is making sure flights, a rental car, and a place to stay were sorted on arrival. There were many late/all-nighters spent on phone calls to the UK, awaiting confirmations, and finalising arrangements. We were/are fortunate that D's new employer took care of many costs and arrangements and we just had to make a few choices, decisions and sort out some of the details.
Emails and phone calls were constant, super early mornings and very late nights were par for the course, if we got any sleep at all ; ). Three of us went to get haircuts so there was one less thing to worry about for a number of weeks. We did squeeze in one last gifted dinner at our favourite, the French Café on our last Tuesday evening... and we stayed awake throughout the meal! Our neighbours were super helpful and when they saw the girls beds leave the house with some lucky purchasers, they arrived on our doorstep with camp-stretchers. They also took care of a few other things for us after we left. Great neighbours are awesome and we love/d ours!
Saying goodbye. We had a goodbye-something on every night for those last two weeks. From barbeques and games with friends, to birthday pizza and sleepovers for the girls, to dinners with friends and family, to sitting in our empty living room on the floor drinking who-knows-how-old cheap bubbles with St Germain Elderflower Liqueur discovered in the pantry, from a couple of random mugs and glasses with a handful of remaining cashew nuts. Lunch with Granny who came to Auckland to say goodbye, a farewell visit to Kindy, and a special morning tea with a few blogging-turned-real-life friends. Emotional stuff.
It would be fair to say that those two last weeks were intense. There was no time to process much about what was happening. Things just needed to happen. And they did. And we survived and made it with all limbs intact.
And we remembered to breathe :)