Lost in Transition

March 24, 2012

This is my 17th home move in less than thirty years. While the process does become easier over time it’s never fun, especially with an overseas relocation. After spending time in Singapore and the Netherlands along the way, we’ve finally landed in beautiful Norway. Luckily the Norwegians seem like a friendly, warm-hearted bunch and having nice people around you during a transition makes things much more pleasant. But John and I are both ready for this phase to be over already.

We’ve traded our swimsuits for raincoats.

What’s the problem you may be wondering? There hasn’t been anything too severe, just  a string of annoyances along the way. So I’ll start with the positives: we got to catch up with one of our really good friends in Singapore, we had great flights all along the way here, the weather in Amsterdam was absolutely brilliant for this time of the year and now it seems Stavanger is also having a spell of unseasonably good weather (perhaps we brought the warmth with us from Australia?) We even made it here with all of our excess baggage without being forced to pay extra! I hate travelling with a lot of stuff but when you’re moving you just have to do it. It’s either drag weeks worth of clothing and all your valuables with you on the plane or wear the same four outfits for three months while you wait for your container storage to arrive, and risk losing items like jewelery and irreplaceable documents. But I’m sure watching us negotiate four different airports with all our crap was a laughable sight.

Now for the whinge. We’re completely burnt out on travel after being on the road continuously for all of last year. So we’re over every bit of making our way through airports (if I’m ever nostalgic for the “old days” this is where I’d start), living out of suitcases, dealing with broken and uncomfortable items in hotel rooms, slow service, restaurant meals and the sheer expense of being on the move all the time. Someone missed a signature on John’s visa application and its approval is now weeks behind schedule. No one bothered to let us know about the delay until we actually got here so we could have been enjoying more time in a cheaper location while we wait. Instead we’re spending a small fortune living in Norway before beginning work. We can’t do much here until that’s granted – John’s start date, opening a bank account and applying for my permit are all on hold. Thankfully we’re able to start looking for a house while we wait. But we’re spending a lot more than we would have had we been aware of the delay.

Periods of transition are rarely easy and trouble-free. Having done this before and being completely worn down from my previous experiences with visa applications, moving, bureaucracy and being forced to be dependent on other people’s competence and communication, I’ve resolved to stay Zen about it all. I’m currently drawing strength from the wise words of Winston Churchill:

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

So let’s look on the bright side. We’re in gorgeous Stavanger with more free time to spend together and explore our new surroundings (I’ll introduce you in my next post). We’ve started looking at homes to rent and love what we’ve seen of the area. Stavanger looks like a promising place for a wonderful lifestyle and a base for exploring the rest of Europe. These things happen all the time. It’s not raining. We’re not bored. I think we’re going to make it…eventually.

Have you ever moved overseas? What was the most challenging aspect of it all for you?


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34 Comments on "Lost in Transition"


3 years 3 months ago

Oh dear! Sorry to hear this happened. My move to Berlin was not as smooth as it could have been either … but you guys are pros by now.

Hope now you’re settled in by now and resting up from your long traveling journey. :)

3 years 3 months ago

We’re getting there – I still need to have my visa approved and still waiting for my mobile SIM card to come in the mail. And we need to find doctors but that’s not an emergency…it always takes time. I have to say, settling in Norway has gone a lot faster than expected, despite any hiccups!

3 years 3 months ago

When I moved abroad the biggest frustration was getting the paperwork (visas, bank accounts, payroll) done and having to complete forms several times over. It was especially hard because it was all out of my hands and I just had to trust “Inshallah…” which is always difficult for a Westerner. The good thing is that once everything is set, it’s set! And you don’t have to worry about it again until move #18!

thetravelchica
3 years 4 months ago

I cannot believe you’ve moved so many times!  I have never had to move out of the state (at least not as an adult), let alone the country!

3 years 4 months ago

I know, it’s crazy. I’ve only done seven or eight long distance/international moves but from the comments I’ve received already, it sounds like this is not the norm, haha

3 years 4 months ago

I can’t even imagine being on the road for a whole year, so it must be frustrating to have a more stable life so close in reach, but yet a visa stamp away (I’ve had my share of immigration worries). Hopefully you can enjoy the time off before work starts and get to know the new place better without worrying too much about your finances being drained in the meantime. This too shall pass! In the meantime… hang in there!

3 years 4 months ago

The finances are the only real concern – unfortunately in Norway you need your personal ID number to do almost everything. Thanks for the words of encouragement – hope it comes soon (I’m jumping every time the phone rings, haha)

3 years 4 months ago

You have moved 17 times?! I’m just about to do it for the first time ever and I don’t like it! haha

3 years 4 months ago

Including all my local home moves within state (7), that’s the number – crazy, huh?

 

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