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.
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?