Moving is notably one of life’s great stressors. Factor in an international move and all the changes in work that have gone along with it, I think we’ve hit our quota for the year with regards to hair-pulling events. The last few weeks have been whirlwind. John began a new job, we had to find a long-term place to live, buy furniture, get a car, navigate a new city and get our lives situated here in the United States. In the midst of all that, John got called away on a business trip to Canada, which meant lots of late night phone calls discussing the details of most of the above.
We are super-efficient and worked really hard to accomplish more than I think many people would in the first four weeks. But most of our gains in time were lost because of problems. Not huge problems in the scheme of things, but those little niggling, tremendously annoying, would-have-been-easily-avoided-if-they-were-in-our-control kinds of issues that make you want to run screaming down the street. Yes, even perhaps to the airport and onto the first plane back to Norway where life was at least calm and sorted. Despite the fact that I have moved home almost 20 times now in my adult life and consider myself something of an expert (I even wrote a post with tips to help with your move, should you be or find yourself in the same situation), I still loathe the process.
What’s most frustrating about a big move to me? The absolute joy it saps out of everything. Because when I’m in transition, I’m not relaxed at all about it. I want to move as quickly as possible from the state of flux into a more stable situation. One that’s more predictable and maneuverable. And things that should be fun become un-fun when they become associated with a relocation. Choosing furniture and electronics for our new place? Should be heaps of fun, right? Running around to fifty different stores collecting things and trying to get everything to match and fit is not enjoyable to me at all. But it must be done, and quickly, or large amounts of money would have been lost remaining in temporary housing. And you need certain things to move in to a place. So the mad rush ensued and I found myself forcing out the cheer as I moved like a zombie from one errand to the next. The older I get, the more stress literally makes me sick. The physical toll of running around during a move, coupled with the mental stress and lack of sleep that comes with it really does a number on the body. I've felt it the last few weeks and am just now beginning to recover.
Putting on a smile and trying to enjoy my interactions with the people I came in contact with in the check-out line and on the phone became a saving grace for me. I can't believe I forgot how friendly everything is in the States. People try to help you. Strangers make casual conversation at the supermarket or in a waiting room. I feel like I’ve gotten to know our new home in the last few weeks. Sure, there were a lot more problems with service and quality than we anticipated – in fact, almost every single thing we ordered or had to deal with had problems ranging from damaged furniture to complete incompetence. But at least things got fixed (eventually) and we encountered only a couple of real jerks. We are getting there – albeit slowly. And we are finally at the point where our evenings have become restful again, and not dominated by conversations about “stuff” (oh how we hate “stuff”!)
We’ve even had the opportunity to plan a few summer trips! At the end of the month we’ll be joining close friends in Miami for a long weekend of fun. We’ll also be hitting Las Vegas for the Fourth of July weekend, with some great activities already planned. And in August we’re taking to the road in New England for a tour of Maine and a couple of other destinations up that way. My sincere hope is that things quiet down on the organization front soon so that we can focus a bit more on exploring our new surroundings. We already have a long wish-list of local places to visit, including Austin, San Antonio and New Orleans. One thing is for sure: we are never going to be bored in the USA!
Have you dealt with a major move lately? What was the most difficult thing about it?