Settling In

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.

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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!

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Have you dealt with a major move lately? What was the most difficult thing about it?


  1. Ali 26 June, 2013 at 05:37 Reply

    Yep moving sucks. Moving to Germany was so stressful for me. I can totally relate to stress affecting you physically. I started breaking out in hives about a week before I left for Germany, and they didn’t go away until about a week or so after I got there. I was constantly freaking out about things, and sometimes I got so overwhelmed with how much I had to do, I just froze, not knowing what to do next. I hope to never do a big move like that again. I’m glad to hear things are finally starting to settle down for you, and hopefully the worst is past you now!

    • inspiringtravellers 1 July, 2013 at 06:58

      Oh wow – I had the same reaction when I moved from New York to Perth several years ago. I broke out in a horrible rash and didn’t know what was going on. Everything was just so overwhelming. I haven’t had a “moving rash” since then but I can feel the stress in my body for sure…only gets worse as we get older…

  2. Vid | Bruised Passports 15 June, 2013 at 07:50 Reply

    I can never decide whether I am happy or sad about a big move – the four times I have had to move in my life, I have hated the packing bit, but have loved everything after that (even the unpacking bit ;))…there is no big move in the foreseeable future – fortunately and unfortunately :) my biggest move was from Singapore to London after 8 years living in Singapore – but I was single then and left most of the crap behind lol

    Moving as a couple is definitely more work.

    Glad that you are (re)settling in well 😉


    • inspiringtravellers 15 June, 2013 at 10:42

      I think the older you get, the harder it is too. You become more fussy and have accumulated more stuff. We’re just super-grateful that this move was paid-for by John’s employer because everything associated with moving in and out of Norway is $$$$$…thanks for sharing your thoughts and well-wishes! =)

  3. Jess @UsedYorkCity 15 June, 2013 at 04:16 Reply

    Welcome to the USA!;-) True, there is definitely plenty to explore here, and lots of great weekend trips to be had! Sounds like you guys are going to have a fabulous summer, I’m a huge fan of Vegas and Miami!:-)

    • inspiringtravellers 15 June, 2013 at 10:41

      Thanks, Jess! Not sure if you know that I’m American so I’m back after about 8 years away…everything is new for John though 😉

    • inspiringtravellers 14 June, 2013 at 13:46

      Thanks, Matthew – I have not been to Miami since my university studies ended there over a decade ago…I am really looking forward to it! And New England

  4. Marina K. Villatoro 14 June, 2013 at 11:12 Reply

    I understand completely! Moving to a different country can drive you mad. I have some experience with that, but you won’t let me lie: there is also something that makes it all extremely exciting.

    • inspiringtravellers 14 June, 2013 at 13:46

      You’re right, Marina, it is definitely exciting. And in my quiet moments I am definitely savoring that =)

  5. Celina Conner 14 June, 2013 at 02:05 Reply

    Hi Andrea and John!

    It’s good to hear that your move was pretty much successful. Especially, now that John has a job! That’s a super blessing already!

    Good luck on your home organization that’s one of the best parts of a move. You get to re-organize everything. As in, everything :)

  6. Andrea 13 June, 2013 at 17:21 Reply

    I can’t believe you left Norway for the Us! I thought you’d just settled into Norwegian life? I guess I haven’t been following along closely enough. 😉

    • inspiringtravellers 14 June, 2013 at 13:45

      Ahh, I guess we move way too quick, haha. Norway wasn’t the place for us in the long-term so we took a great opportunity and jumped. Hoping to stick around longer in the new place

  7. Laurel 13 June, 2013 at 16:07 Reply

    Moving is always stressful, no matter how organized you are. Sounds like you guys have handled it really well though as stressful as it is. Hope you get settled in soon.

  8. Kyle 13 June, 2013 at 12:46 Reply

    Friendly small talk is seriously one of my favorite things about the U.S. It’s amazing how nice people are here and I try never to take that for granted.

    Can’t wait to unstress you out in Miami :)

  9. Eurotrip Tips 13 June, 2013 at 09:56 Reply

    I recently had to face the same problem when I moved back to Montreal a few weeks ago. I only just finished everything and for the first time since I got back, I can officially say I’m settled. But boy, has it been a circus in here!

    Have fun in your new life in the US and can’t wait to read about that roadtrip!

    • inspiringtravellers 14 June, 2013 at 13:43

      I did not know you were moving back to Montreal! So happy you are all settled in and good luck =)

  10. Krista 13 June, 2013 at 03:19 Reply

    Oh gosh, I feel your pain!! I HATE the stress of moving too – so much. There seem to be an outrageous decisions to be made RIGHT NOW, just when you’re so tired you can barely think of climbing into bed let alone what cable company you want to use. Wishing you serious rest and relaxation in the days ahead. Welcome home! :-)

  11. TammyOnTheMove 13 June, 2013 at 01:42 Reply

    Oh I feel for you. When we left for Cambodia we had to pack up all of our belongings and furniture into storage. As a German I’d like to say I am quite efficient, but even I felt utterly overwhelmed with the amount of things I had to do. Moving to a different country is certainly not easy. Glad you managed it all now. Treating yourself to a few mini breaks will definitely help. :-)

    • inspiringtravellers 14 June, 2013 at 13:42

      It doesn’t matter how efficient you are because there will always be inefficient and/or incompetent people to thwart your efforts! Thanks for your warm wishes! =)

  12. Heather 12 June, 2013 at 23:49 Reply

    I’ll be feeling your pain in September when we move from Shanghai back to the States for a bit. I’m already organizing and purging to make those last few weeks as stress-free as possible!

  13. Emily in Chile 12 June, 2013 at 18:13 Reply

    I’m glad you’re getting settled in and sorted out – moving is never fun! Sad we can’t join you in Miami, but I’m sure that will be the perfect reward for all your work running errands and unpacking boxes.

  14. Michaela 12 June, 2013 at 16:38 Reply

    Nice to have you guys nearby!;) Glad to hear you are feeling more settled in. Enjoy it down there in the warm weather!

    • inspiringtravellers 14 June, 2013 at 13:40

      Thanks, Michaela! It’s a little too warm for our liking but at least it’s only unbearable for a couple of months a year

  15. Jeremy Branham 12 June, 2013 at 16:24 Reply

    It’s been a few years since I’ve had to move. However, it’s never a fun situation. The more stuff you have the more hectic it is. Traveling is much easier than moving but I do love being settled in a home. It’s a great base for trips and exploring :)

    • inspiringtravellers 14 June, 2013 at 13:39

      I agree, Jeremy – it will be really nice to be all settled in somewhere…and we’re going to do our best to stick around this time!

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