Starting Move Preparations

The move prep has begun. We are roughly 6-7 months out. An exact move date has not been set but we know the window. I’ve been researching our next city for a little while. I’m trying to connect with other moms of young children who are currently there or have left recently. One of the big dilemmas I’m having is figuring out a stroller.

I’ve read 2 different lines of thinking in terms of the city. Some recommend a sturdy stroller with big wheels to navigate the less than stellar sidewalks. Some recommend something lightweight and easily folded because there are reportedly a lot of stairs leading to metro stations and underground walkways. So do you see why I’m a little unsure? To me, sturdy big wheeled strollers don’t normally seem very light and easy to fold up!

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Our current stroller, not exactly easy to carry or fold up!

I’m leaning toward the lightweight stroller side. I just can’t imagine carrying my current full sized stroller up and down stairs and controlling my 2 small children at the same time. My daughter would probably be fine, but my little guy will be just over a year at that point, probably not an expert walker.  I’m thinking of trying to find a double McLaren umbrella stroller. My daughter can walk most of the time, but I think having the option of the extra seat will be good on days we’re traveling and out and about all day long.

The other “project” that has been occupying my mind is buying clothes ahead for the kids. I’ve been told that children’s clothing where we’re going is not the quality we’re used to and/or expensive for what it is. So it was suggested to me to try to buy ahead and bring a good amount of clothing with us. I’ve been playing the guessing game with what sizes I think they will each need, and it’s hard!

Since the place we’re going will be very cold in the winter (and will have a long winter) we need warm coats, hats, gloves, snow suits, boots, etc. I have warm coats for just everyday wear but still need to find ones that will be suitable for snow. I have yet to order boots for either one. I’m scouring sale racks, asking friends/family, and watching resale pages to see if I can find any deals.

It seems sort of silly that I’m thinking so much about this. Surely if we don’t have enough clothes, or don’t find an item it can be purchased there. There’s always the option of ordering things once we get there but I have no idea how long it would take for the shipments to arrive. So for now, I’m doing my best to stock up! I debated adding a picture of the stash I’m building but it’s currently a messy pile in a messy closet!

We have completed physicals for everyone to make sure there’s no medical issues that would need special attention. Lucky for us, we seem to be good to go! Next up is passports. Which reminds me I need to check mine to see how many empty pages are left. We’ve been slowly purging and organizing the garage (which still has a LONG way to go). We’re making notes of boxes that are going to storage, and boxes that are coming with us. We have crammed the most essential Christmas items into a Rubbermaid tub. “Christmas in a box” as we’re calling it.

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I read a post that talked about these labels being a lifesaver during a move. Hoping the color coding of boxes and rooms will make things easier.

So that’s where we’re at now. I will try to keep updating on our progress for anyone who’s interested in what goes into an international move. Have you moved abroad before? What are your best tips?

Preparing for the Next Adventure

When we found out we were moving to Germany, we were ecstatic.  It was our first choice of available options, and it seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime, neither one of us had been to Europe before.  It was our chance to explore and take in all the continent has to offer.  We also knew it would be temporary.  We would eventually return to the U.S. This took a little bit of the fear factor away.  It would just be a one time fun adventure we would get to experience as newlyweds without children.  While we were living there, a few things changed.  We started our family and we made a career shift that would take us into a lifestyle where living abroad would become the new normal.

Many of our friends and some members of our family have a hard time relating to why on earth we would want this lifestyle.  There’s many reasons behind it.  Most of all is the idea of taking opportunities to see and do things you would’ve never imagined you would do!  Do we like being far away from the people we love-of course not. But I don’t know that either of us would have been totally fulfilled by settling down into one place just yet. We’ve been bitten by the travel and adventure bug and there’s so much out there to see and do. Besides, I think neither of us is quite sure exactly where we would want to put down permanent roots yet.

Since we have been in California, we have known that we will eventually be returning to Europe, we just were not sure exactly where we would end up.  It’s been always in the back of our minds.  We’ve been toying with different scenarios and possibilities.  Musing of what might be, and wondering when we would know for sure.

Well, we found out where the next stop in our crazy abroad life will be.  There’s a mix of emotions happening.  Excitement for the possibilities.  Relief that other expats have good things to say about this city and country.  Fear for the unknown. Nervousness about a new language and new culture. And also managing the fears, questions, and expectations of friends and family.

So what’s next?  We have almost a year to prepare, so how do you start?  With Google, Facebook, and Pinterest!  Researching, reading articles, message boards, finding people to reach out to.  Right now we are gathering big picture pieces of information.  As time goes on the questions will become more specific.  We will also eventually need to work on updating passports, medical checks, and deciding what household items will come along and which will stay behind.

And though it’s sort of mean to throw this out there without revealing where we are going (although close family and friends have already been told), I’m going to hold off for now as our plans have already changed once. Yep, we found out where we were going, started researching, and already it has changed. So as the move closes in, and things become more firmed up I will share.