“Only a fool is not afraid.”
— Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
Who DOES that?!?!?!?!
So, as most of you have heard by now, we are about to go on another Big Adventure. David has accepted a position as ♦ Principal AI Programmer at Splash Damage Games in Bromley. This will be the second time in 5 years that the kids and I will be moving to a country in which we have never spent time (well, a couple hours layover in Heathrow…. ). David is our Man of Experience on this move, having spent 2 days in Bromley when he was interviewing. We got the offer Friday, finalized paperwork today, and David expects to begin on the 20th of October. So….. Wow. That happened. And now, we need to *make* it happen. We hope to make the move in about 6 weeks. Ready, steady, GO GO GO!!!! This time around it seems unlikely that we will have a personalized Moving Helper (Sanja is STILL a saint in my book!) So, yes, we are about to move countries again and we really have very little first person information to go on or official assistance once we arrive. Seriously, WHO does that? I guess, apparently we do!
♦ (His job will be to teach the games’ NPCs/Computer Opponents what to do and how to think when confronted with the Player(s) in order to simulate intelligence. )
The Mental and Emotional Process: Its Complicated
To say our heads are abuzz would be to put it very mildly. In some ways we are more prepared than when we made the journey to Germany. We definitely have less Stuff to deal with, we are only moving about 500 miles, not 5,000, and, of course, we are moving to an English Speaking Country. But, the more we get into our lists, the more we realize that every single thing has 37 unknown caveats underneath it. This time we are moving between 2 non-US countries, and that makes for an awful lot of ” Oh, crap, wait”…. moments. We have lists within lists in multiple languages and I would be lying if I said that we have felt like it was under control for even one second since this all started. Control is not a luxury we have. And, yeah, that is scary.
There is quite a LOT of Scary here! Also,
- Sad: Gonna miss friends, still miss the US and friends and family there
- Happy: Cool new place to explore! Lots of potential! English! Scones!
- Frustration: Why isn’t this easier? I have to jump though HOW many hoops?
- Worry: What if it doesn’t work out?
- Joy: Forward Movement!
- Relief: Finally, it seems to be working out!
- Regret: If only we had done X,Y,&Z *this* could maybe have worked out better…
- Doubt: What the eff were we thinking? There is no way this can work out.
- Terror: If this doesn’t actually work out we are SOOO SCREWED!
- Confusion: Wait, a Shilling is how much of a Pound? And that compares to a Euro how- and that all converts to US Dollars in what way?
- Bewilderment: Seriously, all the girls have to wear pleated skirts and knee socks to school- all the way through high school?!
- Amusement: OMG, our new town has a Dursley Road!
- And, of course, mostly NUMB because your emotions can literally only feel ALL THE FEELS for so long before you collapse into a quivery mass of exhaustion.
I have been describing it “Like one of those animated flip books with a different emotion on each page, randomly. It comes quickly, in patches and you are never sure what the next thing will be, but it just keeps moving and dancing along!”
The Logistical Process: It’s Complicated
Here is a short list of a few of the questions we have been working through. We have answers for some, others are still works in progress, but it should give an idea of what is involved.
- Immigration to England: Are we all eligible? DD is over 18 now, what needs to be done there? What limitations or restrictions do we have? What do we need to watch out for to make sure it all goes smoothly?
- Finding Housing: How do we find a place that will suit us while still living here? What do we need to do to convince a landlord to rent to us? How do we balance the costs of commuting vs. the higher costs of living closer to town center? That first guy David talked with snottily told him “No pets or children”–Is that even legal? No kids in a normal house? Wow. What is the difference between a Mid-terrace, Maisonette, semi-detached, cottage, flat, etc. How thin *are* the walls?
- Driving: How hard is it to drive on the left side of the road? Can we take our car? If so, what hoops must we jump through? What extra costs are there? If we can’t take it, how do we replace it? *Do* we replace it?
- Commuting by transit: How expensive is it? How do you pay for it? How long does it really take from various locations?
- Extricating from Germany: Germany, as we have mentioned before, is not set up for easy moving. You have to give 3 months notice, so how do we balance out leaving here with arriving there in the most efficient manner given that Cash On Hand is not a non-issue? What do we need to do to get our hefty deposit back? What do we do with articles we may not be able to take with us? How do we deal with all accounts and outstanding bills? How much paperwork DO we have to file as we go out the door?
- The Actual Move: How do we find a mover that is reputable and inexpensive enough not to cost us more than our moving allowance? Is it more efficient to sell some items here and buy them fresh there rather than try to actually move them? Which electronics items from here will work there?
- Medical: Coming here, it was a non-issue. Needless to say, that is no longer the case. How do we get our medical records transferred across? Can I have the same treatment there as I am getting here? What happens after 3 months when our Enhanced Insurance kicks in? How do we make sure we have enough Meds for the transition? What if one of the kids is still in braces when we leave? Can we get David’s tooth finished in time?
- Schools: How do English Schools compare to the European School system? To the US system? Since the UK schools go 12 years and DD is going into her 13th year of the European School System should she really be in school or should she just study for exams? If she isn’t in school does that change her immigration status? How do we figure out all these schools with names like Academy or and is there any easy way to tell if it is a Religious School or just named after the local Saint Street it is located near? How DO exams work? How will they handled DS’s dysgraphia and ADD? How do we make sure he is in his best-fit school? Will he be able to take German?
- If you have a Washing Machine in your British kitchen, where do you *dry* your clothes?
The list goes on and on and gets oddly longer the more answers we get.
So, stay tuned. I will update here with information, stories, challenges, photos etc as we go through the process of the move and, hopefully, knock wood, learn to love our new location!
Tschuss for now!