Sunday, July 17, 2011
How to get from Point A to Point B
I underestimated what it takes to move a family from point A in the States to point B in another country. I knew there would be some paperwork involved, a visit to find a home and then the packers would come and whisk all of our things away. Easy enough, right?! Not quite.
This post is for all of my friends that might take an international assignment with Big Yellow or to remind myself in a few years when it's time to return to the States what all is involved in an international move.
After Jamie and I agreed that he would accept the new position and he had been approved, the emails started rolling in and a big to-do list was created. If you think of it like a wheel, we are the middle and there are many spokes that connect to us to make a move happen, but they are independent of each other.
Here is a short list of what we have done so far:
*Read a 45 page document on what is involved with an international move
*Pictures for our Visas (that is an entire post on it's own), thankfully we all had our passports
*Teleconference with our moving coordinator to review all of the benefits associated with moving
*Attend a one-day cultural training program at our home about China
*Teleconference with the tax preparation people since moving outside of the US complicates the tax return a bit
*One week house-finding & school-finding trip in China, also open a Chinese bank account & get a cell phone
*Start a mail-forwarding service & meet the person handling our mail
*Schedule all of our dental, doctor, eye, etc. exams before leaving
*Additional vaccinations such as typhoid and Japanese encephalitis
*Meet with the counselor to learn about the availability of counseling provided to all international service employees
*Make a decision on whether to sell/rent our home and move forward with those plans
*Find a home for our cat & fish (thanks mom!)
*Sell our cars
*Purchase items for China that we wanted (clothes, detergent, health & beauty products, converters, etc.)
*Tour storage facility in East Peoria (for those things that weren't coming with us)
*Pack up items for storage, air shipment (4ft x 4ft x 5ft container), sea shipment (semi-truck length), checked baggage (3 bags per person) and the rest to Goodwill, garage sales or garbage
Jamie has had to do many more things at work that I wasn't even able to help with. Thank goodness for good friends and family because our children have spent so much time at other people's homes while we were in meetings, on the phone, packing & organizing our things, and out-of-the country. The girls spent more time with my friends in the last two months than I did, I'm trying to not be bitter about it!
I jokingly told Jamie that I would see him in August because I felt like we were dividing and conquering and we wouldn't really be back in a routine until August. We were getting things done, but we had to go in opposite directions to make it happen. Every night we'd get the girls into bed look at each and say "power through" (the fatigue) and start working on our to-do list. I am very glad to be getting to the end of the list, even though I know more is coming, it's nice to have a break for a moment.