Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I am out of the habit of blogging, so I have to remind myself that only the people I see regularly really know what the process of moving overseas has been like for us.  Steve was initially approached about the opportunity last April, so it has been a long time coming. Then there were some personnel surprises last summer so that pushed things back indefinitely. Steve has basically been covering the jobs of several people, doing his best to make it work until he can hand over the reins to his replacement and one or the other of them can fill the vacancies. Meanwhile Steve knows how much his presence is anticipated/needed over in Sweden, so he is currently trying to stabilize things stateside and get to Sweden as soon as he can. That's a lot of pressure since neither side is going to just tell him, "Okay, it's time to move."  The start date in Sweden is flexible, so on one hand that's good for tying up loose ends here, but doesn't give us a definite move date.

Initially I was super excited to go. We had an apartment, the kids were signed up for an international preschool, I was paring down our my junk...  But as the months wear on our friends and family frequently want to know how much longer they have with us, and I feel like the boy who cried wolf.  "Maybe two more months," I'd guess, not really knowing. "Have you started packing?" they'd ask, and I'd admit I hadn't.  And then in August we had to give up the preschool spots in Sweden, so once I came to terms with that (it's pretty competitive) I was okay with being in Virginia for a while longer. We have friends, family, a house, a great preschool, a wonderful church...  And we won't have any of that when we get to Sweden.

There have been a stack of boxes under the stairs packed with my grandparents' china and Fiestaware. Untouched.  For many years.  It's easy to ignore them because they're out of sight, but I finally faced the music and admitted that I'm never going to use the dishes. Plus selling on eBay gave me another great packing-procrastination tactic, and now I'm out of bubble wrap.In December Steve did finally sign a contract for the position in Sweden so we felt like that made things official, and in January he began training his replacement (who seems to be great, thankfully).  The work visa application had to wait until after Steve had a planned business trip to Sweden in January (he couldn't be in Sweden during the process), so hopefully we'll hear soon about that.

The thought of packing a house full of stuff is overwhelming.  What we don't pack the movers will pack, so that helps a lot.  They can't do everything, though.  Right now my focus is on the items that are coming with us, separating them out from the items going into storage.  Our favorite clothes, the kids' favorite (small) toys, my most-used tools and materials from my studio, books we think we'll read (there are few books available in English over there)... Don't tell our kids but I just took a big load of (old, unloved) toys to the thrift store. I had to wait to do it while they were at preschool so they wouldn't notice. Don't get me started about how many snow days we've had lately.  It has consistently been warmer in Gothenburg lately.  They do get snow, but wind and rain are more common weather threats.

I was thinking we should sell our cars and embrace public transportation, but even Steve's colleagues who live in the city drive cars. So I added "price out having Steve's car shipped over" to my to-do list since it's only 2 years old, we love it, and Nissan does have a presence in Sweden.  Plus Sweden's cargo port is Gothenburg so once it's there we can just take the tram over to pick it up.  Still gotta find insurance and a place to park...

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