Wednesday, 17 May 2017

International Move - aka Emotional Roller Coaster

So yes, it's all "go" in the Repat household. (Did you notice my banner?) With less than two months till our big move across the Pond, - it's complete chaos here, and I'm not just talking about Donald Trump's Tweets. 

Every day is a roller coaster of emotions - panic (will I get everything done in time?), worry (what have we done?), confusion (still trying to make sense of the dog-shipping rules), resignation (well, it's too late to change our minds now), excitement (just a little, I'm sure that will come once I move down the to-do list), sad (we are leaving out family home), sadder (our family is no longer the nucleus since the big kids don't live with us). You get the picture. 

When people ask me why we're moving I often say "itchy feet", and it's true. I have lived in Chicago longer than I have lived anywhere else, including where I grew up. 27 years. It's a long time and it feels like it's time to do something else. We have no roots here (as in family) although all my kids were born here and obviously feel a huge connection. 

So of course I'm now bumping into people I've known for over twenty years, whether it's while walking the dog or at a social event. I know a lot of people!  It's not good to start reminiscing just before a major move! Enough to make me hide in the dairy aisle at the sight of long lost neighbor or former teacher! 

And packing the house up is a veritable sob fest. Last time we moved I just put everything in boxes and carted it to the new house; with a five month old baby, two older kids and a shiny new publishing deal there wasn't much time for thought about what to take and what to dump. This time we have to weigh up the value of everything we want to ship. Given that it's going to cost thousands to get our stuff over the Atlantic, everything that does come with us had better be worth it's weight. Literally. 

When it comes to memorabilia, as I mentioned in my last post, it's really difficult. I have diaries from when I was about 7. I haven't read them in years, but of course when I got them out for their shipping inspection, I sat down and pored over them. My daughter (home last weekend for the last time in her bedroom - wah!) told me I can throw out all her little girl diaries. Talk about a difficult decision. She also told me she didn't want her koala bear when she went to college in 2011, but was ecstatic when I sent it to her only a few months ago. Sometimes mother knows best!

The ex-Man-Child, now College boy, has been busy selling off bits of his drum set. Every time a Green Day song comes on these days, I am taken back to his daily vocal, drumming and guitar practice in his room, straight after school. Having painted over the DIY graffiti (black marker to cream walls, by the way), and picked the clothes off the floor, his room now bears no resemblance to the room he occupied. Another wah! 

I like to think of myself as someone who isn't averse to change, but really - I'm not doing a very good job of it at the moment. 


  1. You know you will enjoy your life as a repat once it's under way. It's only human to feel pangs at leaving a familiar place with so many memories. You will make many more, wherever you are.

    P.S. Before chucking the diaries, listen to the podcast Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids. It is hilarious, sometimes poignant, and who knows? You or your daughter might want to contribute one day. :-)

    1. Oooh, that would be a great reason to keep them. We are both writers in different genres. That would be freakin' hilarious actually!

  2. So, I assume the older children will be staying here? Just curious.

    Yes, you have a lot to do and a lot of feelings to process. I can't even begin to imagine your stress. Regarding the diaries, is it possible to scan them? Do you have the time for that? Then you could let them go physically while still having them.

    1. Yes! But oldest is completely flown and other lives in his own flat (for now). This is more processing their departure in a way.
      Scanning - another good idea! Thx (In between panic attacks! )

  3. I'm not surprised you feel like that, it's a huge thing you're doing! But well done for grasping the nettle (?) and going for it, change is almost always a good thing and you won't regret it. Incidentally, maybe your other half should start his own blog when you get here - expat Dad?

  4. What made you decide to move back home? It's a big deal, and so emotionally brave.


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