Happy New Zealand Anniversary!

Today marks one year exactly since we landed in New Zealand! It’s hard to describe the emotions I’m feeling today. It doesn’t help that while it’s September 12 here in New Zealand, it’s still 9/11 back in the States and I have my FB feed full of memories of that horrible day. So I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to celebrate this day of arrival for us, perhaps we’ll merely mark it as a passage of time going forward.

I don’t know if anyone reads this blog, so I don’t know if there’s anyone that’s noticed how long it’s been since my last post. I haven’t written anything here for over 3 months. Not sure why. Maybe it was partly because it was winter. While it was a MUCH milder winter than even the mildest Colorado winter, it was winter nonetheless. Colder, wetter, windier weather. Lots of illness (LOTS of it!) meant that we stayed home a lot and just tried to rest and come to terms with things here.

A couple of posts ago I included an image that depicts the normal wave of positivity vs negativity when moving to a new country. For the last few months we have definitely been feeling the lows. I’ve been nervous to really write about them. First, because I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up. Never have we even once considered moving back to the US. Anytime things get bad and we find ourselves thinking ‘this isn’t what we signed up for’ or ‘what did we get ourselves into?’ we take a step back and ask each other ‘Have any of the reasons we moved here changed or disappeared?’ And the answer is always no. Because the real reason that we moved here is that we wanted a better life for our son. And even though the way we measure a ‘better’ life may have changed, the fact that New Zealand is a better environment for him vs the USA has not. I have experienced some surprise and frustration that the pre-school system here is QUITE different than what I was expecting (maybe a whole post on this subject is needed – I’ve learned quite a lot about it since we got here), but none of that can compare with the idea that in the US, even my pre-schooler may have to practice active shooter drills. So no, we are not going back. Sorry to disappoint anyone that may have been holding out hope.

Second, I didn’t really want to write about how BAD things have been because no one wants to hear that kind of stuff. Not when you’re on an adventure in a beautiful country and doing something that most people only dream of being able to do in their lives. I’ve often felt like complaining about my life would be a slap in the face to everyone who’s supporting us. But the truth is – there are bad things. Turns out that Ben’s company started a major restructure before he was hired, and it has persisted throughout his first year here. There are SO many changes happening that it would be hard for anyone to keep their head on straight. It’s scaring away a lot of the long time and even new employees, who just want what they are used to having. So Ben goes to work every day not knowing what to expect. Our house, while it is a cute little blue house with a BUNCH of renovations inside, is still a huge pain in the ass. Why? Mostly because it is on the main street. Yup. It’s called High Street (irony, as we moved here from Colorado). It is a main thoroughfare through our town of Lower Hutt. And because we are RIGHT on it, we can not only hear every single vehicle that drives by, but we can FEEL the larger trucks that rattle the road as they go by. And we can feel this all the way in the very back of our house at the furthest point from the road. Think it’s not so bad to hear traffic going by? Well, what about if it’s going by you about 15 feet from where you’re sleeping? And because the house you live in is on the historical register, the front two rooms literally cannot have any remodeling work done. Meaning that there is no insulation or double paned windows in our bedrooms to help muffle the sound. All we can do is use a noise machine and hope we can fall/stay asleep. So, life here has it’s ups and downs just like anywhere else.

So now what? We’ve been here a year. What’s next? Well, for us it’s mostly life as normal. I’m taking Early Childhood Education classes for free as part of our membership with PlayCentre. Speaking of PlayCentre, Patrick will be going two days a week starting next term (terms are like quarters here. There are 4 terms per year, the 1st one starting in late Jan/early Feb and they run about 9-10 weeks each with a 2 week break in between. Then there’s a longer break over the holidays between Term 4 and Term 1). Ben is looking into networking in the Video Game industry here in NZ. He’d LOVE to get a good paying full time job doing video game development. That’s the dream. We’re also planning for Ben’s parents and sister (and her wife) to come for a visit in the next two months. We are really having fun trying to plan all of the different things to do while they are here (his parents are staying for nearly two months! 🙂 ). I’ve been eating healthier and working out more in hopes of losing weight and feeling better. I enjoy getting up in the morning and going for a 20-30 minute walk/jog around our neighborhood. It’s a great way for me to connect with New Zealand and also get in some ‘Me’ time. We’ve met some really great friends and are enjoying spending time with them as we are feeling more and more settled here in our lives in New Zealand.

I really hope that in the next couple of months we get out of the funk we are in. I’m sure we will, as we will have family visiting for the holidays, and that was one of the HARDEST times for us in this last year. It’ll be so nice to be able to make more memories with family. Until next time (whenever that may be…)

The Unknown

So here’s the thing…I haven’t decided yet if I like living in New Zealand.

It’s been nearly 9 months and I have a daily struggle to decide if I like it here or not. Last night Ben and I had a long talk about some of the things that we are experiencing in New Zealand, and we realized that part of the problem is what he calls the unknown unknown. Let me explain.

Before any big change you expect that there are going to be a lot of unknowns. Some people let the fear of the unknown keep them from doing things. When we decided to move to New Zealand we realized there were A LOT of unknowns. We kind of embraced the idea and just took a leap of faith.

Now that we’ve been here for about 9 months, we realize that there are (at least) two types of unknowns: the known unknown and the unknown unknown. The first is something you realize you don’t know, but have every intention of getting to know. For example: I did not spend a lot of time reading up about what the process will be like for Patrick to get his driver’s license eventually. I know that it’s something I need to learn about, but for now it isn’t a high priority so I plan to learn about it at some point. It is a known unknown to me. On the other hand, Ben recently got a ticket for $200 because his car’s registration had expired by 4 days. That lead us down the rabbit hole of the unknown unknown. The system is slightly different in this country for verifying your car is fit to drive. It has to have an inspection (and pass) to receive a Warrant of Fitness (or WOF – a sticker on the car), and then it has to be registered (another sticker, usually on the windshield). Seems simple enough. Well, when we purchased our cars the WOF sticker was already on the car and we just had to register it. I literally had no idea that we would have to get a WOF ever again. Is that something that I could (and probably should) have looked into after buying a car? Yes. But unless you know to ask the question, how would you know to ask the question? That’s the idea of the known unknown vs. the unknown unknown.

So how do I find answers to questions I don’t even know I’m supposed to ask? Where are good resources for these kinds of things?

This has mostly come up because we have started looking into the process of buying a house here. In the states, between Ben and myself, we had purchased 3 homes. Here, the rules are different and we are not citizens, so we have additional restrictions placed on us that we’d never even had to consider in the US. One of the biggest differences is the down payment. In the US, lenders typically include the amount for the down payment in your loan. Whereas here you are expected to contribute the down payment on your own. Some people save, some people use their 401k (known as KiwiSaver here), but a lot of people never buy, because the down payments here can be OUTRAGEOUS. Because we are not New Zealand citizens we are expected to provide 20% as a down payment. That is a lot of moolah. And one final, but VERY important difference is that housing prices here are much, much, much higher. Prices are similarly higher when the location is considered better (close to shops, on a main road, easy access to the motorway, good schools nearby). However, here it seems that newer houses are generally more affordable. This is likely due to the fact that older houses already exist in the preferred neighborhoods. New houses and new developments are further away from the desirable locations by definition. I am a fan of the newer builds because this country is only recently imposing standards such as double paned windows and heating/cooling systems to be built into homes. Older homes are cold and usually have a fireplace and not much else for heat. So I am happy to buy a newer home in a new area. But that will also require us to live further from Ben’s job (right now his commute is literally a 5 minute drive).

It’s all a trade. A compromise. You make a list of your needs. Then your wants. You talk to the bank and find out how much they will loan you (generally 5 times your salary) and then you save up the money for the down payment. Once everything is ready, you have your down payment funds available you have to find a house. I won’t say THE house. Because home buying here is a little nuts. Some homes are sold by receiving multiple offers and then going thru each one until you find the one you like. Some are sold at auction. Some are sold the more traditional US way of just accepting offers until you receive one you like. But it means that if you find a house you like, they may receive literally hundreds of other offers. And because the housing market here is NUTS, those offers can sometimes be HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS HIGHER THAN THE VALUE OF THE HOME.

Oh, wait, I haven’t talked about that part yet, have I? The house that we had in Castle Rock would easily go for 2-3 times as much as we paid for it here. That means a house that was approx $350,000 in the US would be $700,000 – $1,000,000 here. And even though the US dollar is worth approximately 1.51 NZD right how, it’s still incredibly daunting to try to save up 20% cash before we can even make an offer on a $500,000 house. For those that aren’t good at math, that means we need $100,00 NZD in order to have the down payment for a house (or $66,000 USD). That’s a lot of money for the three of us to try to save up before we can buy a house.

Which brings me back to my first statement. I haven’t decided if I like it here yet or not. The idea that I don’t know the things I don’t know combined with the idea that we could literally be saving for YEARS before we can even afford to buy a house, all the while the prices of houses keeps going up (as it has for the last decade). I just don’t know yet. But Ben made a good point last night. I’ll share it with you all and then bid you goodnight.

The thing about this place is that it is what you make of it. That’s true no matter where you are. I guess I need to just keep this in mind before I start getting too bogged down in any negative.

Cheers to you all!

 

 

 

Rain, Rain, Rain

The rainy season has begun here in New Zealand. It is both refreshing and reassuring for me at the moment. I love how it smells after it rains. And here, since it’s winter, the smell of wood burning fireplaces mingles with the fresh rain scent and makes me feel…happy. Yes, rain makes me happy. I think that means I picked a good place to live. The rain is reassuring because I am still feeling a bit down about the move. Nothing serious, but one of those normal feelings after such a large move.

It’s a very strange feeling to be heading into winter and NOT have Christmas and the holiday season to look forward to. Even now, I am sitting in my living room with the heater on and the rain coming down in sheets outside, and all I want to be able to do is put on the Christmas songs and wrap presents. So for now I’ll settle on planning a birthday party for Patrick and wrapping those presents.

A friend of ours has also suggested doing a winter/harvest appreciation dinner. I think it’s a great idea! Maybe we can do a turkey 🙂 In the past, we’ve done a ‘Friendsgiving’ in the spring, so this could be a very similar event. The only downside? Our house isn’t big enough for a large gathering with a meal being served. So someone else would have to host. But maybe our friends who suggested it could host? Sorry, at this point this post is more about me thinking out loud than it is about anything else. Glad you came for an update? Ha ha…

 

Stages of Settling In

I can officially say that the honeymoon phase is over.

There are phases or stages of moving to a new country. We knew that going in. We knew that for the first little while we would love everything about our move. Even the things that we didn’t love we glossed over or just accepted as a silly one off, or just something that doesn’t really get to us. Everything is roses. For us, we constantly found ourselves saying ‘Ha ha, we live in New Zealand!’ It was a very normal thing for us to experience.

This week will mark 7 months since we arrived here, and though we are finally feeling like things are settling, we are both experiencing some of the lows of moving overseas. We are feeling a fair amount of homesickness. We are also noticing that things that were maybe considered a nuisance at first are now feeling more and more like a thorn in our sides. Even now, I’m underplaying it. There are times when the feeling of being so far from our previous life can feel depressingly paralyzing. That’s not to say that we regret our choice to move here. We are, in all realistic and purposeful ways, very happy we made the move. But we are experiencing a normal drop in excitement. The Immigration New Zealand website has a great page (and graphic) about this. I’ll link to the page below and show the graphic so that it’s easier to see what I mean.

https://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz/living-in-nz/settling-in/stages-of-settling-in

Settlement Chart

To be fair, I think this curve is different for everyone. It certainly isn’t exactly this way for us. First, we haven’t had a specific experience that is ‘frightening’ us. I would say it’s more a collection of experiences that make us think ‘gee, things aren’t exactly the way we were led to believe they would be’. And even that statement could use some clarification, because right now it sounds like I’m saying we think we were lied to. Not the case. More so that we feel like maybe we didn’t fully understand what certain things meant. For example: multiple sources said that the Kiwi lifestyle is a very laid back lifestyle. That sounded great to us! We knew coming in that we’d have to adjust our expectations to be more laid back (easier said than done). But now we are coming to realize that calling it laid back is an oversimplification. When we are feeling frustrated and at our wits end with the laid back lifestyle here, it can sometimes feel like the culture here is one of just not caring. Of being so laid back that it comes across (to us) as being uninterested and tiresome. In the last couple of months, especially, we have felt as though our presence here was bothersome to those around us. Friends, neighbors, co workers, acquaintances – didn’t matter. We’ve been feeling like we just don’t fit in.

There are also the times that we each catch ourselves saying or even thinking ‘man, back home things would be so much easier’. I, myself, am very aware of using the word ‘home’ in both my thoughts and my spoken word. To me it feels as though using the word is setting myself up for failure; that I’m going to want to go home just by the very nature of thinking that somewhere ELSE is my home. So I try not to use it. But it happens. It happens to both of us. And let’s face it, we each spent 35+ years in the USA before we moved here, so of course we’re going to compare. And of course we’re going to feel like things were better before. I can say without a doubt that America has a WAY better selection of goods and services. I mean, there’s nothing quite like a Walmart here. And even though there are big stores here, the selection of items can sometimes be weird (to us). Like, there is a store chain here called The Warehouse that is similar to Walmart in that it is a large store, holds a lot of items, and is very affordable (only, it does not have the food section really. Just an aisle or two of mostly candy and sweet foods). But the selection is just odd. There may be tons of flavors of candy, but only one or two choices for a set of silverware.

One thing I find myself struggling with lately is how my feelings fluctuate so drastically. I’ve noticed that lately, whenever I get out and DO something, I feel great! We went to a museum to meet a new family that’s thinking of moving over here from the UK. Their daughter is a couple of days younger than Patrick and I felt like we all really hit it off and got along well. I felt fabulous because I got to see and do something new, meet some new (hopefully) friends, and just got out of the house. But once I get home and the dust settles from our little adventure, I find myself getting quite down. It can be for a myriad of reasons. Either because I felt bad for not doing/trying that activity sooner, or because I felt I could have been friendlier, or because I feel overwhelmed with the information I was given, or because I now find myself with even more on my ‘To Do’ list, etc.

I will say that things aren’t as bad as they can sometimes seem. I know that we will come out the other end of our little dip on the chart feeling a renewed sense of purpose here in New Zealand. Until then we will continue trying to find the good in the bad and just staying the course. Thanks to all of you for reading and keeping our spirits up. We love and miss you all.

I Don’t Even Know

How has it been a month since we have updated this? Time is such a strange thing. It passes both slowly and in the blink of an eye…at the same time.

As far as updates go, things are relatively normal at the moment. With one exception – my mom is here for a 3 week visit. We love having here here! Not only is it nice for me to have someone to talk to and spend time with, but she’s been living in Germany for 2 years now, so she can relate to how we are feeling in a new country. It’s nice to see her getting to spend time with Patrick, and I love seeing him bond with her 🙂

Ben is still working at his job, but we have good news. We have had our residency visas approved, so he has to option to find another job if he wants. His skill set is in HIGH demand here, and everyone tells him that he should be making WAY more money than he is, so he may start shopping around soon to see if there’s anything else out there that he would like more. But it’s nice to know that he has a lot of stability in his current job (it’s basically a government job). The residency visa is also good news because it means we are eligible to buy a house if we want. Now, buying houses here is MUCH different than in the States. And we aren’t really anywhere near being able to buy, but with our resident visas, we can start talking to banks and lawyers about the home buying process.

Patrick is enjoying his time at the local PlayCentre. In case you haven’t seen my Facebook posts about it, it’s a place that’s similar to a daycare, but it is run completely by parents. We only go one day a week. It’s for 2.5 hours and the idea is to have the kids lead in their own play. It’s a fun time, but can also be exhausting chasing after Patrick for 2 hours and then trying to get him to help clean up at the end. But he loves it! Plus, we get to fun things there that we don’t necessarily want to do at home (painting, play dough, etc.)

I don’t even know what else to write about. It’s hard to decide what kind of info is interesting for people to read. My mom said to write that Ben’s becoming a master chef. He’s certainly getting a lot of practice making dinner while I’m working 4 nights a week. He makes the most amazing bruschetta chicken and pork chops with apple slices.

 

On and On and On

Angie here. I don’t know how it’s February already and I haven’t posted anything in over a month. All I can say is that I regularly think ‘I should add this to the blog!’, and then, somehow, I don’t get around to actually doing it. So here I am, finally updating it.

For me, the current struggle is the never ending summer I’m experiencing. It’s summer here in NZ. I’m hoping that the summer heat is close to coming to an end. We left Colorado in September when the temperatures were still in the 80s. When we got to NZ, it was early spring and things were just starting to warm up again. Summer officially started in December, and since then temperatures have been steadily climbing. On a normal day they are at around 70 degrees fahrenheit. On a bad day they are at or above 80. While that may not seem unbearable to many, there are a couple of factors that Ben and I have identified that are making us slightly miserable with the heat. They are:

  1. Though we come from a place that has a much wider range of average temperatures, we typically have year round heating/air conditioning that keeps our homes in the same 10 degree range. Without air conditioning, we are subject to whatever temperature mother nature throws at us. It can be difficult to sleep when you’ve never HAD to sleep in 78 degree weather.
  2. Humidity. We’ve never had to worry about it in Colorado. Humidity definitely makes it feel hotter than it is. Those who live in humid areas know what I’m talking about.
  3. We are still in the mindset that February is the middle of winter. Our brains (and bodies) are used to expecting cold temperatures, and so we fight the natural flow of things here in NZ. Hopefully, time will help us acclimate to the new flow of the seasons.

Needless to say, I think we are all ready for some cooler temperatures. Though, in NZ, even those won’t be nearly as low as we’d experience in Colorado. I’m curious to find out how I respond to the higher lows here during winter.

In other news, Ben had his first experience with the New Zealand universal health care system. Ben has had Gout symptoms for a few years. It comes and goes, but this time when it came it was faster and more painful than ever before. So he left work and called our nearest hospital to find out where to go. They told him to go to the doctor’s office that is on the same block as our house (we are already enrolled there, yay!), and that they could get him in that afternoon. I stayed home with Patrick, but as he was in the waiting room he texted me, telling me that the front desk told him that if he was still waiting 30 minutes after his appointment time, to come up to the desk and let them know. That’s a wee bit strange to me. You’d think that with 2-3 receptionists working at a time, they’d be able to keep track of who has and hasn’t been seen in a timely fashion, but oh well. Ben was called back and saw a doctor who was quite young, but took one look at his foot and said ‘that’s gout!’. She wrote him a prescription for a pain killer and sent him on his way. The doctor’s visit cost $48 and the prescription cost $5. He’s feeling much better today and he even got a doctor’s note that said he shouldn’t go back to work for 3 days!

January Musings

Angie here.

Wow, has it really been nearly a month since I last wrote?!? It seems like time is flying right now. There’s so much to do and I’m trying to do it all. I guess when you’re trying to do it all, some things are bound to slip through the cracks. Like remembering to update your blog.

The holiday season was a success for us here in New Zealand. While it was a strange change for us to celebrate during the warmer months, we were blessed with a chilly, overcast Christmas Day. It made this Colorado girl feel a little more at home 🙂

Ben was on holiday from work for 10 days over Christmas and New Years. We spent the time both lounging around and doing fun activities. We had friends over and even went on a playdate for Patrick. We celebrated our anniversary by hiring a babysitter for Patrick (a first in over 2 years), and staying up late watching “Brave” and celebrating as a family.

Now that we are a full week into the new year, this mommy is dedicating herself to getting things done. That means resolutions. So here they are:

  1. First and foremost, getting healthy. I have let the move to New Zealand be an excuse to stress eat and over eat. I have indulged in foods that I know aren’t good for me, for the sake of trying New Zealand foods and allowing myself a ‘treat’. Well, all of those bad choices mean that I have gained back all of the weight I’d previously lost. Not to worry though, I have a plan and I am determined. I remember how good I felt when I was eating healthy and working out. I genuinely liked being me more than I do when I make poor choices regarding my health. And the good news is that we are all going to be eating healthier and doing more exercise/physical activity.
  2. I want to get organized. Not just finish unpacking, but organized. I’ve started by buying some small plastic containers to separate Patrick’s toys and making sure that we clean them up and put them away (at least daily, if not right away). I also want to go thru all of my drawers, shelves, closets and make sure that the things we are keeping are not only useful, but stored in a way that makes them useful as well as efficient.
  3. I want to spend some time working on existing and developing some new hobbies. I love to read – but I get stuck reading some of the same books over and over. So I’m hoping I can branch out a little. Luckily, I can totally still use my Castle Rock library card to check out digital books for my Kindle ;). I also enjoy crocheting. I don’t have any big projects planned, but I’m hoping I can finish up a couple of existing projects that are partially done. I also want to learn how to sew and do calligraphy. I brought my brand new sewing machine with me, as well as some sewing supplies. Ideally, I’d love to learn to make a quilt/blanket out of old clothes. I have old shirts that I don’t want to wear, but that have memories associated with them. Ben has even more shirts than I do. And I’d love to turn some of Patrick’s baby clothes into a blanket I can give him one day. Calligraphy is just something I’ve always thought was extremely beautiful. While unpacking I found a craft set of lettering markers and practice sheets. So I’ll start there and see where it takes me. Maybe next Christmas I can hand write some beautiful calligraphy on everyone’s christmas cards.

So there you have it. My New Year’s resolutions/goals for 2019. Now that we are in New Zealand and have our Visas sorted, have Ben’s job going well, and have all of our belongings, it really does feel like a new beginning that we get to enjoy. And I intend to do just that. Happy New Year to you all! Until next time…

Xmas Blues Pt. 2

I’ve been experiencing a high level of guilt for missing Christmas with our families this year. Up until this last weekend, I was focused on coming up with new traditions for us to create as a family, since most of our normal traditions wouldn’t be possible since we aren’t with our extended families. At first, it felt kind of nice that we had so much freedom to choose what we wanted to do for the holidays. But this weekend, as we were video chatting with Ben’s parents, I just lost it. I started crying while he was talking to them, because I missed them and being near family during this time of year. I was also crying because I felt bad that we wouldn’t be there to celebrate the holidays with them. I’m sure they are missing us as well, and they didn’t choose for us to move so far away.

Ever since then, I’ve been feeling extremely guilty about our move. Knowing that Patrick won’t have easy access to his extended family is eating at me right now. I know that holidays can be hard when you don’t have your family near. And I guess I expected to feel this way. However, I didn’t expect it to be as hard as it is. The rest of the ‘normal but hard’ feelings of moving far away have been easier for me to acknowledge and move past. But this one is hard.

Having A Bad Day

When we started really planning to move to New Zealand for REAL, I read up on what it’s like to move to another country. What feelings I should expect to have. And they all said that at some point I would question whether our move was a good choice. Today is the day that happened for me.

It wasn’t anything big or important. It was the thought that if Ben and I have another child, that child will be born and raised without knowing or possibly even meeting most of our family members. I don’t know why, but that thought made me quite sad. Sad enough that I sat down and spent some time reflecting on the reasons why we moved here in the first place.

I asked myself questions like ‘Did we rush into this?’ and ‘Would we ever consider moving back?’ Tomorrow will mark 3 months (to the day) since we arrived here. I think that, perhaps, I am right on schedule for having these thoughts and feelings. I hope that it’s a normal part of the process. I hope that tomorrow these thoughts make me less sad, or are less prevalent.

I’m lucky enough to work with my dear friend, Crystal each night that I work. She is a great friend that I have known since I was a young girl. She is a great person who always lets me vent and complain, and always has a kind word to share, even when I know she is sad that I moved away and that our sons will not get to grow up side by side, as we’d hoped. She allowed me to tell her my about my sad thoughts today. And she was not only patient and understanding, but also incredibly encouraging. She let me know that she believes that we are on a wonderful adventure that IS WORTH IT. And I really needed to hear that today. Thanks, girl! 😉

Ah, That’s The Stuff

Our stuff has arrived!!!!

Angie here. Our stuff has arrived here in New Zealand. It is both a glorious and daunting feeling to have our stuff with us after being at sea for nearly 3 months to the day. I was surprised at how quickly we got the call for delivery once we knew it was in Wellington. 4 days. It took 4 days to be delivered. Which seems exceptionally odd since the email we received telling us our stuff was here said there were two separate inspection processes, and that both could take between 7-10 business days each. But here we are with out stuff. I’m not complaining.

Well, maybe I should complain. Now, I knew going into this that shipping our stuff over seas would inevitably lead to some of it being lost/broken in transit. Especially after the ridiculousness we endured just to get it into a shipping container (long story short, there weren’t any shipping containers available at the time, so the moving company packed all of our worldly belongings into a regular moving truck and said they would put it on a container as soon as one became available. Also 4 days…hmm…strange). With so many different people handling our stuff, I kind of expected some things to go wrong. But we’ve only just begun unpacking and I’m already very disappointed with the quality of the job done by the packing company.

Now, we were able to pack our own stuff. Some shipping companies won’t let you do that for liability reasons. So we packed about 60% of our own stuff into the plastic storage totes. We tried to pack them so that none of them were ridiculously heavy (we have a lot of books), or partially empty and would ‘cave in’. Didn’t matter. I would say at least 50% of the totes have some serious damage. A few are broken beyond usefulness, and look like they may as well have been dropped from a 3-story building. And then there are the boxes. Most of the boxes were packed by the movers. We had maybe 10 cardboard boxes that we packed. The ones that were packed by the movers look smooshed. I genuinely hope there aren’t any fragile items inside, or we will be adding them to the list of broken items. We still aren’t sure if we’ll be submitting a claim or not.

I can say with certainty that I was naive when it came to shipping our stuff overseas. I thought it would be a simple and straightforward process. I’ve learned the hard way that I was wrong. Ben has identified at least 4 separate companies/groups that handled or moved our stuff from the beginning to the end. I think when we were researching who to use, we should have looked at more reviews and found more personal accounts of what the process would be like. Because, although I am happy to have all my stuff, I am feeling very dissatisfied with the process.

All for now. Have to finish work for the week and then it’s unpacking time for the rest of the weekend. Till next time…