And the (painful) process begins

He said…

After making the decision to accept a job in UK and relocate, we have begun making the many arrangements that will be needed. So far, the process has ranged from boring to painfully difficult.

Of course, we have accepted that we will need to sell our house and dispose of most of our belongings. Several trips to Goodwill so far have managed to rid us of some items that really had little meaning…stuff we should have probably purged years ago.

Other items have been more challenging. I recently sold the stereo system I originally bought with my paper route money in 1972. It’s now considered vintage. And although I hadn’t used it in years, it was difficult to see it walk out the door.

Similarly, I have sold the 35 mm camera my mom & dad bought me for a graduation gift. And the 35mm camera my wife and I bought soon after we got married. Again, those things haven’t been used for years, but have strong and happy memories attached. And now they are gone.

And it is just the start. We will be selling our cars, and particularly difficult will be parting from our 2013 Subaru Outback, which has a rare 6-speed manual transmission and extremely low mileage (it was stored during our time in Japan). Love that car.

We have talked with our realtor about selling the house. More difficult, we’ve talked to a lady whose company specializes in estate sales/downsizings/relocations. Her company will come in and basically sell everything in our home, save for the items our kids want or the few things we will either take with us or store. She tells us we’ll feel much lighter after this. Yes, but it isn’t easy seeing the possessions accumulated over a lifetime go away.

Our most recent frustration is the UK visa application process. We have literally spent hours filling out the online forms, and I’m still not confident it’s done right. Part of the challenge was documenting all the travel we’ve done the last 10 years…every country, every date. We’ve been fortunate to travel a lot, and this was no easy matter.

Next week, we go to get our “biometrics” taken (photos and fingerprints)…kind of feel like a criminal. The cost is literally thousands of dollars, which fortunately my company is paying. Assuming all goes well, we’ll have bright, shiny new visas in a couple weeks. That is the entry point from which we can start to find housing and seriously consider the logistics of our move to UK.

We expected the next couple of months to be challenging. So far, that has absolutely been the case. And I have a feeling the frustrations aren’t behind us yet. But we are committed to this now, and have to look ahead to the great experience we’ll have once our home is reestablished in London.

She said…

Ditto of all he has said… I have such ambivalent feelings right now. London was the first place we thought we would like to try living abroad. But… then we ended up in Japan for almost 5 years. We love London, but now our situation is different. Having to “retire” from the company my husband has been with for 28+ years, and do this as a “contract” job, has made it so much more complicated. Getting rid of 43 years worth of belongings and permanently downsizing our life is scary! Finding an apartment, arranging health care and insurance, and moving our three kitties to a foreign country is a daunting task.

I really look forward to being “lighter” and more mobile, but every little thing we have has memories attached. I find myself waking up at 4 or 5 in the morning and worrying about what to do with this thing, or that thing. The anxiety machine just starts grinding, and I can’t get back to sleep.

I know… one step at a time. I need to focus on step 3 instead of worrying about step 27. I am just wanting it to all get done at once.

I have to remember that every experience in our lives, has led us on to the next experience. In 2013, we started walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Basically, we walked all across northern Spain… with nothing but our backpacks. We walked out the door every morning not knowing where we would sleep that night. It was an exhilarating experience that led us on to the next big thing… moving to Japan. We moved to a country where we knew no one, and didn’t even speak the language. We left our home and pets and belongings in the capable hands of our daughter. This time, though, we get rid of almost everything to move to another foreign country.

I will just have to trust… that we are ready for this step. I will keep telling myself that this is our next great adventure.

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My husband and I were both born and raised in Kansas, but for the past 20+ years we have been living in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, with our children grown and out of the house, we have the opportunity to spend two years living in Tokyo. My husband will be working with the Japanese counterpart to his American company. UPDATE 2023... After 4-1/2 years in Tokyo, we returned to Atlanta. Now we are heading to London for a three year job assignment!

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