The Actual Move

expat life expat mums expat parenting expat parenting abroad Oct 21, 2019

It’s been a massive few months for our family and for me personally. As you are probably very well aware, we have moved from Taipei to Auckland (with only a month’s notice) and we have been in Auckland for a month today!


Friends and family know that we move a lot, and they know that we do it well (it always seems very seamless on the surface). However, over the past few weeks I am still being greeted with complete surprise about what we have achieved in that space of time. 


My dear dutch friend summed it up perfectly when she said to me “you’re in your zone, this is just what you do, I can see it in your face”. And you know what, she was dead right. “I’ve got this” has been my daily mantra for the past few months. So I’m raising my cuppa tea to you my dear friend as I write this post. 


Hopefully you caught my ‘Backstage Pass’ videos on social media, sharing each step along the way, how I managed our move… Today though, I thought I would share a little more detail about how I’ve managed it. 


A side note first though, please always remember this about me, I am not a perfectionist. I do not dwell on detail. And I most certainly do not get hung up on ambiguity. That’s just my nature, and when moving that in itself removes a lot of the ‘stress’. 


Right, so… the first thing I did when we discovered we were moving again, was to purchase a notebook. Yes, I have loads - but this one is dedicated to everything about our move. Then I created sections in it:


  • School research*. From the demographic, to the curriculum, after school activities, location, fees, the application process, and friends and family comments about different schools. I literally messaged friends with daughters in Auckland, which schools did you look at, which did you choose and why? And are you happy with your decision on reflection?


  • School information, once we decided which school we were applying to, including key dates, details of my conversation with the admissions coordinator and so on.


  • Areas to live in Auckland, the pros and cons of each area and other random thoughts. This also included any insights from people I was talking to and the online research I was doing.


  • Things to take in our suitcase, honestly it doesn’t matter if we are travelling for a long weekend or relocating and packing for 8 weeks, I always make lists so I don’t forget anything!


  • I create an easy to find page with all our key information in one place, passport details, frequent flyer details and so on. The number of times you need this information for the whole family for all the different forms, it’s just easier to have it in one place. 


  • Things to make sure I didn’t leave behind in the apartment, while it may sound a bit obvious, there are some things in your home that you use everyday that you just don’t think about, like my owl doorstop who nearly got left behind this time! 


  • Stuff I had to sell before leaving. Normally I do a big purge before packing to move, but I had only just done one when I spring cleaned the apartment only a few months earlier. So there were only a few items I had to sell as the voltage is different from Taiwan to NZ.  


  • Things to clean before packing. Items that are used outdoors, such as kids bikes, garden pots (I had a side splitting hilarious conversation with a friend when she thought I was talking about my cooking pots and how we were rinsing them in the creek!!), BBQ, gum boots etc are all inspected during customs as part of the biosecurity, so we spent quite a few hours with a bucket of bleach cleaning all these items. 


  • People I wanted to catch up with before we left. So this may sound utterly ridiculous, but I made a list, and I still didn’t manage to see everyone, I literally just ran out of time!


  • Actions and key dates in my business. In the middle of moving I was also launching a new Support Group, continuing to support my one:one coaching clients, and doing a prototype test of a new mastermind concept for expat mums. So I had to make sure I didn’t “drop the ball” for any of my clients. While everything is in my diary, I also kept a list of the key actions and dates in my notebook too - just as a backup!


  • Things to do with the girls. It’s important to create memories for your family when you’re leaving that home and for us it was a family trip to Shifen Waterfall and Lantern Village in Pingxi. The girls simply loved it! At the same time as I was planning our leaving, I was researching things to do in our new home, Auckland. I wanted to create new memories for the girls and do some fun things amongst the doing, such as taking them to Sea Life. 


  • Rental properties I had booked to view or wanted to view. Including address, agent, rental price, bedrooms, bathrooms and any other key information.


So in summary when it comes to logistics I’m a list making person, I am visual in that way. But managing the past couple of months has been more than making lists. 


During any change or transition, I find it really important to surround myself with friends. Doing some of the things we love doing together, such as wandering our favourite alleys or having lunch at a favourite spot. Taking the time to catch up, and not think all the time about everything I had to do, it’s so refreshing mentally and emotionally. 


In the last few weeks in Taipei, I worked hard to keep my normal routine and my daily riverside walk. It was my space, and I loved it. But I’m going to be honest with myself for a moment, I haven’t exercised as much as I wanted to since arriving in Auckland. Namely because we have been so busy ‘doing stuff’ but also because the girls were on holiday AGAIN! So I am enjoying getting back into it now they’ve started in their new school! 


We arrived into Auckland on a Sunday, and the in laws were amazing. They drove our new car up to Auckland, stayed a few doors down from our hotel and they took the girls from Monday morning to Wednesday night. This allowed hubby and I to go really hard those first few days, I booked 12 homes to view on Monday. Tuesday was a few homes and looking at beds, furniture and white goods. Wednesday we looked at one more home, sorted out the bank and did some other admin. Part of it was luck, but by the end of the first week we had applied and been accepted for a rental property, we had ordered our beds and purchased a washing machine. In the middle of all that, we were catching up with family and friends and doing some of the fun things I wanted to share with the girls. 


Now here we are, one month later. I pick up the keys for our rental property tomorrow, and things start being delivered on Thursday. Our shipment should clear customs by the end of the month (please cross your fingers and say a little prayer for us!). And Auckland will officially be our new home, and I will be unpacked and on top of it all again… just in time for Christmas :-)


So, in a nutshell this is how I have managed (and coped) over the past couple of months. Maybe I have shared something here that resonates with you? Maybe I have shared something you hadn’t thought of before? Maybe I’ve missed something that you feel is essential? I would love to hear from you, please share your thoughts in the comments. 

* In Auckland, the school you choose can massively influence where you live, so this was the first decision point for us

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