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The underestimated task of moving overseas with 3 kids.

Adventures in France, Travel & Adventure

The underestimated task of moving overseas with 3 kids.

Wow, we’ve almost done it. I say almost as we’re not quite at our destination but are oh so close (actually, I’m writing this in the car driving through the French countryside). We’re still alive to talk about it but holy moly, was that ever a big task! Making a move to France has been a long time dream of both of ours and the positivist in me knew it would be hard but not that hard. However, it was more work than we could have imagined and each day of our last week in Melbourne, I woke wondering what the hell we were doing. I know now. I can see it coming together.

Packing only our clothes was tricky because I wanted to make sure we didn’t pack anything important, like our passports. I checked on them daily to reassure myself they didn’t inadvertently get packed. We did hire packers and they came the day before our move to pack up the house into a container that will stay in Melbourne until we come back. They did manage to pack some files I’d set aside for the accountant and a dish going back to a friend, but after a bit of digging and opening nicely sealed boxes, we found them. Packer-man wasn’t too happy but that was the least of our concerns!

Moving day came and felt under control as we worked at a decent pace. Of course, the day dragged on, we found things that still needed sorting, washing and packing so finished up at about 5pm, when we fell into a heap. Thank god for our neighbours (not really neighbours, more like surrogate family) who watched Charlie daily, cooked us meals and helped us pack and clean – I think we’d still be there without them.

We had 3 more days until our flight so moved into an Airbnb for a few days, had a few more farewells (the nice part of leaving is seeing everyone you’ve been meaning to catch up with), ran some final important errands on the Monday and finally left on Tuesday June 20th.

My anxiety about the ‘car deal’ was unfounded as the money found its way into my account, the car carrier that the buyer organise, picked up the car on Monday and that was that. I woke in Paris yesterday wondering if it had arrived and if I’d wake to an email saying there was a problem and he wanted to ‘return it’. Instead, I woke to a text saying he loved it and thanks for making it so easy to buy. A relief and lesson not to stew over things that are out of my control. I’m pretty laid back but need to get out of the habit of stressing over things like that, when the odds of a seemingly positive outcome are high.

We arrived in France 4 days ago with our bags full of clothes, and spent a few days in Paris to settle and find our feet. Even though we’d weighed our bags before coming, last minute additions tipped the scales by 23kgs, a $3000 expense with the airline! Our big winter bag was left behind with a friend (helpful neighbour Martin again who met us at the airport!) and will be sent by sea freight, to hopefully arrive before it gets cold again.

So lots of unforeseens, bumps and twists in the road but spending 3 days in beautiful Paris alone made it all worthwhile. The kids are practising their bonjours, mercis, aurevoirs and love the morning trips for baguettes and croissants. We’ve had tears and tantrums but are taking things one day at a time. As adults, we too are learning to ‘let it go’ more and as my Dad always taught, ‘pick your battles’. I’d love to always be right, go my way, eat what I want but a trip with 3 kids is teaching me to compromise, be more patient and go with the flow. I’m even adapting to my need for a nice take away coffee each morning, something I never thought I’d compromise on!

(6) Comments

  1. Janette says:

    Yay!!! So excited to read you have made it safely despite a few last minute hitches! It would be boring if it all went exactly to plan! Love the photos and looking forward to hearing how you settle into your new home!!

    1. Sue marshall says:

      Great to hear more of your travels and tribulations! Love the photos and I hear you regarding how hard it can be!!! Have lots of adventures and love to you all, we miss you already!

  2. Stacey says:

    Keep writing! Love hearing about this adventure! X

  3. Love the picture of you and the Eiffel Tower – We are enjoying them

  4. Nicole says:

    Thank you for your posts. I’m planning for our family to live overseas for around 5 mths next year (staying in 1-2 places long term that are yet to be decided). Is there a source/s that you used to help get all the boxes ticked. We would like to rent our home out furnished so things like insurance, buying a car overseas, excellent health cover, banking, bills to keep track of here…. Would love to read a post about all that but understand if it is something that you’d like to leave behind now!

    1. Suzanne Acteson says:

      Hi Nicole, happy to put some of these things down if it would help. Stay tuned as there’s quite a list! ?

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