Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.
Moving is often as cited as one of the most stressful things in life. More stressful than a relationship breakdown, divorce or starting a new job. So we only went and did it again. Signed up for the most stressful life event this summer, with a move to Singapore this time. Personal reasons made this decision seem like it was the right one for our family but it wasn’t without much deliberation, stress, tears and worries.
But a month later, here we are in Singapore. And I’m finally ready to document what happened in the past month to move us here.
Let’s just say, career opportunities triggered the move. However, as I’m sure most expats know too well, time was not on our side with this move. We were already travelling around Europe and Canada when we realised we would be moving to Singapore in a month. This left us with about 4 days upon arrival in Doha to pack up and leave!
How do you handle the stress of moving?
Everyone handles stressful situations differently. In the past my coping mechanisms consisted of worrying about everything I needed to and not sleeping in fear that the ever-growing list of things to do (that I had created) would not be completed. However, this time around I wasn’t like that. I can only chalk it up to two possible reasons. 1) I experienced some temporary madness that caused me to disengage with what was really happening. Or 2) the move to Doha had prepared me well for what I needed to do to move to Singapore. I suppose there could be the third possibility- I really, really wanted to move to Singapore!
A lot of my friends commented that I was really brave and one even said that I lived a life “full of adventure”. The truth was that I never stopped to think about what it was I was doing. I probably thought more about the move to the Middle East than this move. I just knew I wanted this. It was my dream to live in Singapore and I do suffer from some serious fomo (fear of missing out).
Preparing to move to another country?
There is a long list of things that you did need to address when moving to another country. For some reason, this list felt shorter when we moved from Doha, than when we were packing up our life in the UK. I think it mostly had to do with the fact that accommodation was provided by my employment in Doha so it was one (huge) less thing to sort out. But in brief, the short list of things that you do need to attend to is as follows:
- Prepare paperwork and documentation for moving – this usually involves sending pdf copies of your passport to various parties such as employers (to process your employment visa) and shipping companies.
- Get rid of things that you don’t want to take with you.
- Pack and ship (if necessary) the things you want to take with you.
- Close bank accounts in country of residence
- Notify relevant people of forwarding address or contact details
- Start looking for accommodation in new location if need be
- Say goodbye to loved ones/favourite people.
A lot of the above list was completed by us in stages. For example, we completed our employment paperwork steadily through the summer, simultaneously with organising our shipping (which for us was needed). That only left, getting rid of unwanted things, selling furniture, closing bank accounts and packing our suitcases to do in Doha. And yes, we did that in 4 days with very little sleep and a lot of espressos! For a more detailed list of things to do before you move to your new country click here.
Feeling at home
Despite really wanting to move to Singapore, I still miss home. In fact I miss it a lot. I’m hoping that feeling will slowly start to disappear as I become more familiar with my new surroundings and fewer things appear new to me. Right now, everything is new- from how to get to MRT station to where is good to eat for dinner. The time difference doesn’t help with speaking to friends and family back in the UK either but you make it work right?
I’m excited to explore my new home and South East Asia. So far, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the food and how nice people are here. The weather is beautifully warm and I get to enjoy a pool on weekends. The best part is living 10 mins away from the beach (not the nicest beach but a beach nonetheless)! I do,however, have to learn how to ride a bike again, which for those who know me, know this will definitely cause me stress!