Well, we are on the move again. We have had 2 years in England, 2 years in Australia, and now we are off for a few years in Germany. As always the decision wasn’t made overnight. There have been countless discussions on what location would be the best fit for our family, what job makes the most sense for Jamie, and if/when we should move the kids at all. After months agonizing we decided to move to Munich with visions of Oktoberfest and skiing in our minds, Christmas markets and Saturday drives to Austria. We’re off!
So that was the fun an exciting part, daydreaming about where to live and what life will be like. Now we are in the reality… Having done this before I did start doing things in advance. I was motivated to clean out the kid’s rooms, weed through the kitchen drawers, and start selling the baby toys. I figured if we move we will need to get rid of everything we don’t need, and if we stay it’s not a bad idea to clean things out every few years. I felt like I was really getting ahead of things by spacing it all out and once we made the decision I felt little to no stress about the move. Now we are (hopefully) less than two weeks away from having the house packed and I am in a full out panic. Now I remember why this is hard. You can only do so much in advance. I can only sell the cars so early or we will be left with paying for weeks of rental cars. We are planning on spending a lovely Saturday retouching paint after spending last Sunday doing a much deeper cut of the playroom and garage. It’s amazing how many thing accumulate when you have a family of five and space to hide things away.
In some ways we are getting better at this whole relocating thing. When they ask for our documents in order to apply for the visas we have everything in one place and were able to send it all back in under an hour. That being said in the process we realized that Kellen had 2 more days on his passport so we have a fun emergency appointment with the US embassy in Sydney to get that renewed. But the calls with the relocation people and meeting with the movers has become much less overwhelming because we know what to expect and even though I’ve never been to Munich I feel much more confident that we will figure it out.
What is different this time is the language. This is our first time applying to international schools. The application process was surprising to say the least, I spent a day running around getting passport photos of the kids, scanning all their reports, requesting recommendations from their teachers (even for Ella!) in order to submit our application. The school has a wonderful reputation and it will be interesting to be a part of a true community of expats. From what we have heard from friends it sounds like in many ways it is easier to make friends and meet people because you are all new and in the same situation. The school itself has a lot more resources to support a student population that is mobile. The average tenure for a student at the school is 3 years. We haven’t been accepted yet but I believe that is because of Patrick moving from the southern hemisphere. As we continue gaining experiences we learn and I would tell any parent of a teenager to really stop and think before crossing hemispheres with a high school student. When we arrived in Australia it didn’t seem like a big deal and he repeated about 6 weeks of the school year and it was summer break. But now leaving year 10 and applying to year 11 there is some complications as he needs full transcripts from year 10 in order to apply for university once he graduates. I know the new school and his current one are discussing the situation but it has been mentioned that maybe he hasn’t ‘completed’ year 10 so would need to join the new school in year 10. This is a major roadblock or us. Patrick has completed all but a few weeks of classes of year 10 and his former classmates at Cedarcrest and Forest are all going into year 11, that would essentially be making him repeat a year of high school for no real reason. This is our current source of stress, what will happen with the school. I have to believe there is a solution and have essentially decided to but my head down and work through this as it comes. On the other hand we have had those conversations where everything gets blown out of proportion and suddenly we are wondering if we have to cancel everything… You know normal moving stress.
So here we are, less than 2 weeks from packing, trying to figure out what to take and what to ship. I’m making sure all the little things are taken care of before we go so we don’t have to worry about them there. Jamie and I have new glasses, I’ve refilled my prescriptions, the kids had their teeth cleaned just a couple months ago, I’m getting my haircut, etc. Anything to avoid having pressure when we get there. I’m finally remembering why this part isn’t fun. The arriving somewhere new is exciting, leaving your current place is not. So we just keep practicing our Duolingo each night and daydreaming of the daytrips we’ll be taking just a few weeks from now.
In one of my most stressful moments Jamie sent me this picture. It is after all the 50th anniversary of the Sound of Music and I fully plan on recreating this as soon as possible.