Something I didn’t expect to be saying quite so soon. I adore London and Europe and I feel like we have so much more exploring to do before we go; however, our time is up. We will be relocating to Sydney, Australia at the beginning of November.
I have mixed emotions as moving is always bittersweet. I am very comfortable in our community and this is one of the most exciting cities to live in. There is never want for something to do, we love all of the history that surrounds us and the travel possibilities are endless. We’ve had great friends in London. Old friends who came, new friends we’ve made. Some who have moved away and some who remain. It’s heart-breaking to think that we are now the ones leaving everyone else behind. London is so transient–I’ve always said this as I watch families come and go. The transience makes London feel as though it’s neither the beginning or ending of our respective stories, but this bright central hub where our paths are so briefly and intensely joined.
Despite my sadness at leaving, I love the thrill of a new adventure. We have the most amazing gift of being able to experience a new country, continent, and city from the best perspective: as a local. It will be truly immersive and educational as we transition to our new locale. Navigating the uneasy waters of setting up accounts, finding out where to shop, our favourite places to play and dine out with the kids, and meeting new friends. It sounds like fun and it is, but it is also unsettling. We as humans become very comfortable with habit and placing ourselves in new and chaotic situations forces growth and strength. It’s survival mode. Like exercising and pushing past limits to see real change and growth, this gives me an energised feeling of living fully.
I vividly remember how exciting it was when we moved to England in 2011. I also remember how foreign it all felt especially that first month with no bank account, no mobile phone and three small children. Getting lost, having no cash and needing to feed my kids, not being able to call my husband unless someone lent me their phone…crying on the side of the road. I laugh to myself when I remember that dreadful day when it all seemed a grave mistake. Living as an ex-pat and challenging all that was supposed to be “normal” was the best decision we ever made and I will never regret it. If anything, it has fuelled my desire to repeat it again and again. Now I can’t possibly imagine ever living in one place for the rest of my life.
I find myself walking around London seeing everything surrounding me with new eyes. Eyes so acutely focused for fear of forgetting. When we moved here our littlest was 10 months old. Our babies became big kids and the memories of firsts and special times lurk around every corner. I tear up just thinking about it. I am so afraid that I will forget all of those very important yet simple moments as my mind fills with new ones. I feel myself already having to buck up and be strong, for all of us. The growth and the challenge is beginning.
So here we go, soon we will leave for Sydney. Nervous anticipation drives lists, google searches and sleepless nights. Sorting out movers and deciding what to sell and what to bring are our first orders of business. Luckily, we have been forced to simplify our possessions over the years which should make this move exponentially easier than when we left the US. Downsizing from 4000 square feet to 850 was a real challenge. Now we just need to box up and go. We will continue to post about the ex-pat process as things progress. It was helpful during our last move to read stories of other families exploring and daring to live unusually. Hopefully we will influence others in the same way.
Here’s what the kids have to say:
- Fiona – I feel happy and sad about the move. I’m happy because we will get to visit new places and have much better weather. I’m sad because I will have to leave my friends behind.
- James – I don’t feel happy about leaving London except for the fact that I will soon be having lots of mango. I’m most sad about going to school in Sydney and having to wear a sun hat as part of my uniform. My mom told me that there are different and cool trees and rocks in the Sydney Botanic Garden – I can’t wait to see that.
- Caroline – The thing that makes me sad is I will miss my friends and my school. I am happy to be moving to such a beautiful and warm place though.
I am so incredibly grateful for our time here in London. We are so lucky to have been able to share this experience with such good friends—you know who you are! I can only hope we’re half as blessed with the people we meet in Sydney. Love you all.