Monday, July 27, 2009

Moving to Brussels, One Task at a Time

It's crunch time. Exactly three weeks from today I will touch down in Brussels, Belgium and begin a 5 1/2 month overseas stint. It's the fourth time I've left the U.S. to spend multiple months living in Europe, so you'd think I'd be really good at executing trans-Atlantic moves. You'd think. But instead of feeling like I'm making progress on the ever-growing pre-trip to-do list, I feel like I'm swimming upstream. The list isn't getting shorter, it's getting longer, and time is quickly running out.

Moving your entire life to a foreign country is no easy task. There are boxes and suitcases to pack, financial matters to rearrange, purchases to make and friends and family to see one last-for-now time. You might have to find new housing, renew your passport, buy international health insurance, or prepare for a new job. My current to-do list includes such daunting tasks as "research/buy a new laptop," "clean apartment from top to bottom," and "rent storage unit; fill with worldly possessions." I have managed to find a nice couple from Seattle to sublet my place, which I admit was a satisfying cross-off, but the anxiety level of too much to do and too little time is still threatening to put an end to my sanity, once and for all.

Why doesn't moving overseas seem to get any easier the more I do it? Denial, perhaps? I do always tell myself I have a ton of time to get things done, but it's never true. The preparations are enormous, and distractions of regular, daily life don't just stop because you tell the universe you have an overseas adventure on your hands. The result is that I'm taken by surprise each and every time the big day starts to creep up on the calendar. My only consolation is that on the first three times I moved to Euorpe, despite everything I had to do last minute, I never once missed the plane because of unfinished business. And with the prospect of living la vie en Belgique, I'm not about to ruin my perfect record.


Melina said...

Ah! I feel your pain. You can do it, I know you can! bon courage and see you soon :)

Andi said...

I have done the pond hop several times myself, and it is always the same stress. I am not sure it ever gets easy. I am looking forward to your explorations in Belguim. I have only been once and loved the food and what little I saw.

Lou said...

Nice clock! Love that square!! B
Even more beatuiful during the xmas market. Feel ur pain too TBs, we're doing the same thing now, except no trip home between countries!

Tanya said...

@Melina, Thanks for the encouragement! A bientot :-)

@Andi, I feel the same way about Belgium: been there once, loved what I saw. Looking forward to reporting on it!

@Lou, Good luck with your own international move! Looking forward to getting together to celebrate our respective moves in either London or Brussels.

Lola said...

wow. Just 3 weeks away! Wishing you the very best with the move. How exciting!

Cuckoo said...

I feel your pain but I am pretty sure you can do it.
I have done it many times shifting to Europe or USA or Australia or even Belgium for much longer period than yours.

All the best, looking forward to your detailed posts on life in Belgium. :-)