When you move internationally, there are a lot of things that you have to consider- the finances of the move, the changes that you and your family will have to cope with and the cost of living in a country (both emotional and otherwise) when family, friends and community are located far away.
Yet there are other things that you may also need to think about and these things don't normally feature in any sort of expat moving list. These include issues as varied as:
HobbiesDo you have particular or specific hobbies? A keen gardener may have a harder time in a dense environment than someone who kills all their pot plants and shrubs with kindness. I assumed that I would have spent more time on water based activities in Australia than I would in Hong Kong yet this was not the case. In Hong Kong I was part of a long distance swimming club, I rowed dragon boats and I
paddled outrigger canoes. I did none of this in Australia where one would assume that the environment would have encouraged this sort of pursuit.
Time zonesOn a slightly stranger note, times zones can play a role. Where we now live means that I have a very tiny window of opportunity in which to call family or friends - otherwise either they or I will be asleep. This window makes it very difficult to actually call people on the phone and I find that I tend to spend most of my telephone conversations in a form of telephone tag. "You are probably
asleep right now but I just thought I'd call and say hi" or "I am going to bed in the next five minutes but I just wanted to call and say hi before I go."
Ridiculous conversations but at least people know that I have thought of them. The difference between an eight hour plane trip and a 22 hour plane trip can also be substantial both in terms of time and cost as well as the accompanying stresses on ageing parents as far as regular visits are concerned.
Strange things to think about but issues that can affect how well you make the transition!
Dr Amanda O has been a trailing spouse for the last eight years.
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