Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Checking things off the list

Today I have been working on a few admin items to prepare for our move:

  • Schedule last doctor and hair appointments
  • Cancel my auto refill on my bus card
  • Cancel my auto refill on my highway toll pass card
  • List a few items on Craigslist
  • Working on a list of items we will need to purchase before moving
Items we still need to do:
  • Cancel gym memberships 
  • Cancel cell phone- or figure out how to keep our phone number (maybe a prepay phone, so that we have a phone when we come home
  • Figure out how to pay loans abroad
  • Order contacts and glasses
  • Determine how to get prescriptions abroad
  • Sell Car
  • Apply for Visas'
  • Set up bank account in London
  • Change permanent address to our parents' house for administrative purposes (US banking, loans, mail ect.)
  • Obtain copies of all medical records to bring to London
  • Give certified copies of important information to our parents: SS Cards, Passports, Visas, marriage certificates, birth certificates
  • Power of Attorney- for both sets of parents and spouse. Make copies for all parties.
  • Make a checklist of all packing boxes and what goes in each of them

Ok... and there are a lot more things I need to do besides the ones listed above. But at least Brett is the type A in our relationship and he thrives at administrative stuff. 

For example, literally the day after we returned from our honeymoon, I had a 30 page folder filled with information on changing my name. He even included "sign here" tabs. Then all I had to do was go to the SS office and get a new drivers license. I thought that was a pretty good trade off: Brett preparing the documents and me losing my last name. 

I'm going to move this post over into a tab so that I can keep track of what I can cross off my list and what I need to add to it. Hopefully this post can help future expats preparing to move. 

On a more fun note- Brett and I, and a couple of our best friends, went to the USA vs. Panama football (soccer) game at Soldier Field on Sunday. It was a pretty chilly day for the middle of July, (~65 F) but I just kept telling myself that the weather in Chicago this summer is preparing me for the weather in London. This was my first experience at a professional soccer game and it definitely got us more excited about our move. We were thinking about being Manchester United fans- how does that sound? 

 The picture with Brett and I is kind of fun.... Both of our office buildings are included in the picture. The short red building over my left shoulder is my building (CNA building) and the tallest white rectangular building on the right side of the picture is Brett's building (Aon Center). One of my favorite things about the location of our offices is that Brett and I will often sit in the parks downtown and eat lunch together. We are hoping to work close to each other in London as well, maybe even the same building if I get a position with his firm.

That's all for now!

<3 Mary

Friday, July 26, 2013

Accepting our Offer

pic: Taking Fountain

So we officially received and accepted our offer today! Our official move date is October 13th! So I believe our first contact regarding moving to London was back in April. So it has taken about three months from the inception of the idea, to receiving an official offer to move. I can't believe it only took three months, because believe me, it has felt like 6 months! We would go through month long periods without any updates to the process of the possibility.

Having an official move date helps with so much. Being able to start selling things, packing and ability for me to start looking for a job. I am currently a financial analyst at a large insurance company in Chicago, and have prior experience as an external auditor. My husband is in a similar field and will be doing healthcare transaction services with KPMG. Fortunately because we are married, I will receive a spousal visa. This is helpful because one of the largest challenges in obtaining a job as an expat is obtaining a visa.

Brett and I plan to be in London for at least two years with the eventual plans to return to the United States. We are so excited to be able to share this experience with one another. I think this will be a great opportunity to develop and strengthen our marriage, as I am sure there will be many obstacles that we will encounter during our move.

So I'm going to go off track here for a second- but I can't help think how lucky and blessed I really am. I haven't been very active in my religion recently but the other night I felt compelled to just take a minute and thank God for everything he has blessed me with. In high school I never would have dreamed that my life would play out the way it has. I feel like Charlotte from SATC movie where she is scared that something bad is going to happen to her because her life is so perfect. Now, I wouldn't say that my life is perfect, but it's perfect enough for me!

As we prepare to leave and begin to tell people we are moving, I am starting to get a little choked up. Since Brett and I live in Chicago, I was wondering how many more times my parents would see me if I lived in the States as opposed to when I move abroad. I counted that my parents on average see me 8 times a year with us living in Chicago, and when we move to London, it will only be 2-3 (Christmas, parents visit, maybe one more trip home).

So that was a little upsetting to think about. Like my extremely wise Grandmother said to me "People don't live and die in Cincinnati anymore, and you have to take advantage of these opportunities while you have the chance". She is pretty much the most amazing person I've ever met, and I will miss her beyond words. She doesn't have internet in her house, so my Mom will have to figure out a way for her to Skype with me.

That's it for today. Going to try and enjoy this weekend in Chicago as I won't have too many left!

Thanks so much for reading!

<3 Mary

Thursday, July 25, 2013

We are moving to London!

My husband and I have always dreamed of living abroad, and for the most part I always thought this was only a dream and that it would never be feesible for us to leave our family, friends and our beloved city of Chicago.

Brett and I were watching House Hunters International one evening when Brett turned to me and asked how I felt about moving abroad for a few years: London, Germany, China ect. After deciding that this was a route we wanted to take, Brett brought up the idea of a rotation, or seconment in Europe with his company. Four months later, and enough anxiety to push even Jimmy Buffett over the edge, we have finally been offered a rotation in London with an anticipated move date of mid October!

It's pretty crazy to think that in less than three months, we will be living in another country! Espcially because I have never been to London! Everyone I have talked to says they love London, and coming from another big city like Chicago, I am hoping the transition won't be as difficult as we are anticipating.

Over the next couple of months, I will be sharing our experiences in getting ready to move abroad... what we sold, what we are keeping, and things we need before we head over there. If you have any tips or advice about moving abroad I would love to hear them!

I plan to use this space to share our travels, adventures, afternoon coffee breaks and challenges from moving abroad with our loved ones at home. I will also use this blog as a personal journal so that one day I can look back on all the fun places I have been and what I learned.

I hope you continue reading my posts and feel free to leave as many comments as you would like. Thanks very much for stopping by!

<3 Mary