So. We’d sold up, bought our dream house and said our goodbyes to family and friends. Which was just as hard as you’d imagine.
All we had to do now was exchange contracts. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing, except a massive thunderstorm bringing down a tree on the I-95 and also half the power in EG. Including our lawyer’s office. But with the makeshift use of a smartphone camera. Contracts were signed, exchanged and recorded.
Three weeks later our shipping arrived and we officially moved in.
And suddenly we had to set up home from scratch. When you move abroad you don’t have the benefit of any credit history. Plus, we didn’t know one energy or internet provider from the other.
Put simply; prepared to get screwed!
Insurance can be high – and we had to really search to find a good car deal. At 4x the monthly cost of our brand new car, car insurance was astronomical. We eventually went to a broker and cut the cost by half.
It feels like the first few months of moving country are dedicated to finding local doctors/pediatricians/dentists/utility companies/wifi providers etc. But don’t be too daunted. In the end, the dentist and doctor we signed up with were recommendations from neighbours and friends. And we’re still with them.
Another tip: When buying a new house (wherever in the world that might be), please insist the existing oven stays. Finding the right oven to fit the space left by its predecessor, and the right people to fit said oven, just adds a number of superfluous ticks on a very long to-do list. Our first oven wasn’t fitted properly (a word of advice: stick to American brands) and it was three months until we finally had a fully functional, working oven! We ate a LOT of salad during that first summer/fall.
But moving to a new neighborhood isn’t just about the boring stuff. Our (very lovely) neighbours came round and introduced themselves. And brought presents; wine, chocolate, magazines, toys for the kids. This most definitely didn’t happen in the south London ’hood; where we finally met our neighbours after about two years of living there. I now some of those lovely neighbours among my best buddies.
But the move was so worth it – just one week into our new life and I was sipping wine whilst cooking on a camping stove (no oven, remember) and occasionally remembering to look out of the window and check on my (then seven-year-old) son play out on the green, sunny street with the boy who lived next door. He’d have survived less than 30 seconds if we’d tried that on the ultra-busy Streatham street where we once resided.
We truly had swapped the city for the suburbs, and the UK for the US.