Up then down. Around then over. Soaring then falling. Thrilling then overwhelming. Fast then slow.
And around again.
This is the Relocation Rollercoaster of moving overseas
A bit like the weather in Tasmania, Australia – if you don’t like it, just wait, it’s bound to change again shortly.
This wild rollercoaster ride is also known as the Four Fs:
Fascination, friendship, frustration and fulfilment
Initially when you move, almost everything about a new place is fascinating. It’s like being on holiday. New places to go, foods to try, people to watch, activities to try.
After a few days or weeks, you might feel the need to connect with others, to form friendships. Perhaps immerse yourself in the new culture, learn the language, adopt different customs. Or hang out with people similar to those back ‘home’.
Then at some stage, the timing of which varies for everyone, and often more than once, frustration strikes. Things are no longer as fascinating. Reality hits. Tolerance levels plummet. Local habits are suddenly totally annoying. Familiar people, places, pastimes and foods are very much missed.
Thankfully there is a further stage to look forward to. That of fulfilment. When everything comes together, more often than not.
Even better, you know if you dip back into frustration, as most people do, it’s not too far to climb back to fulfilment. You know what makes you feel that way – so you chase after it again.
This is me at the moment. Mostly fulfilled. Taking little dips into frustration. Like yesterday, when hubbie was busy studying, our girls didn’t want to leave the house – and I couldn’t for the life of me think of anything I wanted to do – yes, on this stunning tropical island.
So I cooked. Fulfilling for our tummies anyway – the sticky date pudding was divine! The pumpkin bread wasn’t, because our oven is dodgy, but that’s just the frustration talking.
We’ve been in Vanuatu for almost two months. It’s gone really very smoothly. More a Ferris wheel than a rollercoaster. But not without a few dips and arduous climbs back out due to:
- totally frustrating skype calls to family in Australia as a result of slow internet.
- massive delays in our things arriving – and problematic breakages when they did (slow cooker lid in three pieces, a smashed water filter cartridge that can no longer be purchased).
- our girls being unable to continue martial arts training in which they flourished in Tonga.
- my discovering a local business visa is expensive and challenging to obtain, yet again.
As a relocation coach I’m fascinated by the whole process. As a family we’ve moved a lot – our girls were born in Tasmania, spent a year travelling around Australia at ages 1 and 3, had six months in childcare in a picturesque area of northern New South Wales while we experimented with finding fulfilling work in a small town, then four years in capital city Brisbane, before 15 months in Tonga, and now Vanuatu.
My husband and I also had lots of major moves before we met.
So while we all have an idea what lays ahead with each relocation, how it plays out is still a wild ride.
But we wouldn’t want it any other way. When this one’s over, we’ll no doubt line up for the next one. It really is rather thrilling.
What’s your favourite part of the moving overseas rollercoaster? Or are you in the queue waiting for your turn? Share your story in the comments, we’d love to hear.