Saturday, July 28, 2012

Moving Across the World: The Beginning

So, as I thought about what to share with you all today, I couldn't get away from my moving notebook.

I kept grabbing it and jotting down "boys jeans" or checking the "To Buy in the States" page to see that garage sale had anything we needed.  And as I thought more about what to write, I figure, well, we all have to deal with this right?  I mean, we all seem to live in two or more places and moving a family across the world is simply the reality of missionary life.  And frankly, it can be big and scary and hard to even know were to begin!  I remember thinking "I wish I had seen someone do this before!"  So, in hopes of helping someone, you can watch our family move across the world.  And let me just say as we start out, this is what works for our family.  It may or may not work for you.  That's ok.  Take what you think will be helpful and leave the rest.  Really.

And so, here is "Everything I Know About Moving a Family Across the World".  Well, that title is a bit long.  Let's say instead, "Moving Across the World" or MAW for an even shorter title.

I guess the most logical place to start would be from the beginning, hummm?  Before we were deployed (yes, that is the word our mission uses, hehehe), we were living in a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house with a garage.  We decided early on that there were things we wanted to keep.  You know pieces of family furniture, keepsakes from our childhood and from our boys.  Baby equipment for the next kid.  You get the idea.  For us, what made the most sense was to buy an old storage trailer (we found this beauty on craigslist for about $1400, which from everything we were told, was a steal!)  It's 20 feet long and we keep it next to my parents' barn.

We didn't know when exactly we were going to be moving because of funding, but we knew we were leaving.  And we knew that all our junk would not fit in the trailer or come with us.  So, about 8 months before we actually left, I started purging, sorting through our house room by room.  I worked with a couple of thoughts in my mind

1.  Do we love this item?
2.  Could we buy something similar in Costa Rica?
3.  Is it worth it's weight?

If we love something, we kept it.  If we love it and it's worth it's weight, we bring it.  If we love it and it can't come, it stays in the trailer.

If it's not something we love, worth it's weight or we could buy something similar in Costa Rica, we get rid of it.  Maybe we give it to someone who could use it, or we sell it on Craigslist, or we give it to Salvation Army.  But we move it on out!

Now the "is it worth it's weight?" question.  Sigh.  This is probably different for every family.  For use there are somethings that just make life a little brighter. You know, when your whole world is different and you can't read the label for the soap, it's nice to be able to reach for a familiar thing.

 For me, it's my own linens.  And since linens in Costa Rica are terrible, it makes sense to bring them.  I also have a thing for glass jars.  I have a few packed for this next move.  Yes, they are heavy, but I know I am not going to find these particular jars there.  For me it's worth it.  It's going to be different for everyone.

So there you have The Beginning of MAW.  Stay tuned for more thoughts and ideas on this crazy process of being a nomad.

What was/is your thought process on what what things should go and what should stay?  Any tips for making the process easier in the beginning?

Want more MAW?  Check these out
Moving Across the World:  Toys 
Moving Across the World:  Buying and Acquiring 
Moving Across the World: Packing 
Moving Across the World: The Big Day(s)
Moving Across the World:  Helpful This and Thats


  1. Looking forward to this series of posts! So helpful for new missionaries!

  2. This is impressive, Liz. I like it that you decided to arrange and organize all your stuff early on. I think this is an advantage as you will not be stressed during the actual move. The idea of purchasing a storage trailer for your stuff is brilliant. I also admire the categorizing of the stuff to keep and not to keep. I’m sure there are so many things that your family is not using anymore and, sometimes, it is for the best to get rid of them. This is, of course, to have a clean and proper unpacking once you moved to your new house. Nice!

    Ericka Muldowney

  3. I'm so glad I just stumbled across your blog! We're moving to Angola from FL at the end of the year and I knew someone out there would have already battled these same logistical things, I just hadn't found them yet! So I'll be reading up on all your other posts to see what I can learn. Thanks for sharing :)