Life As An Expat: On The Move

Twice in six days.

That's how many times we've moved over this last week.

See, since our move abroad has ended up taking longer than we expected, we got a llittle optimistic and gave notice on our second floor flat too soon. We were able to stay a bit longer, then a bit longer, then further still, and finally, on the eve of the arrival of new tenants, we had to leave.

Moving, right? It's always a sweaty, stressful mess no matter how much preparation you put in. And also, don't listen to anyone who says that things get boring after you get married. Three and a half years in and I'm here to tell you that our lives have been anything but boring lately. Moving around a city and then across an ocean will do that for you.

But thank god for AirBnB and our "sharing" culture. I could write a whole piece about the kindness of strangers that's revealed in the culture of Uber and AirBnB and the like. It really is incredible. Two honest, regular folks living in North London suddenly found themselves with piles of luggage, shopping bags full of organic groceries too yummy and pricey to throw out (of course), but with nowhere to go. There was and is beauty in being able to stay at the flat of a complete stranger down the street who will not only be kind and interested in your story, but will also allow you to stay at their home for a mere fraction of what you would pay in a hotel.

There are horrible, frightening stories associated with doing business with a complete stranger in this "sharing" world of ours, but I've had nothing but good experiences along the way. It's been a lifesaver during our period of transition.

I've just about made real friends wtih kind, generous Uber drivers in Salt Lake City and Durham, and loved our experiences using AirBnB, always – it's the only thing we use when we travel.

But anyway. Our madness has died down slightly for now, and while I'll post some updates on Instagram related to our move, I'll tell you right now that I probably won't announce that we're leaving London until we're basically on the plane.

At this point, I'm too afraid of jinxing anything to say anything sooner. So...stay tuned! Update coming soon.



Shop My Move!

In case you've been under a rock or have just found a way to successfully drown out my whining, here's the news: We're moving soon!

International moves are expensive (like, very expensive) and so because of my ongoing pursuit to live a more minimalistic, simple life, I'm cleaning out my wardrobe in a giant way.

I've already donated a lot but there are a few items I was hesitant to give up. I want to make sure these guys go to a good home SO I've put them up for sale.

Want to check out the goods? Maybe make a purchase?

Head here to shop my move.

And stay tuned - I may be adding more soon. Happy shopping!


March

I started crying on Saturday morning when I was getting dressed.

Not in the heartbreaking way, so don't feel bad for me. It was a whiny cry – not so different from that of a toddler who's stayed too long at the supermarket.

I was frustrated with the feeling of having it "up to here" for so many months. I'm tired of it being 50 degrees and slightly grey, tired of wearing my same clothes and coats, tired of waiting to start on the next phase of my life. Tired of waiting on our move. 

People talk about how difficult February can be, and it makes sense. After all, there is a cruelness in the fact that one of the worst winter months happens towards the end of winter, after you've already put up with three or four months of cold weather.

But March has always frustrated me far more. It's a difficult month because everything is so close – sunshine, warm weather, holidays – but also so far away. You get a taste of a nice day, and then the clouds roll in a few hours later. It's neverending.

For us, it feels our move has been coming up forever. Friends ask how long it will be before we go, and why is it taking so long? 

But there's no satisfying answer. We're playing the same waiting game with our move as everyone else is with the weather. Something will happen, and the end begins to feel nigh, and then you're back to waiting, trying to be patient amongst the grey.

It'll all be over soon – both the waiting and greyness. The layers and paperwork. 

March will be over soon.

In the meantime, I just put my head down and work, clean up and organize, read good books, try to relax.

There's a book kicking around right now called "Essentialism" which seems to be very worth reading. Anyway, I heard a quote from the book that encourages the reader to live in the present by asking themselves the following question:

What's important now?

Maybe for you, what's important now is planning and acting on your plans. Maybe it's organizing, or maybe it's letting the plans play out themselves.

Or maybe it's just enjoying your present company; focusing on finding some sunshine and getting through the grey days. 

Reminding yourself that it has to be March for it to be May or – can you even imagine? –June. Sundresses, warmth, fresh air. Flowers, open windows, and optimism.

Blue skies. Surely they'll come at some point, won't they?

But they will – they have to. 

We're almost there. After all, March is almost over.

 

Photo by D Watterson III


Becoming Minimalist: Why I'm Getting Rid Of One Thing, Every Day

Becoming minimalist mainly started with my move to London. 

There's really nothing like an international move to make you reassess your belongings. In this particular case, I was moving from a rented apartment in New York to a rented flat in London with no family anywhere near either city.

This meant that all of my belongings had to either come to London or be shipped home. In other words, everything I owned – from art work inherited from my dad to the "wear once every three months" H&M dresses suddenly had a price tag. 

Was it worth it to literally pay to ship a bag of street-soiled sandals from college across the ocean? 

I got rid of a lot on that move but upon unpacking in our first flat in South London, then re-packing and moving six months later to North London, I started to realize that I had moved with hundreds of things, and only about 20 of them really meant something to me. 

Slate article inspired me to take action. The article features an interview with the two dudes behind The Minimalists – Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. They started on their path to becoming minimalist by getting rid of one item, every day, for thirty days. 

The home of  MInima , professional minimalist + organizer extraordinaire, also inspired my challenge

The home of MInima, professional minimalist + organizer extraordinaire, also inspired my challenge

What The Minimalists discuss in their interview is the same thing that I'm discovering: once you challenge yourself to donate one item, every day, it becomes not so much a challenge and more like a fun project. As soon as you start getting rid of things, you pick up momentum, and your plastic bag of old books and leggings turns into a garbage bag full of stuff you never needed in the first place.

I plan on continuing my "challenge" for as long as I can until the only things left in my wardrobe are pieces of clothing that fit, that I actually wear, and enjoy wearing on a regular basis. Books with family/historical value will stay, but other books that don't give me real pleasure to see every day will go. Same with trinkets. The important things stays. Otherwise? Forget it. 

Of course, step one to becoming minimalist is donating what you're giving away and recycling what you can't donate. Throwing your crap in someone else's pile doesn't do a lick of good.

As for those $19.99 H&M dresses? They don't stand a chance. 

This is the first installment in a multi-part series on embracing minimalism. Read parts one two and three here