My partner is from overseas, and his mom still lives there, so I had always thought that we would probably end up moving to be nearer to her.
Gary is an only child, with a fairly close relationship with his mom. In fact, I can hear them talking on the phone in the other room while I am typing this. He just got back from a two week visit, and is realizing that she is needing to have some company over there.
Also, it will be good for River to spend time with her Nana. Our family is small, so keeping everyone together will be a good thing for all of us.
How the Plan Came Into Being.
It had been two years since Gary saw his mom, because of the pandemic. Typically, he goes to visit every year, and help her with some things around the house.
While he was visiting, he happened so see some deals on real estate in Germany. It was cheaper than in the US, and much cheaper than we had previously realized. This gave him the idea that it might be possible for us to move there.
After seeing the homes for sale in Germany, Gary called me to see if I would consider moving there.
I was sitting on the couch with the girls watching a movie, and I told him I would consider it, but I needed to talk to Atlantis first.
When I got off the phone, I brought it up with her. I asked her if she would be interested in moving to Germany. She said no, because she wants to major in ASL, and wouldn't be able to do it there. So, I asked if she would be alright with us moving. Without hesitation, she said yes.
The next day when I talked to Gary again, I told him that I would be willing to make the move.
Starting Out on a Journey
We made the decision that day that we will move to Germany, without realizing how many moving pieces there would be.
Making a decision to step out into the unknown, to leave everything that we have known behind, is something that can't be taken on lightly. We thought about pros and cons, and all of the things that will need to happen.
Then, our countdown hit 3 months.
Things started to get real.
The countdown to our move to Germany is on, and it is sinking in more and more how much is to be done before that.
I need to renew my passport.
We need to get our visas.
We need to clean out the house more.
We need to hire a moving company.
I need to find a new job.
River and I need to learn to speak better German.
Ich lerne Deutsch. I need to learn a lot more than everyone else to be able to get a job that is comparable to the job I have now. Not just conversational German so that I can go to the supermarket, but business German so that I can function in a professional job. That means, speaking, reading and writing.
River just needs to learn to speak some German so that she can be conversational and make new friends when she goes to her new Kiva.
Getting Started on My To-Do List.
To prepare for the move, we have been slowly cleaning out the garage, the basement, and our storage areas. We cleaned out a bunch of River's old toys, and last weekend I took them to a consignment shop, and the remainder to the ARC store. I cleaned out a bunch of old books that I don't think I will read again, took some to a used book shop, and the rest went to the thrift store along with the toys.
Also, I have been scanning a bunch of my old writing, so that I can publish it slowly over a period of time. I have put some on Medium already, with varying success so far.
With each item in the house, I am asking myself, "Do I really want to pay to move this to Germany?"
Then, I am putting things aside that I don't really want to have to pay to move, and tidying up the rest as much as possible. At some point, when I figure out what my job will be, I need to go through my closet and get rid of unneeded items there as well.
As we were talking about having Atlantis and Phyre rent the basement of the house after we leave, we have had to have a lot of very adult conversations with them about becoming responsible for the house while we are gone.
I let them know, they need to keep the house clean the way that we keep it clean, instead of having a typical teenage sprawl of messes throughout the basement. That was a hard conversation, because up to this point the cleaning on their part has been somewhat lacking.
Also, we are starting to put the bills into their names. We started this week with the internet provider. Atlantis had to call the provider and set up a new account to replace our account that is expiring. Gary had to step in and help since he is the previous account holder.
Along with those conversations are other ongoing discussions about what it means to be responsible. We have talked about home maintenance, the need to get along with the new upstairs tenants we will be looking for soon, and the financial obligations they will be taking on with the house.
We have also had to be taking a close look at our finances, and anticipating what we will need for the moving expenses.
Our plane tickets are already paid for.
Other than that, we are looking at the cost of packing, moving and shipping all of our furniture overseas. We have had to get several price quotes for that too.
Even though most of our furniture is being sold or donated, we are still looking about $10K to ship all of our belongings overseas.
We are also trying to estimate our new housing costs. This includes finding out the rules for finding a new house or apartment over there. Gary's mom talked to a banker about the rules for us to buy as new people moving from overseas. We are looking at houses, apartments and furnished rentals. This all means we are going to be moving into a new place, for an undetermined amount of time, sight unseen.
All of this just has us juggling so much up in the air.
Questioning the decision to move
Although I am committed to moving to Germany, there are several times that I have found myself questioning.
A few weeks ago, Atlantis tearfully told me that she didn't want me to go. She said, she was ok with the idea in theory and knew it was a good opportunity for me. But, that now that it is getting real, she is not actually ok with me going.
We had a long talk about things, and decided to spend as much time together as possible before the move.
The idea of leaving Atlantis and Phyre behind and feeling sad makes me feel like my heart is being torn in half. I love all my kids, I want to be with all my kids, but in so many ways this means that they are going to have to learn to fly on their own.
I know intellectually that they are adults and should be find on their own. But seeing Atlantis cry for me, and tell me that she feels bad not spending more time with me still tugs on my heart. When you're a mom, your kids are always your kids, no matter what their age.
Selling our house
We went back and forth an deciding if we were going to sell or not. Originally, I wanted to sell the house. But then we got to thinking of all the work that Gary has done on this house, and trying to decide if we would want to come back here.
At one point Gary looked at everything that had gone into making this house into a home, and decided that we should keep the house and rent it out. Atlantis and Phyre were going to rent out the basement of the house so they would have a place to stay.
However, we kept going back and forth because we want to have some start up cash for Germany too. The only way we could think of to get a decent chunk of money together for the move was to look at selling the house.
This week, I realized we don't need to keep this house to have a place for Atlantis and Phyre to stay. We could get them a condo of their own with some of the proceeds of this home.
We talked with the bank and got prequalified to buy a new home. We talked to a realtor about looking for a new place, and are looking to get some appointments set up to look for a new place.
As far as the sale of this house, we looked at Opendoor. It is a company that buys your home as-is without any showings. Then they will do any needed repairs, and resell the house. We did an interior walk through today over Zoom, and have the exterior walk through tomorrow. Then they will give us a quote on how much we can get for selling the house.
When we got in touch with a realtor to look at places for Atlantis and Phyre, then she told us that we should try to sell our house in the traditional route, so that we could get more money.
In order to show the house, we had to put a lot of work into getting things cleaned up and looking presentable. The realtor told us to put away all our personal items so that people could visualize themselves living here. We also got a cleaning crew to come in and go through everything.
We had a whole weekend of showings, and got an offer.
There is a ton that goes into selling a house, and into buying a new one. So we have been working on both simultaneously.
Looking for a job
Although you can move from the US to Germany without a job, it is better to have one lined up in advance. You are allowed to stay in Germany for 90 days without a Visa, and you will need a job to be able to get a Visa, unless you have family living there or are married to a German citizen
This makes having a job lined up before you arrive especially important if you have a limited amount of savings, need more time for a job search, or don't speak German fluently.
I started applying for jobs overseas in January, and finally have found one and gotten a contract in place to start about 3 weeks after we arrive.
I applied for jobs on Indeed and LinkedIn, and there were actually quite a few interviews that turned out to be scams. It was quite a process to get a job in place.
If I spoke German fluently already, it would have made my job search much easier, as there are additional German job search resources available. However, for all of them you will need to be able to speak German fluently.
Moving overseas has so many different aspects to consider. We are lucky to have Gary's mom already there, so that she can research many things in advance for us. She is a big help for us already, and will be a great resource when we get there too.
You can follow our story in our new YouTube series!
Let me know what you think in the comments! Have you ever made a big move? Is it something that you would want to do? I would love to hear from you!