Expect the unexpected

Plan for the unexpected when moving abroad

Following on from this post about planning and packing for our first international relocation

As mentioned previously, I’d planned the packing of our possessions very thoroughly.

But you can’t plan for what happens after the goods have left your home.

We arrived in Tokyo on 22nd November 2006 with our suitcases and the few items they contained.

My meticulous packing plan involved shipping our unimportant goods, such as summer clothes and general nick-nacks (aka ‘stuff’), two months before our departure from the UK, with the intention (hope?) of them arriving a couple of weeks after our arrival in Japan.

Our urgent possessions were flown over so that they would arrive first, ie a day or two after our arrival in the country.

You can guess what actually happened, can’t you?

A week after we landed in Tokyo all our shipped items arrived. But our urgent air freight was held up in customs. This urgent package included items such as my computer, more winter clothes, Christmas gifts for our daughter, and extra food for the cats.

So, I was greeted unexpectedly one morning by an enormous lorry reversing up our tiny driveway bearing what seemed to be a hundred boxes of summer clothes and random articles. But nothing was heard about our urgent packages.

Having not seen any of it for over two months, it was rather like an early Christmas opening up all the boxes, discovering things we hadn’t seen for so long. English tea! Green and Black’s chocolate! How clever I was to remember to pack those. Daughter had enormous fun rediscovering toys and books. But the summer clothes weren’t a lot of use.

However, as I unpacked the boxes I did spend more time thinking along the lines of, why on earth did I bring that?! and “why hadn’t we left more of our daughter’s toys behind? She hasn’t really missed them.”

I made a vow to be far more ruthless when it came to our next move…

Our ‘urgent’ air freight eventually turned up just a couple of weeks before Christmas, so all worked out well in the end.

In the meantime, we survived by borrowing bedding, crockery and, my greatest necessity, a laptop, from friends and colleagues.

So plan very thoroughly, but expect the unexpected.

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