Hiya, Weekend Warriors, thanks for joining us again for more tips on how you can already prepare for moving to London. Last week I provided an index of our Saturday moving / packing tips to bring you up to date on all the territory we’ve covered so far. Today, I’ll get into a more touch-feely aspect of moving abroad…preparing your friends and family.
Now, I’m not looking to relive the pain of when I first told my family and friends that my husband and I were officially moving to London. It was an emotionally loaded summer as it was, as this announcement came right after we’d returned from our honeymoon! I can still remember standing in my parents’ kitchen and breaking the news to my mother that my husband had accepted his London job offer during our honeymoon (I know, how romantic, right? Pshh…). All I can say is, my only bit of relief was that I was wearing a good ol’ American baseball cap at the time that I could hide my face behind. It was an awkward subject, especially because I had purposefully avoided the topic until after the wedding…I didn’t want to move to London, you see, so I wasn’t perceiving this as a great possibility at the time, therefore didn’t want a looming cloud of sadness to cast its massive shadow across the joyous event of our wedding. Oh, gawd, why did I have to go and bring this topic up?!
In any case, what I learned in retrospect is that the announcement didn’t have to be as bad as it was if I hadn’t been living in such denial of it. Communicating openly with your loved ones all along is a healthy way of bracing all for the reality—it doesn’t mean it won’t make anyone sad, but it provides more time for everyone to process and cope with the emotions. Yes, it’s your life and your move, but let’s not take for granted the people who have always supported us and have contributed so much to our lives to this point and will continue to do so beyond, no matter the geographic distance in this ever-shrinking modern world. Like it or not, you do owe it to them to keep them in the loop from start to finish. Leaving it to the last minute can breed hurt and possibly resentment, as if it’s something you’re doing to them rather constructively with them if you can make them feel more a part of the decision-making.
Now, the people in my life overall took it well and, despite the sadness, saw it as a grand adventure for my new husband and I to start our life together. But it’s not uncommon for our emotions to sometimes get the best of us, and, consequently, you might actually encounter some friends or family members registering your London move as a betrayal of sorts, that you’re leaving them behind. Keep the perspective in this case that it’s simply that they feel hurt; they’re going to miss you and want to continue being as significant to your life as you likely want to remain in theirs. Many people fear the fruition of the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind,” so try to help everyone keep the faith that “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” instead!
So consider how you can keep your loved ones updated on your moving process—what you’ve learned through your research, your time frame, what areas you’re considering living, what points of interests will be there that they can check out when they come visit you, and so forth. Maybe even exploit their love and need to be needed by enlisting them to help pack! And even after you’ve made your London relocation, continue keeping them posted via email, Skype, social networks like Facebook, and, even more fun, maintaining an expat blog of your experiences and travels—that’s a really easy way to update everyone at once with the added benefit of documenting your adventures abroad for yourself.
In short, show ‘em that you love ‘em any way you can and give the reassurance that your relationship will remain the same even after you’ve relocated to London.