You got that phone call: It’s time to pack up and move to London. And while you may have talked about this adventure for a long time, it still comes as a bit of a shock – a couple of months (or maybe just weeks!) to sort out all your belongings and find a new home across the Atlantic! Sure, you can pepper your expat friends with questions, or purchase one of the weighty ‘New to London’ tombs on Amazon – but wouldn’t it be just sooo helpful to have a concise practical guide for your move?
That’s exactly how I felt when my husband got the go-ahead to transfer to the London office of his company. We had 2 1/2 months to conclude our lives in San Francisco and prepare for a new home in the UK. And I (may have) had a significant advantage over you – I am European (German) by passport and upbringing, and I had already spent 10 years of my life living in the UK as a student. So this was going to be easy, right?
It turned out that my previous experiences of moving country were helpful to some degree – but much was amiss. I was now no longer on my own, with belongings that could be stuffed into two medium-sized suitcases. I had two children to worry about – especially the universal inducer of parent stress: How do I get them into a good school? My tax obligations were anything but straight-forward (what a luxury it was to file taxes in only one country!). And while not a stranger to the UK, I was completely new to the London commuting zoo, driving a car clockwise around busy two-lane roundabouts (aka traffic circles), or buying and transporting household appliances in a city where parking is an afterthought.
Over the past 1.5 years, our London life has found its groove. But the learning curve was steep – it seems like eternity has passed since I stepped off the plane at Heathrow with my two little princesses in tow, jetlagged up to our eyeballs.
In hindsight, there are so many things I wish I had known. Which I intend to share with you on this blog over the next months. I sincerely hope you will find nuggets of wisdom within my posts that help you climb those first all-important hurdles: finding a wonderful home and finding a good school for your children in London. You will be regaled with plenty of information on other topics as well, from planning your budget, to driving on London roads, to managing life without a Target in sight.