Moving is just stressful

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Serial expat Amanda has just made the move to Luxembourg. No stranger to relocation, she still can't get used to how little removal companies understand the plight of the mover.

Moving is just stressful no matter how many times you do it.

I still cringe at the memory of Those Clowns who moved me to Moscow. I won't mention any names, but if you ever decide to move to Moscow, email me and I'll sing like a canary.

I actually called Those Clowns for a quote about moving us to Luxembourg and could not get their Expat Contact Lady to return my calls. In fact, the Estimate Gal who eventually came out to do the survey even said, "Oh, she never returns calls ... she only emails."

All well and good, but how am I supposed to email you when you have my computer on your truck?

They didn't even follow up with a call to see who I had chosen. Who doesn't call a potential client to ask for their business?

Meanwhile, Current Moving Company let me shout at their Documents Dude.

Why is it that people, especially professional movers, don't grasp that when you are in the middle of a move like this you really Do Not Have Anything.

Documents Dude made the mistake of suggesting I print a document. That would be fine except your team very efficiently PACKED MY PRINTER. Yesterday.

Removal man with boxesSeriously, they went through our place like a dose of salts. They managed to take the piano out without me even hearing it. Unlike when The Clowns brought it in. Up. Every. Step. For. Seven. Flights. BAM. BAM. BAM.

I had several snarky conversations with Documents Dude, including one as I was leaving the building that frustrated me so that I started to cry.

The details aren't that important. But the short version is: what notary won't accept your actual passport when Russian Immigration will, but insists on a translated form that then has to be notarised? It's not like our names on our Russian visas aren't already in Cyrillic.

There was more fun when I filled out some forms with The Spouse’s Former Employer so he can have some life insurance until we buy him another plan in Luxembourg. See, they want a cheque.

I haven't written a lot of cheques since 1999 when I started living abroad. But I do still own a chequebook. Which the movers very efficiently packed. Because I don't need it. Usually.

So I had to call an American friend and ask her to write me a cheque.

"When you come back," said Former Employer HR Lady, "just leave the cheque in an envelope at reception."

"Um, HR Lady," I had to ask, "can you give me an envelope?"

She was horrified, and did, and even gave me a sleeve to carry the copies of the insurance forms. Because I really was without anything I normally have access to. As prepared as the family pet; that’s what it’s like during a move. And it's extremely stressful.

A few hours later found me in that not-so-Scottish restaurant chain hoovering down a Big Mac Combo. While I was sitting there inhaling French fries, my phone rings.

Spilled French fries

It's the New Employer in Luxembourg. Seems the travel agent wants to know the measurements of my cats' travel cages. Which would have been really easy to answer even yesterday when I had access to measuring devices, but now I Do Not Have Anything.

Quick: tell me where to buy a measuring tape in Moscow! Metric or English, it doesn't matter. I know of two hardware stores but – tick-tock, tick-tock – they need the information today.

I admit to crying again while snarfling French fries and wondering if I choked on the fries whether anyone would try to rescue me or if they would just push my lifeless body under the counter where I was sitting, happy to have found a seat in an always-crowded Moscow McDonald's.

I realised I could ask American Friend, a confessed seamstress, if she had a tape measure while I was over at her place utilizing her banking services.

She did! What a gal!

Now our temporary apartment in Luxembourg, while perfectly fine, is going to have to be home for a while, as the moving company cannot release our shipment until we receive a `certificat de residence' which we cannot possibly have before our proposed delivery date of 1 April.

Why do the moving companies ask you when you want to take delivery when it is rarely, if ever, anything you can control? Why do they even ask?

I expect we will be here until at least 1 May, which helps justify the 27 kilos of excess baggage I paid a small fortune for. Because unlike in Moscow, it may be spring here by May.


AmandaOriginally from Ohio, Amanda was bitten by the travel bug when she spent a summer as an exchange student in Australia. Before following The Spouse to Luxembourg, they lived in Taiwan, South Florida, Buenos Aires, Bratislava (SK) and Russia. Follow Amanda as she settles into Luxembourg on her blog

Photo credit: Welcometolearn (stressed boy).

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