I’ve been meaning to post this for several weeks now but it got lost in my draft section with all the other posts I have been writing lately. Better late than never, I suppose!
Things I’ve learned from our first move overseas:
Most importantly, no matter how much you plan, prepare, and strategize, you will never get it all done, never be as prepared as you think you should be and it will be stressful! So agonizing over everything is just not worth it…just relax and enjoy the time with your family and friends and soak in the experience.
On top of this, I’ve learned a few other things.
- Don’t be optimistic, be realistic and practical: those Christmas decorations we thought would be nice to make our new place feel like home, really didn’t matter when they arrived on January 25th. A blender, food processor, CLOTHES, more dog food, anything would have been a much better use of space in our quick shipment of items.
- That my husband does not need any more ties…I’ve realized that I think he may have more ties than I have pairs of shoes (which he’d argue I have too many of). On the other hand, I’ve realized I could use more practical pairs of shoes, specifically ones with a whole lot of cushioning and support and preferably wedges. After one event here of several hours standing on concrete and walking down slopped cobblestone streets, those cute heels with no support just aren’t going to cut it here for the long haul! And neither will flat sandals with no support.
- You can do a lot with a little. Having the bare essentials, which I would have argued before coming here would be impossible, is actually very possible. A friend I’ve made here was just telling me that she was amazed that I was food blogging with only the welcome kit we were given by the embassy. As a “collector of life” (as my eleven year old cousin would say), I have more kitchen tools and appliances than are really probably necessary and always want more. But the first two months after we arrived showed me that you can do a lot with a little. You get back to the basics and learn to improvise, when necessary.
**Check out Kitchen Essentials | And Hacks For Those You Don’t Have for my thoughts on kitchen must haves as well as hacks!**
Once I got over the shock of the limited amount of ingredients I was comfortable cooking with being available and the fear of how to cook at high altitudes, I was able to start getting back into my routine. The photos above was the only kitchen equipment I had (this was our welcome kit) and I had a few cooking staples like olive oil and spices that our sponsors gave us when we arrived. I will not complain about having all of my kitchen appliances and miscellaneous gadgets now but those two months were great for me to learn the basics and that a good sharp set of knives is vital to any kitchen!
As our time here progresses, I have learned several more lessons. In general, patience and an ability to laugh go a long way. I can’t say I’ve grasped it but I’m sure being afforded plenty of opportunities to work on it. Last week, while cooking dinner our breaker for the stove and oven kept popping leaving me to run back and forth to flip the switch and then reset the oven temperature and time. After hearing my screams, choice words, and tears forming in my eyes, my husband took his post next to the breaker box to immediately flip it on as soon as it went off. We continued this for another 5-7 minutes until everything was cooked properly. I loved that he was able to laugh at the situation and chalk it up to living abroad. I’m working on it but I’m just not there yet!