11 weeks out – how I’m feeling about the move

Hi everyone! I’ve been having a hard time thinking what to write about on the blog. But yesterday I realized we’re moving out of SF in 10 weeks and America in 11 weeks, which made me get really emotional! So I figured I’d write about how I’m feeling about the move right now. (Warning: this post will probably be whiny and emo, so apologies in advance for complaining about first-world problems.)

I should start off by saying I’m REALLY excited. A fresh start in life is a really rare opportunity and I’m super looking forward to life in my new home country. I know I’ll feel supported when I get there and am thankful to have such a great network of people there already!

That being said, I am also EXTREMELY nervous, scared and stressed! This move was so theoretical for so long, and I didn’t really think that hard about it until pretty recently. But now it’s 11 weeks away and I’m starting to realize how much stuff has to happen in the next year of my life.

I have to say goodbye for now to all my friends and family! I have to purge everything I own so my entire life can be contained in 5 suitcases (which is more than many people have moved across the world with, but if you know me well, you know how many crazy trinkets and coffee mugs I own)! We have to somehow offload all our furniture! We have to throw a going away party! We have to write a complicated contract for our work arrangement! We will DEFINITELY need to consult a Norwegian and American accountant. Then we MOVE, which will involve me sobbing uncontrollably at the airport security gate. Then once I get to Norway, I have to learn the language by going to classes 4 days a week 4 hours a day, take hella expensive driving courses to learn how to navigate Norwegian roads (and hopefully pass my driver’s test because if I fail I have to take ~$1,500 in mandatory driving courses), RENOVATE A HOUSE, work late nights, eat different Norwegian food all the time, casually learn how society functions all while I’m 6,000 miles and a 9-hour time difference away from my mom. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed!

I’ve struggled a lot with emotional and physical energy over the past few years and I’m feeling a little unsure of how I’m going to function with so much change happening all at once. I want to hit the ground running in Norway as much as possible so integrating and getting situated in our own home doesn’t take too long, but I also don’t know why I’m putting so much pressure on myself to have everything be perfect and settled ASAP. Bendik does his best to comfort me by saying there’s no rush to figure everything out right away, but I have a tendency to set impossibly high expectations for myself. I unfortunately don’t know how to just relax and deal with things as they come. Maybe this move will help me with that?

I think I just want some stability when I’m over there, because moving away from home and friends and family is going to be really stressful and I’ll want to feel comfortable in Norway so I don’t get crazy homesick. I know I will be homesick no matter what, but I feel like I need to power through it so I don’t feel sad and isolated all the time.

I’ve been joining “Americans in Norway” type groups on Facebook, which I thought would be helpful (so I can see what life is like there for My People lol) but unfortunately, it seems to be mostly people complaining about Norway/Norwegians (at least the posts I’ve come across so far). I truly hope this doesn’t mean I’m going to be constantly uncomfortable in my new country. Well, I know I will be mildly uncomfortable (there’s so much shrimp all the time!!!! And no cheddar!!!) but I hope that I can handle the culture shock without becoming a curmudgeonly expat.

It’s been really difficult thinking about the fact that I’m now experiencing so many “lasts” in America – my last time hanging out with friends, my last time eating at our favorite restaurants, my last time ordering something on Amazon and it showing up at my doorstep 2 days later, my last sugar-free popsicles, my last time shopping at Old Navy, etc. I’m so comfortable in SF and America – I know how everything works, I have a ton of friends that I can hang out with at any time, and I truly feel at home in the city. Leaving America means leaving my comfort zone, and I don’t handle change and ambiguity that well.

I know everything will be fine once I’m there and find my rhythm, and I’m much luckier than many immigrants who don’t know the language, have no connections, no job, no place to live, and come from difficult situations in their home country. I try to keep my experience in perspective, but still do feel nervous about leaving home behind. It’s not like I’ll never talk to my friends/family again, and we’ll come back to America once or twice a year, but if I’m being honest about my feelings, I’m pretty stressed about making such a huge life change.

So, I’m really excited to move, but am equally freaked out! I hope my next update is a happier one, but a lot of people have been asking how I feel now that the move is so close, and this is what I’m experiencing. Please bear with me over the next couple of months – I might get super emo when we hang out/start crying (I have a tendency to do that when I don’t know when I’ll see someone again).

If you’ve ever made a big move, how did you handle the stress and emotions that come with starting over? I would love to know!


6 thoughts on “11 weeks out – how I’m feeling about the move

  1. Hi Tabby,

    We made the move front dublin to Stockholm in 2009, 10 years ago. Some slight differences in our perspectives as I was more like Bendik (moving home to Sweden after 15 years in Ireland). But here are some thoughts you may find useful.

    I am sure there is good cheddar in Norway. We can get really good British cheddar in regular supermarkets like Lidl in sweden. I’m sure you will find some.

    Facebook groups, not necessary a good thing. Usually full of expats who only compare things that they miss, or dislike, forgetting to consider the things that actually work so much better in Scandinavia compared to Ireland, England, or US.

    How to get fully integrated? Yes, so important to learn the language. It’s very difficult to integrate into Scandinavia without it. I admire your stamina!

    Lots of luck with the move. I will comment again in the future.

    1. Thank you, Tove! I agree that the Facebook groups are not really helpful – mostly complaining from strong-headed Americans that aren’t very open-minded, unfortunately. And I’m excited to learn the language, even though it’ll be a lot of effort up front. But I think it’ll pay off when I’m able to have dinner conversation and party conversation in Norwegian, without everyone having to switch to English. Thanks so much for commenting! It’ll be interesting to hear your perspectives on Scandinavian life as I get used to everything :)

  2. I hope you haven’t got “kalde føtter”. Ask Bendik to translate if you don’t understand the expression. We all welcome you and will do our best to ease any difficulties. ❤️🇳🇴🇺🇸

    1. Absolutt ingen kalde føtter! Just a little nervous about all the change to come. But I’m so lucky to have such a supportive Norwegian family who will take such great care of us when we move <3 I'm so excited! Norway is the right place to be for us, so there will be an adjustment period, but everything will become much easier the more I integrate and get comfortable in Norway :)

  3. Hi Tabby, a big hug to you. I totally understand how you must be feeling now, but as a person who moved across the world, I can assure you that everything will be fine. When you arrive at Norway, the excitement of a new life will over come the nervousness, especially you have families in Norway already, and as you said, it’s not like leaving America forever, you will be back couple times a year and with all the technology you still can chat with your friends here all the time 😊A hot bath may help you relax, I know it helps me every time I’m stress out :D
    Also do you want to show off your mug collection? I think that will be very interesting! Ha en fin dag!
    –Xuesong ( I go with Meonicorn / The Bookish Land online)

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