If you’re visiting my blog for the first time, thanks! Can I recommend you go and start this blog series at the beginning so you can read about our nonsense idea of emigrating with kids just for fun.
Countdown to emigrating with kids
The countdown is well and truly on. We have renters for our UK home, we have a move date (early January), we have a house booked for the first six weeks and we have flights to take us there. I’m in the process of booking a service that comes and collects all your bags from your house and checks them in for you. Perfect, right? Take some of the stress out of travelling if we can rock up to the airport with just our day bags….and the kids, obviously we aren’t going to try and persuade this service to take our kids too…
Hang on a minute, have I just had the best damn business idea ever? A service that takes your luggage AND your kids for so you can fly totally unencumbered?
It’s probably illegal, right?
We are flying with British Airways because they brilliantly allow you to take up to ten bags each for not huge amounts of money. First bag of 23kg is free, second bag is £60 and every bag after that is £120. For four of us we have booked to take an extra four bags, one each. Fingers crossed that’ll be enough baggage allowance to get us and our most important stuff there. When I say ‘most important’, read ‘toys’. Sigh. In addition to our bags we’re also allowed to take car seats for the kids…for free…British Airways, you rock! Just please don’t have a strike on the day we leave. And, if you wanted to take our kids off somewhere else for us we should talk…just sayin’.
For my amazing hints on travelling with little ones, check out these articles I wrote earlier, about air travel with kids, and my FAQs on why we travel with our kids. Although now I’ve said I want to create a business that means someone else looks after your kids while you fly, you may not want to read my tips. I promise I don’t once recommend drugging kids or anything sinister like that.
Our flight is a day flight, which is both good and bad: good because we won’t be knackered when we get on the plane. Bad because the kids will never sleep but will just watch tv ALL the way and will then be a pain in the butt when we arrive in Mexico. It’s important to just remember that normal tv rules don’t count in the air. Just count to ten and remember that if they’re watching tv then they’re not asking ‘why’ ten zillion times a minute.
Packing for emigrating with kids
Not so much is happening at the moment. I am happily moving things between rooms. I have an amazing pile of junk in the corner of our bedroom and I’m merrily giving the kids’ stuff away left, right and centre. Books are mainly going to my parents’ place, as are some warm clothes in case we ever decide to go wild and come home in winter. What else is there? Oh yeah, spices and baking paper may need to come with us from what I read. I’d love to take a life supply of decent cheese and real bacon, too, but I suspect that isn’t acceptable to Mexican immigration rules. Shame. So mainly I’m going to be surreptitiously chucking out toys and crappy books while no one is looking until I’ve whittled our possessions down to six bags of clothes and toys, one bag for a small bike and one box for a computer.
We are super organised people so we have a huge spreadsheet that we’re using to keep track of what’s going on and what’s been done. Thankfully it appears we put most bills and accounts in Col’s name so he has had to do most of the account closing. Shame! He is going to the embassy on Friday to persuade them he deserves a temporary resident’s visa.
The bunk beds are nominally sold, as is the kids’ toy kitchen. We aren’t doing anything about our car until after xmas as we need it to get to family events but once christmas is done then it’s ‘adios’ to our lovely old car.
Emigrating sort of sounds glamorous, right? Well, I shall gladly shatter that illusion: today I mainly cleaned out kitchen cupboards. Tomorrow I shall be boxing up books and when it gets less evilly cold here, we need to sort out the shed. Yay!
It even seems that I might have lucked out and found a great new Spanish school, ¡Hola!, run by two of my old teachers from when we were there last time. So, hopefully that’s a school for the kids sorted and some Spanish refresher lessons for me too.
It turns out that organising a) christmas for kids just before emigrating; and b) trying to see everyone before going are both difficult things to do.
We don’t want christmas to be rubbish for the kids but we also don’t want to end up with ten zillion more bits of crap to take with us, or to have wasted money on stuff they can’t take with them. We have thought really hard about their presents so fingers crossed we’ve done it right. Clearly I am not going to write what we have bought the kids just on the off chance one of them is actually a teenager masquerading as a small, basically illiterate, child because then we’d ruin their surprises….
oh. If one of them is a teenager pretending to be three or five then I guess they won’t want the presents we’ve got anyway.
How are we all feeling? Turns out that’s a question you get asked a lot when people know you’re emigrating as a family. Well, the answer depends on how truthful you want me to be. There are a number of options, I guess. For me I simultaneously feel a bunch of things: excited, nervous, brave, stupid smug, proud of us, worry that we’re doing the wrong thing, certainty we’re doing the right thing…I think the list goes on. I’ll probably only ever admit to be nervous and excited though if you ask me in person.
As far as our kids are concerned, I’m not entirely convinced they fully understand the difference between ‘moving’ and a holiday. Each holiday we’ve had since getting back from Mexico in April has heard ‘so where’s our new school?’, from the little one. The big one understands enough to be pissed off with us for making him leave his school and friends, but then seems to forget regularly and ask questions about what he’ll be doing in his English school in the summer term. Mainly we’re bribing them with the promise of a trip to the toy shop and the beach within the first week. Because let’s face it, they’re mercenary little buggers, despite our best efforts!