Category Archives: Moving

We’re so close, I can taste it.

These last few weeks have been super hectic. I’ve simultaneously prepared for a trip across the world, and a move across the country, as well as finishing up my audio engineering course with three big projects.

But now I’ve finally finished it all and I have some downtime tonight before it’s time to sit on a plane and fly to Australia! WOOHOOO! I’M SO EXCITED! (and I just can’t hide it)

The end of term projects might not be that relevant to this blog, but basically, there were two personal music projects and one group film project, where we put sound to a short film.

So, let’s see. Let’s go through what I’ve been up to.

Monday and Tuesday of the last week of school, that is, last week (at the time of writing) were two days of presenting our final projects. The rest of the week was spent looking at other presentations from other courses, like the lighting students, and cleaning the studio etc. And I also packed up all my stuff into boxes. I’ve only lived in a small single room apartment, but I’ve collected a lot more stuff than I brought with me over the last two years, the biggest of which are probably a sofa and a desk, but also studio equipment, musical instruments, a new desktop computer (the old one became a home server) and other knick knacks, like clothes, kitchenware and decorative stuff. Oh, and let’s not forget the box that contained nothing but Harry Potter merch and Kylie’s stuff that she left here last time she was over!

All in all, I ended up with five bigger boxes and half a dozen, if not more, smaller ones. As well as some stuff that went without boxes, like furniture.

Luckily, my brother got his driver’s license just in time to be able to come up and help me get all the stuff down to where my dad lives, which is more or less across the country. So we rented a trailer and he and my mum came up on the weekend, to help me.

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My mum eats a burger on their way up to Haparanda

To avoid getting time off work, we decided to do it on the weekend, so they left early Saturday morning and arrived in Haparanda on Saturday night, at which time we almost immediately set to work packing up my last stuff into boxes, dismantling the furniture (thank you IKEA and your furniture that’s easy to take apart and pack into tight spaces) and load it into the trailer and the back of the car. Luckily I had loaded up with coca cola to provide us with caffeine and energy after the coffee machine was packed away and we managed to get it done in just a few hours.

Since we were on a tight schedule and had calculated that there would be about 17 hours going back down, including a couple stops, we decided to leave straight away after we finished packing (much to Kylie’s panic).

I don’t really know what to say about the roadtrip. It was exhausting, but fun. We spent most of the trip sitting in the car, listening to music. I was awake most of the time, while my brother and my mother took turns driving and resting. We also took a couple of stops to buy food, refuel and have coffees. Which was nice. We also stopped at Högakustenbron, a bridge that had a nice view. So that was cool. Otherwise, it was fun but pretty uneventful.

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On our way back down

The original plan was to go to my dad’s in Skänninge, dump my stuff and then go up to my mum’s in Stockholm, because I needed to be in Stockholm for the flight to Australia. But since my mum left us when we passed Stockholm anyway and it was just me and my brother, and he didn’t have work on the Monday, we ended up staying the night at my dad’s, which was probably the best idea I had in a while, because that allowed us to get the trailer to the return station in time, eat some tacos when we got back, and then sleep in the bed sofa, which we brought from my apartment, so that we were well rested in the morning ready to go back up to Stockholm the next day. It also meant that I got to spend more time with my sisters, which was really fun.

So now I’m sitting here writing a blog post. I’m getting on a plane tomorrow, flying to my beloved Kylie. And it feels almost unreal. I’ve got my bags packed light, with just some clothes, camera, tripod and some toiletries, so that we can load my bags with Kylie’s stuff when we go back.

So the last two days in Stockholm have ben pretty quiet in comparison. I got a haircut and shaved my beard off, which is kinda symbolical actually since the last time I cut my hair or shaved my beard off was just before I moved to Haparanda and started studying Audio Engineering two years ago.

Haircut

In about half hour my brother will arrive and he’ll drive me to the airport in the morning before he start work.

Then I’ll get on the plane. And then I’ll get to meet her again. This time, for the last time. this time there’s no separating again. This time, I’m staing with her, and she’s staying with me. And this time, it’s really, really, for real.

Oh May, Where Did You Go?

The days are going so fast now! Didn’t we only just book flights?  24 days.  24 days until we see each other again, or 3 weeks and 1 day until he boards his plane.  There are just three weekends to go, or 18 work days!  Or in the case of Johan, only 14 school days!  And then, 71 days until I make the move.  It still doesn’t feel real.

We’ve both been keeping busy, and haven’t had a lot of time to dwell on it or really get too excited I don’t think.  Johan’s been so busy trying to finish off music assignments and projects and practise work that he’s barely thought about it I don’t think – and I’m sure he’s going to love it over here with all of our sun and no snow.  Ha, we’re starting to enter winter over here as Sweden heads towards summer, and still the daytime temperatures Haparanda is getting are about what you would expect of our nighttime temperatures in midwinter,  or less!

He’s also managed to do a test packing of all of his belongings for coming out here, and his luggage weight came in at 10.1kg out of the 10kg I had estimated for him, so I was very pleased about that!  It seems my planning and OCD and frantic organising has been right on target to meet our 74kg allowance and 20kg posted.  The only thing I’ve got to worry about now is finding the right postage box that’s big enough for what I need it for without exceeding the 140cm girth limit!

My cat, Shadow, has had her two vaccination shots and is booked with JetPets to come out and see her and drop off her travel crate just after Johan arrives.  To my surprise, she seems perfectly comfortable in the cat harness I got for her (yellow for Hufflepuff!) though I think it’ll be a different story when she’s hiding in boxes and amongst furniture after a long flight.  I’ve told her it’s nothing to be scared of, but I’m not sure she’ll listen to me when the time comes, so I’ve just had to promise lots of cuddles and treats instead!

The big thing I’ve been trying to focus on lately is trying to finish off last minute crafts for our Etsy store that I’d already half started, sell everything that remains in our store, and all the other bits and pieces of books and things I don’t want.  Feel free to check out and share our Etsy store, we’d love the support!

The other thing is simply trying to decide what to show and do with Johan in the 6 weeks that he’s here, and hoping that all of our packing works out perfectly!  So very very close now.  And then we’ll both get to worry about job searching and house/apartment hunting again!  We found a house we really loved the other day, but alas, I think that dream may have to wait.  Johan’s Dad and step-mum have kindly allowed us to stay with them for the short-term, and it’ll be great to see them and Johan’s younger half sisters again, but I can’t wait to have our own space either with our hobby rooms and collections on display.  Oh, and my Swedish is coming along well!   Sort of.  Well, the written a lot more than the spoken or listening, but it’s a start, as long as I don’t get tooo embarrassed or self conscious to speak it! XD

I expect you’ll hear from us again very soon!

And so the Countdown Begins

Wow, it has been busy!

Between travel agents and computer technicians and vets and Easter… feels like I haven’t had a moment’s breath!  However, I can happily say that our flights are now all booked in.  To our family and friends, this is old news as we’ve been a bit slow getting it onto the blog,  but we’re all organised now, or at least, the technical side of things.  Johan arrives in Brisbane on the night of June 23 – just over two months away!  With any luck, the jet lag will be less bad for him as he will be able to sleep it off straight away… but I know it doesn’t work like that.  Even a week or two weeks into my last two trips, I could not stop myself from falling asleep the moment things got quiet.  But that could also have been because we filled our itineraries to bursting point.  In any case, he will have six weeks to recover before we fly back to Stockholm, together at last, on August 9.  Hopefully, with a cat.

I’m still in a bit of denial, I think.  I can’t believe it’s really finally happening.  I packed my first box last weekend, only a small 15x15x15cm box which was the perfect fit for a fragile item, and I dusted down all of my shelves and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m TOO organised.  I mean I’ve been thinking about this for over six months.  I feel I can’t pack because if I do, I’ll have it all done in a week, tops.  And I’m now not moving for another 3 and a half months so I’m telling myself to wait another 2 if I don’t want an empty unwelcoming room to live in.  I basically know what I’m doing with all my stuff, it’s just all matter of packing it into the right boxes, and jigsawing all my items into the suitcases.  I know the weight isn’t a problem, it’s just the volume they will take up and how to sandwich it altogether to meet those weight requirements.

So I’m back on focusing on my other commitments.  Finishing up all my craft projects, selling off the things I don’t want, and trying to learn Swedish.  Johan is back at school next week, and these next two months are surely going to fly before he’s finishing up, packing up his own apartment, and getting himself over to me.  64 days really isn’t that long at all.  It’s very, very close.  And we can’t wait.

One Week On

One week after celebrating that exciting night, I have received my decision in writing.  It’s really happening.  Have I started packing like I said I would?  I’ve done a bit of cleaning, but no, not really.  Instead, I have been going mad with notes and figures from travel agents and vets and computer repair companies.  Yep, that same day my PC decided to conk it, decided it didn’t want to wait three months until after I left, meaning this year I have so far broken my phone,  iPad, and computer.  And I need it now more than ever to organise our Etsy store, Gumtree listings, scan all my important documents into electronic form, and back up my files.  Oh, my harddrive and files are perfectly safe, but I’ve been told the rest of it is too old and dying and it’s not worth repairing that I’m better off getting a new one.  For three months.  Needless to say,  I’ve barely had a chance to be able to consider this.  It’s been a very stressful week with a lot of late nights.

Every night I have been looking up flight comparison websites trying to find cheapest days and best deals for a return flight for Johan to come out to Australia, and a matching one way flight for me.  All Sunday I spent the day at four different travel agents explaining our situation, Johan has looked at his end and I’m about to spend another two and about half hours looking at travel agents in the city this morning.  The hope is that I will have flights locked in this afternoon, and booked and paid for by the weekend.  And a vet appointment and cat’s flights booked next week.  I am totalling fearing the flights will increase over the Easter long weekend if we don’t, and there’s already some flights were looking at that are saying there’s few seats left.  Hence the rush to get it all booked as soon as possible.

Part of me wonders why I’m delaying so much in booking.  But now more than ever we need to get the best possible deal, especially if I’m up for another $500 for a new computer.  Problem is, I know the flights we want with Singapore Airlines.  But no travel agent (in Brisbane or Stockholm) seems to be able to book the return flight for Johan for the prices that are showing online ($1200- $1400).  They can book my one-way flight ($989!) but not his.  So if we want to fly together, the next cheapest we’ve been given is $2775 for both of us with Emirates (my one way flight being $200 more and his flight $200-400).  And the Emirates flights are not as nicely timed arriving in Stockholm as the Singapore Airlines flights (midnight and midday vs. 8.30am) to meet my cat’s arrival at 7am.  And all of this doesnt even include the travel insurance yet!  So a lot of worry, and lot of stress.  I’m feeling more stressed than I can ever remember being.  Not the least of which because I’ve never made so many phone calls in my life!  AND, my work contract is due to finish on April 28, and like my last job it seems they are leaving it to the last minute to tell us whether the contract will extend or not.

The tragedy in Stockholm last week hit us hard, but all of Johan’s friends and family are safe.  My eyes have watered more than once reading the articles on The Local about Swedes (natives and foreigners) coming together and holding signs about love, not fear.  Over 20,000 people, including Johan, turned up in the city to honour the victims and emergency service workers that stepped up to the event immediately.  I was impressed too, that they had a crisis management plan implemented within 8 minutes of the attack.  But it was the regular citizens too, offering hugs and opening their homes up to strangers who couldn’t make it home on public transport.  This is the country I want to live in, that I will – very soon – live in.

HUGE UPDATE!

You know that application we have sent in?
The one most posts have been about lately
Because without it we haven’t been able to move forward with any plans regarding Kylie’s move to Sweden
Well today is a big day…

BECAUSE KYLIE HAS FINALLY BEEN GRANTED HER RESIDENCE PERMIT!!!

So, a quick recap:

18th of March 2016:
Sent in application.

25th July 2016:
Asked to provide additional information.

4th of August 2016:
Kylie had an interview at the Swedish consulate in Brisbane.

31st of March 2017:
I called them to check on progress. Was told we in queue and had not been assigned a case officer yet.

3rd Of April 2017:
Asked to provide additional information.

4th Of April 2017:
Recieved email that a decision had been made!

So yes, today have been an exciting day! I received a lot of messages while at my work experience place (it’s an obligatory part of my audio engineering course that I go out and do work at a proper studio, somewhat like being an intern, for four weeks) and doing my regular stuff. (Today I soldered a connector, troubleshot a headphone amp and tinkered with a bass guitar, among other things), and all the while, my phone kept vibrating in my pocket and I heard the familiar sounds of Skype notifying me of new messages. I didn’t have the volume very loud, just loud enough that I could hear it but it wouldn’t disturb anyone on the room. But of course, Kylie sending me loud of messages isn’t anything unusual and it’s usually nothing urgent. I can just get around to them when I have the time, and since she knew I was at work, I didn’t think she expected me to reply.

We had heard from people on Facebook (we’re members of a couple of groups for people who are also waiting for a decision) that when you are asked to send in information a second time, a decision might be getting close! That there might just be another few days to a week! We didn’t expect it in less than 24 hours!

So i finally got some time to check the messages, my supervisor was at lunch but i had opted to stay behind and finish up what i was doing so i would be done when he came back and i could take a quick lunch on my way home.

What i was met with was, to put it lightly, the messages of someone freaking out! Apparently she has been trying to get my attention for quite some time because she’s gotten an email that a decision had been made and i had to call up and find out if it was a positive one right away because she was going crazy!

Ofc, being the more mild mannered of the two of us, i said i was at work and i would get to it when i got off, which would be pretty soon. So i went back to work, intending to be done quickly so i could leave and make that call, and then get home so i could Skype call a girl that was waiting for me to calm her down.

Eventually, maybe half hour later, i was in the relatively quiet Stockholm metro. It wasn’t yet rush hour, so it was a perfect place to stop and make the call. So Kylie have me all these numbers to try, because apparently it’s better to call the units directly rather than calling migration agency support number (had to wait over an hour in queue last time) but most numbers were either closed or busy. But after trying maybe 5-10 different ones, i finally got through, and the woman on the other side could confirm, after taking our dossier number, my personnummer and confirming my address, that it was indeed granted! Valid two years! Then we’ll have to apply for extension, so yay. But apparently those have much shorter wait times.

And when i got home and told the news, my mum, (whom I’m living with these for work experiment weeks) greeted me with a big hug and congratulations. And also fresh baked bread. So that was nice.

It’s Been A Year

One year ago today, we submitted our application for my Swedish residence permit, a little earlier than expected, and so began this emotional journey.  Thinking back now, I’m glad we didn’t delay the process any further because here we are, 12 months later, still waiting and worrying and hoping.  But the decision has to be close now, any day.  We’re now in the estimated decision time frame, which is so exciting and terrifying.  Although most rejected applications hear back in a much shorter time frame,  you still can’t help wondering, “what if…?” And as much as we really want that decision so we can start making solid plans and book our flights before they get even more expensive than they already are, I’m also glad we haven’t received it sooner.

Once we have a decision, I am allowed six months to move over.  Of course, one can apply for an extension on that, but it would probably look better if you moved over as soon as reasonably possible. And as we’re still hoping for a July moving date after Johan finishes his course in June, this is still 4 out of those 6 months into the future.  In fact, I even mentioned this in our application, so the fact we haven’t received a decision yet isn’t worrying me as such, but it has started to get more nerve wracking and stressful these past couple of weeks, knowing that we will soon have that answer.  Another Brisbaner received their decision just this week, and they applied just after us and received their interview invitation at the embassy a day after us.  So it’s all very exciting!

Meanwhile on top of stressing about the decision, packing, the cat, where we’ll be living, where we’ll get jobs, when we’ll get jobs… I’m also stressing about how much I’m trying to get done before the move, and preferably,  before the decision.  Because I feel as soon as we get a decision, everything else will be blown from my mind and I’ll be in moving-prep mode.  But that also includes finishing half-started projects for our Etsy store, getting rid of as much stock as we can, deciding what I can and can’t live without and practising as much Swedish as I can, because it turns out SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) can sometimes take up to several months to get into.  There is so much to keep me busy and yet there are still days I just feel miserable with stress and longing.

Johan on the other hand is heading to Stockholm today to spend four weeks with his Mum while he attends practise work.  Next time he heads to Stockholm it’ll be to get on  a plane to see me.  We’ve never been so close to a visit without a known date. 😦 But hopefully soon, that will change.

International Move: The Expectations 5 Months in Advance

So, we’re into March and the desire to pack has only increased since my last expectations post, where the estimate weight of all the items I’d weighed up until that point was 51.55kg.  It hasn’t helped I’ve been helping my brother and his family move house, nor has it helped travelling into Central station everyday where there is always tourists wheeling suitcases with them.  I’ve now had a chance to weigh some more of my belongings, and despite that estimate increasing quite a bit to 154.94kg, I am refusing to be disheartened, because it’s really not as bad as it sounds!

At the moment, we are looking at flying with Singapore Airlines, who offer 30kg checked luggage, any amount of bags, and 7kg hand luggage which excludes the weight of a small handbag, laptop or camera bag.  So that’s 74kg between us, plus a few extra kilos that we should be able to squeeze into unweighted bags.  We lose about 8.5kg straight away between the weight of empty suitcases and backpacks.  That still leaves us 66kg.

I’ve weighed almost everything I can think of, except for my jewellery (which let’s be honest I don’t wear a lot of!); moving paperwork; souvenir papers and brochures from Sweden; a few smaller HP collectibles; and my craft supplies (most of which will be replaced).  Oh, and a bunch of childhood toys and items, which I’m not including right now.  So definitely no more than 10kg there, and the only priority there is my paperwork.  The important thing is, I’ve now weighed all of my clothes (including coat hangers, underwear, socks, shirts,  pants, jumpers, coats, shoes) which is about 25.65kg.  This estimate will be less, however, when I take out some things I won’t be bringing with me (including the coat hangers), and decide on the heaviest clothing items to wear on the plane.  So that right there are my priority items for shipping, plus 1-2kg to toiletries and other necessities.  Johan won’t be coming here empty handed either, so let’s give him 10kg to work with.  He’s a guy, and it’s summer for him, so he probably won’t even need that 😛 That’s 46kg for priority items and bags, with still 28kg spare in our baggage allowance.  This leaves space for all the other fun things I want to bring… the biggest of that being my HP collection.

So I’ve gone through my list  to see what I’d most like to fill the rest of that 28kg with and I’ve come up with Priority List No. 2, mostly full of sentimental items, coming in about 23kg, which still gives me 5kg to play with, and I musn’t forget to leave room for the Aussie goodies – namely Vegemite.

After reading some reviews, I am still thoroughly looking into Australian courier company, Pack and Send.  For example, I can ship a 40x40x30cm, 10kg box for $161.80 which I think is pretty all right, or say a 70x60x40cm, 30kg box for $370.23 – and arrives within 5 business days.  Cheaper and quicker than Australia Post by far, and excess baggage at airport.

australiapost1

Or, so I thought.  Only this morning l I discovered that to send a 20kg parcel express with Australia Post to Sweden, including tracking and coverage worked out comparatively about the same as the Pack and Send prices, but with a 20kg limit instead of 30kg.  Don’t ask me how on earth this works.  $211 to send a 20kg parcel with all the extras, but $50 to send a 1.5kg parcel without tracking or cover, makes ZERO sense.  So now I’m sort of stuck between the two, because despite their every day regular mail absurd prices, I have been lucky in my dealings with Australia Post.  I have never had any mail go missing or get damaged, and I’ve only ever had 2 complaints from my Etsy customers about 2 delayed packages – both of which were during Christmas peak.  But I know a lot of people have had nightmares with them, only to be expected now and then, like anything.  So now I don’t know who to give my money to.

The point is, whichever company I go with, this will allow me to have my other items that I’d still really like with me to make me happy for a small price.  I wouldn’t want to ship more than 20-40kg excess.  And this saves me the worry, hassle, extra expense and long wait period for a shared container shipment.  Which leaves the rest of my moving check list (60kg) – all of which are non-urgent items, and stuff I’d like to have with me, but most of which I won”t want for years down the track when we’re well and truly settled (think – kids).  These are things that can easily be brought back with us on future holidays to Australia.

The last thing I’m looking at shipping is one of our cats.  She is 12 years old and we’ve had her since she was a kitten.  I’m not sure if it’s the wisest move, and my Mum is still perfectly able to look after her, but she’s still a youngster at heart, and it’s one thing to leave her for six weeks on holiday, it’s another to leave her for good.  Our two cats hate each other.  Always have and always will, as such they’ve sort of clinged one to Mum and one to me, and it’s a nightmare trying to find accommodation for both of them when we go on holidays.  If we were both to have one cat, this task would be easier.  That said,  trying to ship her to Sweden is not easy.

A lot of airlines will allow pet travel in the cabin at your feet, which saves money, but not into or out of Australia.  She would have to go in the cargo, and it’s cheapest to send her within 5 days of our travel.  From what I can tell, pet travel companies charge anywhere between $1500- $3500, but that’s from reading what few reviews I can find online and I am yet to get an actual quote as we don’t have travel dates yet.  There’s also the option of doing all the paperwork ourselves and avoiding the pet travel company altogether, probably saving a lot of money by only paying the excess baggage/cargo fees of about $1000, which doesn’t include the vet fees, but with that also comes added stress to ensure we get all of the paperwork correct.  So that’s one of the most important shipping options I’ve also had to consider!

The move is coming up fast (at least – we hope it is, if when we receive a decision it ends up fitting with our plans!) and I’m beginning to feel much more confident about how I’m going to move all of my stuff and how much I’ll be able to bring with me immediately, but there’s still the matter of space and volume, and I can’t know that until I can start packing.  Already I’m looking at getting a cheap, large wheeled duffel bag simply for transporting clothes and soft items (and it’s true, rolling clothes really does take up so much less space – but how much can I make it squish?!), but we’ll see how it goes when the time comes!  As always, tips and experiences are welcome, or maybe this has helped you!