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.

House Hunting (Just to Occupy the Time)

For what seems like the longest time now (well, probably since I got back from my first visit and started having the urge to live in my boyfriend’s country…) one of my cures for boredom has been to hunt for houses in Sweden, just to occupy the time.  I began on svenskfast.se before discovering hemnet.se which seemed to list all the houses from multiple real estate companies.  I would put in my search terms:  Villa, min 5 rooms, max 2,000,000 kronor, location Östergötland.  I wasn’t finding much.  But when I took away the location, and searched the whole of Sweden… houses galore!  Well, I suppose that’s understandable, but now I was getting a whole page of new listings every day.  So, those listings could be a bit further out of the way to where we may or may not end up wanting to live close to Johan’s family – and currently with Johan in the north, our future residence could really be anywhere and depends on where there’s work!  But even if I don’t know the location of where to search – even though I could be looking at a house in the very south of Sweden one minute and the very north the next (and honestly, I don’t pay too much attention to the location maps!) it is enjoyable and feels meaningful.

If you have never tried this with your partner, I suggest you put it on your to do list.  It can be so much fun, and so informative.  In the beginning we would look at houses together, and still do sometimes, although nowadays our days get busier and I just tend to link the best ones worth looking at.  The point is, we would look at the house together and all of the photos (I came to recognise the ALLA BILDER button on every external site and now I’m learning to read all the captions!) and discuss everything we did and didn’t like about the house and the style and design choices people had used in their homes.  It is a great way to connect with your partner and learn how your tastes are both similar and different, and helps you to think about the type of house you may want to share with them in the future, however far off that might be.

For instance, I love wooden kitchens.  Johan likes them too, but he doesn’t like whole houses filled with too much wooden decor.  He’d also like a kitchen with all the big appliances fully built in, where as I don’t mind so much because I’m used to microwaves and fridges having large gaps around them – which was one thing that did surprise me a little, it’s like they have no room to breathe at the sides in a lot of Swedish homes!  Which is another thing – a lot of the time renting, and even buying in Sweden – your main appliances are included – including the fridge, drier and washing machine!  He’d like a  sauna; I’d like a nice big patio to have an evening’s hot chocolate on.  The list continues, but for the most part, we have similar tastes in home designs, it’s the furnishings that will likely cause us some trouble when we can’t decide on things and will need to make compromises!  I’m sure that when the time comes, it’ll be an absolute nightmare, but I think we’re pretty well prepared to tackle that, partly because we already know each others likes and dislikes and have talked through them.

As for the Swedish housing market and my 2,000,000 kronor limit, with plenty being under that (as of now, that’s approximately $294,000 AUD, although it was $305,000 when I first started looking, and $335,000 when the Aussie dollar was really low a year and a half ago! *fingers crossed the Swedish SEK stays low for a few more months*), what have I found we can get for that much?  Some very beautiful homes!  You have to remember that Sweden is a very old country (think Viking ages!) and so admittedly there are a lot of older homes (and even the odd school!) on the market, many in the 1950-1970s.  I’ve even seen some from the 1910s – homes with a hundred year old history!  But once you put that aside (this coming from an Australian where in Australia we have new housing estates are popping up everywhere, and everyone in my immediate family seems to be living in a house that’s under 10 years old, or building brand new ones … our house is just over that at 15 years old and even our previous house is only as old as me), you realise that most of what looks a little old and aged on the outside, is not a horrible retro 70s style on the inside (though I’ve seen a few of those, too!) So, so many of these houses have had renovations to make them look brand new on the inside, and I’ve been caught out more than once by surprise – it’s truly a don’t judge a book by it’s cover example.  A lot will also have antique old stoves and fireplaces that have remained in the redesign of a new kitchen or living room, giving off a continued remembrance to historic days.  What’s even more fun is watching the house photos change throughout the year with spring, summer, autumn, and winter photos – “well, I know that this house has got a lot of snow – that’s a good sign!”

For two years now I’ve been dreaming of a stereotypical, red wooden house somewhere in Sweden which we will call our own.  I mean, we’ve even gone as far as imagining ourselves in daggy yard clothes, repainting the house red.  Imagined ourselves fighting over the colours to paint our walls indoors – Big White, Snowy White or Crisp White.  Imagined ourselves trying to straighten up picture frames.  Imagined ourselves eating pizza on the first night in our own home surrounded by boxes and sleeping on the couch.  And it’s a beautiful thing to imagine, to dream and to know that it’s all worth waiting for. ❤

Tech Time #2: Capturing Skype History

Wow, it’s been a while since our first Tech Time … oops?  I guess technology is everywhere around us now, and a lot of long distance relationships rely so heavily on technology, that, well, it’s all second nature to us.  But one of the troubles we knew we’d have to face eventually with Migrationsverket was how to prove that relationship and document our online history which was harder than one would expect.  We were asked in July to provide evidence of flight stubs and photos and phone calls but we’d been looking into how to extract our Skype history for quite a while before we received that email (preparation is key).

Hopefully this will help some of you going through the same process of proving your relationship and your history with your partner.  In the end, none of these options worked 100% for us, but that was probably due to the extent of our history.  We eventually came to an almost-complete history with which we would have to make-do, but that was after quite a bit of trial and error!  Just because something didn’t work for us, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you, particularly if you have less of a Skype history than we do … at the time of running these applications, we had been using Skype daily for 3.5 years and had retained the complete history.

Tip About Using Skype

First things first, if you use Skype on a daily basis like we do, you’ve probably built up quite the chat/call history, particularly if you look under Tools > Options > Privacy > Advanced Settings > Keep History for … Mine has always been set to “Forever”.  Even when I reinstalled Windows and Skype, I made sure to back up our chat history, instructions for which can be found here.  This means I have our entire (very extensive) chat and call history since we first started talking in October 2012.  If you have reinstalled the app at any point without backing up those files, or if your chat history is set to something other than “Forever”, unfortunately you won’t be able to retrieve any of that older history so that’s something to look out for.  Also, as far as what we sort of looked into it, we couldn’t find a proper way of extracting any of the Skype call history from our phones or tablets easily (which would differ from those made on the PC – notice how when you answer a call on one device it will hang it up on the other, so that call time will only be recorded on the one device) so that’s another thing to consider if you do rely heavily on phone or tablets for calls, you may end up tearing your hair our trying to take screenshots of everything.  In the end, we omitted these calls from our evidence, but we felt we had enough else to make up for it.

Below is a list of our recommended software. And remember, just because we didn’t succeed with a particular one, doesn’t mean that it won’t fit your needs better or that you won’t have luck using it. Try them all!

4.  Skype

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For most of us, the first place we search when trying to pull up a history will be the original source – aka Skype.  Wrong.  I guarantee for most of you trying to obtain a call log, Skype will not be your answer.  This is because they will only offer up a call log for those using the paid service.  So by all means, scroll up through your conversation, screenshot every call you make… or, you can copy and paste your entire conversation, trying to copy and paste each call entry which will look like this:

[9:09:47 PM] *** Call from Johan ***
[9:37:51 PM] *** Call ended, duration 25:37 ***

But there are better ways to go about it.  Read on.

3.  Skype Log View

screenshots_0001_skypelogview

This is a nifty little program which creates a log of all your calls and messages and uses the help of command-line prompts to organise the search results by a range of dates, or contacts, or whatever the case may be.  This list can then be saved as a HTML or XML file.  And I’m sure people have had success with it, but it wasn’t for us.  From memory, it took around six or more hours to run the export, and by the time it finished and I looked at the log, it was all over the place.

Over 3.5 years of chat history and calls, it showed half a dozen (maybe a dozen at most, but that’s being overly flexible) calls, the rest was simply our message history, and I ran it several times changing the commands and removing them, and I just could not get it to work.  For whatever reason, it was just skipping over whole sections of months and years of our calls because it might have one in 2016, and 5 in 2012 or something crazily disproportionate.  It would probably be a good program if you wanted a condensed scale of messages (as it shortens them to one-liners) but it just did not work as a call log for us, and honestly, after the hours I bothered with it I decided screenshots from Skype would’ve been easier and a more trusted source for the migration board.

2.  Skype Export

Screenshots_0002_Skype Export.jpg

This one is a little more complicated, as unlike Skype Log View, there is no graphical interface, and you use it solely through the command prompt in Windows or Mac Terminal, which might discourage more casual computer users.  But don’t worry, there is good documentation on the above-linked GitHub page. That said, if you’re unfamiliar with the Windows command prompt (or Mac Terminal) you might want to read some basic guides.

This was probably one of the fastest exports we tried, however, it was once again more of a full export … which is great if you wanted a log of every message you’ve ever sent and every call you’ve ever made (twice – once for receiving and once for ending).  But once again, too long for our needs.  It was basically like copying and pasting our entire Skype history into a HTML file instead of a Skype window.  It was a little neater, but still just as long and unnecessary.

1.  Skype Exporter

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Skype Exporter ended up the winner, in our case, although it still wasn’t as perfect as we would’ve liked, but close enough to it.  Very easy to use, at the click of a button this program took around 1.5-2 hours to run an export, and I ran it several times because I found a problem with the export freezing on the same date in late-April 2016 (it was July).  It would come up with a pop-up error which unfortunately prevented me from saving the log, because I couldn’t click out of the pop-up error without it forcing the program to close.  In the end, we decided to work around this error, because despite this, it was exactly what we wanted.  A full and complete Skype log, detailing our call date and time with each other, omitting all our millions of chat messages for just a straight out call log.  In an ideal world, the export would finish successfully and you’d be able to save it as some sort of text file, however because of the error we ended up screenshotting the lot, because the one thing we were still able to do was scroll through the log.

We ended with 108 screenshots, which we cropped and downsized 4-to-a-page, across 27 pages and saved into a single PDF.  And that’s how we condensed 42 months or 3.5 years of our communication.  Or, part of it, as mentioned at the start of this post, this only detailed the calls made and received on my PC, not those on the phone/tablet as well.  The one thing with this program is there is no way to search through just one contact’s history, however as Johan is the only one I have any major contact with on Skype, this wasn’t a big deal for us.   Indeed if you successfully obtain a text log, other contacts could also be easily omitted, or crossed out in a paper print out. We decided against screenshotting any of our Skype message history, because with that amount of calls, you could imagine the accompanying message list.  We did, however, take some photos of our other communications – text messages, handwritten letters, etc.

Capturing Other Applications

As we were missing the last 3 months of our most recent call list from the Skype log, we turned to screen capturing the other applications we used to make calls – FaceTime, and Facebook Messenger.  Both of these have an easy option for viewing your call log, however again no way to extract them from the phone or tablet without taking individual screenshots.  I am also fairly sure both of these had a cut-off point, because they rely on “recent” call lists and “recent” will only go back so far.  As we only needed the last three months worth, this worked out okay for us, but for anyone else that uses them as a more regular means of communication, you may run into troubles later down the track.

As I mentioned earlier, we didn’t provide a Skype message history, because there was just too much and where do you begin with that?  What we did do, however, was take one screenshot of our Facebook Messenger chat history – but this method no longer works! 😥 But it was such a great method because you could go into the full-page conversation history on a PC, and if you scrolled up, it will say “Loading Older Messages …” with a number.  Ours was 43138.  Highlighted that number for their reference.  Obviously, it would be insane to provide them that chat history, but one screenshot would tell it all.

In addition to this, we also provided screenshots of the folder properties of our shared Dropbox and Google Drive folders, showing the amount of files and folders shared between us – which we thought was an excellent indication of the way we share photos and documents.  We also took screenshots of other couple apps we used to share photos and drawings; screenshots of our shared Etsy store; our blog; and my progress in Swedish-learning programs.  We captioned everything with short explanations, and all in all, we’re confident we’d given them enough evidence to work with.  Then it was back to the waiting game…

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!

Aside 11

It’s not often I remember my dreams, but last night I had a really beautifully symbolic one.

There was this race to find a lost treasure through rough terrain, and Johan and I were partnered up.  Instead of taking the flatter route everyone else was taking, we took a shortcut, which ultimately had more hills.  This route took us to finding a lost treasure, but not the one we were supposed to be finding.  We helped each other to the top of this cliff and we looked out, and it felt like we were on the top of the world.  Whether or not the treasure we found was worth anything, it felt infinitely more valuable, like we couldn’t put a price tag on it.  And isn’t that what love is about?  Relationships can be hard, especially long distance ones… but some day (and it doesn’t matter how long it takes) the top of the mountain is reached, and it’s all worth it.

Miley Cyrus – The Climb

The Wait Process

So, it’s been a while.  Honestly, there hasn’t been much to report.  It’s a waiting game, and it looks something like this every day:

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[Reads in rows, left to right]
But really.  There’s not much to tell.  Christmas was pretty lonely, but Skänninge missed out on having a white wonderland again, so I’m hoping this will be the year (third try lucky!).  Mum and I spent most of December and January reminiscing about where we were a year ago and watching through the 8 hours of footage I edited onto 2 dvds.  I’ve started a new job, Johan’s preparing to finish school in June, and we’re both hoping for a decision any day between now and May.  Just this week someone received their decision and they applied shortly after us, which is exciting!  Of course, there’s also the possibility that the decision doesn’t fall into the 13-14 month estimated time frame, either, but we’re living the hope that it will!

I’m starting to get frantic trying to organise some sightseeing for Johan when he comes to visit Australia for the first time (yes, he will see kangaroos and koalas :P), all the while looking up flights we can’t book yet and comparing prices we don’t have specific dates for.  And the desire to pack has become so strong I’m surprised the suitcase isn’t sitting open on my bed right now.

As our decision draws close, we’re going to keep you updated on the whole moving process because it’s going to be a crazy ride and one thing that has helped us is hearing the advice and experiences from others!  We hope to provide some to you, too.  Until then!

International Move: The Expectations 12 Months in Advance

I know, I know.  I’m thinking too far ahead.

But, for the longest time, I’ve been excited to start packing up my belongings, ready to make the move to Sweden.  I was ready to start packing in mid-2015!  But Johan said no, it’s too early 😛 I guess he had a point.  So in the end, I started photographing the things that I didn’t want to take with me, the things that I would try and sell second hand on places like Gumtree.  It would be a very slow process, and I refused to back down on my prices because I was in no rush to sell things – I had about 2 years to wait, after all, and I was willing to wait for the right buyers.

In the meantime, I also began writing down a list of things in Excel that I would want to bring with me – things that would be Urgent to take with me on the plane; Shipped that I wouldn’t mind waiting for, but wouldn’t want to be without for overly long; & Non-Urgent for things that could wait until family & friends could bring them over for me, or things that could wait for visits back to Australia.  It was a nice thought, but basically everything on that list ended up as Shipped.  Not exactly the prioritization I had in mind.  Instead, I began measuring and weighing the items I thought to be the largest/heaviest/bulkiest and added these to my list.

My next visit to Sweden for Christmas 2015 would result in me leaving the vast majority of my winter gear with Johan, to save trekking it all back to Queensland where none of it was needed.  I left him 2 winter jackets, my snow pants, 2 pairs of long pants, a thick fleece jumper, thermals, heavy gloves, socks, scarves and beanies.  You can imagine how much space I had in my suitcase coming home without all that stuff, and I probably cleared at least 10kg off my moving list, a year and a half before the move.  I was quite happy with that, because even if things didn’t work out, they weren’t items I’d need at home.  I also left him a few select items – a few books I wanted to share with him, and some small soft toys (what can I say?  I always will be a kid at heart) which I’d also used as space-fillers and soft packaging.  My suitcase would barely close on arrival, because I made use of every little inch – and even though I’d bought a luggage scale off eBay for a few bucks, I did worry that I’d be over the limit.  In the end I think I was about 26/30kg for my suitcase, and had another 7kg to fill in my hand luggage.  It’s something I’d recommend if you’re seriously thinking of moving to your loved one, leave stuff with them on an earlier visit that you can live without if things go south, but will save you valuable space later on!  I’m usually quite a light traveler, but this is the kind of time to pack as much as you can, down to the last kilo.

Moving on, I applied for a residence permit, and still we’re about a year out from a possible move.  I say possible, assuming that our application is accepted, because if not, we might run into some trouble!  Might I also add that it’s the biggest pain in the butt to not know when we’ll receive an answer about that application – because at the moment we’re looking anywhere between May-Sept next year and can’t make any proper plans until then!  But still, I want to know HOW I’m going to move my stuff.  You’ll find a lot of international moving companies offering free quotes online if you fill out how much you have to move – 1 bedroom, no. of boxes, etc.  And this was what really frustrated me – how am I supposed to know how many boxes all my stuff will take up?  I also wasn’t planning on moving any furniture, which I was sure the “1-bedroom” option would entail.  I wasn’t even taking my PC.  There were also companies that would come to your house and give you a free quote, but that seemed a bit extreme for something so far in the future.

So I went back to my list in Excel.  I had always thought that because I wasn’t bringing any furniture, airfreight might be a suitable option.  Yes, it tends to be more expensive because it’s priced on weight and not volume, but we’re talking about items in a bedroom (and a half) that’s just 3x3m,  I’m not big on clothes, or shoes, so I don’t have a lot there to move, either.  It’s mostly books, dvds, things of sentimental value (and I’ve got to admit, I’m a hoarder), and of course my Harry Potter collection.  It honestly didn’t feel like a lot, but I knew to expect to be surprised, that it would more than likely add up.  Still, I lived under the impression that, for me, airfreight would work out cheaper, not to mention it tends to be more reliable, and would get to me much sooner!

The items that I had weighed in my moving list came out at 51.55kg. This was no where near a complete weighing – I hadn’t weighed everything on the list, and it didn’t include clothes… but it did include my treasured HP books, and honestly, how much more was really needed?  I could always rebuy all my art materials.  Throw in an estimate on clothes and things… But still, I was right.  I did NOT have a lot of stuff to move.  The plan was always that Johan would come out to visit me in Australia before I made the move, and he would come in our winter, the equivalent of a Swedish summer, so he would not have a lot to bring over here.  Not the winter gear I had to bring!  Which would also mean we had 2 suitcases to fly back with us, and 2 lots of hand luggage.  If we were to go with the bigger airlines again, that would mean 74kg between us.  Not bad considering my current estimate was sitting at just 50kg.

Of course, the next thing would be the bulk.  Not everything I had would fit its way into our two suitcases.  I had 2 large frames I had to decide whether to bring or roll up the posters and rebuy frames.  I had a 3rd, very heavy custom made shadow-box frame .  And I had my large but lightweight Hogwarts trunk.  Take those out of the equation, gives more room for the clothes to be rolled up in the suitcases!  And surely, surely I might only need 1 or 2 airfreight boxes which would no doubt have to be cheaper than a shared shipping container.  Just had to be.  But still I could find no where to price up unless I had the size of the box and the weight, and that was something I couldn’t do because I wanted it packed properly and wasn’t sure if they’d require separate boxes or not.  The other thing was my books – they’d easily take up a suitcase in themselves and I’m not sure that would be wise, but posting with Australia Post was never going to be an option, considering it’s about $40 to send a 1kg parcel uninsured to Sweden – though certainly postage would be a great option for other countries where postage is cheaper!  So I tried to put in rough box estimates, but still there was no where that could just give me a straight price estimate without having to get into contact with someone for a personalised quote.  I just wanted to know how much airfreight was!  $100?  $200?  $300?

So I went to the airline itself, and I went back to the Emirates website, simply because we’ve flown with them twice and I don’t know who we’ll be flying with this time, but I imagine they’re likely on the higher price scale so good for estimating. $108 per extra kg over.  Oookay.  Not so good.  Let’s pretend I’m looking at 10-20kgs extra.  For that price, I’d be better off buying another return ticket home and just filling that suitcase with the remainder!  Or shouting someone a trip and saying “on the condition you bring all my stuff!” All in all, not a bad idea, especially considering most of the items I wouldn’t mind waiting on, and I was hoping to return for a short visit to Australia just 8 months later.  Still, when I say I wouldn’t mind waiting, I’m very sentimental and as with anyone I’m sure sooner-rather-than-later would be the preferred option.  And surely the moving companies would know the ins and outs and give better deals.  It kills to think of the weighty stuff you can buy overseas with free postage… But did I need a moving company if I only had 20kg extra?  Fragile items, yes, but…

And STILL I wanted to pack – I wanted to see exactly how much I could squeeze into two suitcases.  Weight-wise I sounded very well off, but volume wise?  What if it was all too bulky and I couldn’t fit the amount of things I wanted to?  But it was too early, I kept telling myself.  Too early.  Then there was this note on the Emirates website: “You can check in as many pieces of baggage as you need, as long as the total weight is less than the maximum baggage allowance of your class.” Meaning, if we could fill a suitcase to the brim and still have it be a few kilos under the limit, we could take additional boxes for the bulkier items.  Could be perfect.

Then I looked up couriers.  Multiple websites, ranging $200-$450 for 20kg.  That’s sounding better.  A small fraction to pay for  my bulky, fragile items, that are no where near worth that in value, but sentiments.  It eased my worries a little.  I was sure, that whatever happened, I wouldn’t need to pay any moving company anything.  I might pack for a month trying to work out the best way to make the most use of two suitcases and hand luggage, but I had no furniture or appliances, and surely, it would be quite the affordable international move, minus, you know, the airline tickets.

Guess we’ll wait and see when the time comes… but hopefully this might help a few of you planning a move – when you’re on your own with nothing but your dreams and guesswork to occupy you for a move that’s too far in the future.  Do start deciding what you’ll bring and what you can start selling now.  Do buy a luggage scale to start weighing individual items and suitcases.  Do nurture those dreams.  And if you have any tips, comment below!