A lot went into planning the move to India and like everybody else we had very limited time. It doesn’t matter how long you have known that you will go, when the time comes you will be scampering around trying to figure out what to do. To top it all there will be a struggle going on in your head about the sanity of the decision you just made. Even after you move, you will still keep thinking about it for a very long time. My suggestion would be to keep thinking about it. Let it out of your system, talk about it with friends, do whatever it takes to get your head around it! At the end of the day you made the decision based on what was right for you at the moment and you shouldn’t have to defend it for the rest of your life.
Now, comes the planning part. You will thank god for the internet every single day of your life until the move is said and done and for a long time after that. It is the best resource to find out about schools, accommodation, travel options, moving companies and everything else under the sun. The Indian counterparts may not have as many options as the USA but if like me you are trying to manage things from there, then you will thank your stars for it. Even after you have moved it is a good resource to find out about local restaurants, activities for kids, transportation and anything else you can think of. You will be surprised how much you can find out by doing a web search in India these days J. This is very different from when I grew up where word of mouth was how you found out about everything.
We moved though my husband’s company and although they provided monetary help with the move, they didn’t have the experience to provide us with any practical help. They didn’t have resources to help us find schools, accommodation, temporary travel arrangements etc so we were on our own there. Fortunately we had a few friends in Bangalore and the Internet on our side J
So, I set about trying to find the basics while I was still in Dallas. I went to work during the day and scanned Bangalore city websites by the night to research schools, temporary accommodation and permanent accommodation. We had never lived in Bangalore and didn’t know that distances shown on online maps could be deceptive because of the traffic conditions in the city and we couldn’t make up our mind about the livability of the so called serviced apartments advertised on the web.
After getting overwhelmed for two days, I decided that a school was the first thing on the list so I set about trying to find a school for Vivek first. We decided on a general area we wanted to be in based on DH’s office and as luck would have it our friends lived in the same vicinity so we were able to get some idea of the area. I then scouted the web for a few weeks trying to find out information about schools and after a few rounds of research, talking to schools over the phone, discussions with family and finally a tour of the school by my in-laws, we finalized the school. It wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined but I was glad it was over. I will put more details in a separate blog entry which you can read if you are interested in the specifics.
The next was trying to find accommodation. DH’s company would pay us for the first three months of accommodation in addition to the move so we decided to stay in a serviced apartment while I came back to the US to take care of things in Dallas. DH’s friend was very helpful in identifying service apartments ad well as rental properties for us while we were still in Dallas but we wanted to look at them before we signed up for it. That was a very good decision! The service apartments were nothing like the pictures put up on the website and after looking at a few we decided to rent an apartment for a year and furniture for 3 months while we waited for our stuff to arrive from Dallas. Again, more details about finding an apartment in a separate blog J
So with the big things taken care of we started talking about what we need to take with us. The last time I moved across the world, I was younger and travelled light. My entire “move” happened with two suitcases that weighed about 70 pounds each. This time around it took ¾ of a container which ended up weighing close to 9000 pounds. What can I say, it is difficult to travel light when you have two kids :P.
We had read a lot of R2I blogs and forums so I set about making lists and more lists to keep track of those lists and then I went around town frantically buying everything on my list and finding more stuff that I “thought” I would need and adding them to my shopping cart and when I was finally “done”, I remembered there were some other things I “needed”. The planning and shopping for the move was going on till the last minute. So much so that when the packers came and packed half my stuff on a Saturday, I went shopping again on Sunday so I could add more boxes when they came to finish the packing on Monday. Wait, I actually went again on Monday afternoon as well. The list is never ending. Even after you get here, you will remember a hundred other things that you should have bought when you had a chance. My thought was that everything else will be a big adjustment anyway so if we had the same or similar comforts at home, the transition might be easier. I am glad I made that decision.
Although there is nothing that you cannot find in India, from toilet paper to kitchen towels, EVERYTHING is expensive and the quality is nowhere close to what you are used to. It is strange that a lot of things you find in the USA including clothes have a made in India/Pakistan/china tag but you will not find the same quality over here although you pay the same amount of money. I wonder what the logic behind that is. I bought everything I could think of for 2 years including clothes for kids, myself, Kishen, shoes for all of us( multiple sizes for the kids because they grow like weeds!), kitchen essentials like non-stick cookware, kitchen rags, towels, furniture, you name it, I bought it. I raided Bed bath and Beyond and Target like I was planning to go into hibernation for the next 2 years! I had the experience of quite a few friends to fall back on and after talking to a few of them and looking at the R2I Blogs, I decided it was better to have too much stuff than get here and get frustrated about the small things.
Believe me, if you take care of the small things and are not frustrated by them, it will be a much easier transition than if you just pack 8 suitcases and try to set up everything from scratch! So, the shopping was done, the movers hired, the packing done and the container finally shipped. At which point I remembered 30 more things I should have bought and packed J. So much for planning and keeping track of things. Oh well, I was still in the US so I had an option to ship more boxes when I moved J which by the way I did…