Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Moving Experiences

I once read somewhere that moving house is the second most stressful experience that many people have in their lives, but I've never quite believed it. I think the first most stressful was bereavement, but surely events like redundancy and relationship breakups rank higher than signing a few pieces of paper and packing up some boxes?

I still stand my ground on the above, but I have to admit that, over the past couple of days, I've been feeling a lot more fragile than I expected to.

This, after all, is supposed to be an easy move.  In a stark contrast to the last two, this one is not associated with splitting up with anyone, leaving a group of friends, changing jobs or moving to a different country. It's me with the help of Understanding Frenchman, a couple of good buddies and a van, not me versus Easyjet's excess baggage charges or the capricious and unreliable Italian postal service. And if anything does go wrong, I have plenty of time to sort it out before the deadline is up on my current place.

Admittedly, there have been a few hitches. The new tenant in my flat, who was considering buying some of my furniture, has decided that she only wants a few of the small things, leaving me with a 120kg sofa and and a double bed to transport down the tortuously narrow and winding staircase out of my apartment. I discovered today that Avis's online reservation service allows you to request van hire for one day at the weekend, but in fact they only do a 3-day service, so your request will definitely be declined unless you go to an agency in person to sort it out. It took me half an hour and a call to customer services to obtain the password that I will need to (hopefully) cancel my phone and internet service online. And today I learned that Castorama's packing boxes are not nearly as high-quality as Ikea's, but to go to Ikea, you need a car and I sold mine three weeks ago.

But I've done this often enough and lived in France long enough to deal with all of these things without my blood pressure rising too high. And I'm happy with my decision to move to Paris and live with Understanding Frenchman. So why the emotional frailty?

The only thing I can think of is that change, even positive change, is scary. When we make big life decisions, we jump into the unknown, and the control-freak in me doesn't like that. While I'm sure the outcome of this transition is going to be good in the long run, it nevertheless entails a period where there will be new problems to be solved and when things can definitely go wrong. That big pile of boxes in the corner seems to be symbolic of my life, at its heart still the same, but needing to be unpacked and rearranged before I quite feel like myself again.So while I'm excited about this change, I'm ready for it to be over soon. Let's hope I can be patient!


  1. I think maybe you feel that way because this isn't temporary (well it sounds like you are pretty settled with Understanding Frenchman). By moving in with Understanding Frenchman you are taking your relationship to the next level. It is a big deal!

    1. Den Nation, you're probably right ... but what with the boxes and the van hire and EDF and SFR and the insurance company to deal with, I've barely thought about all that!