Sunday, 12 September 2010

Live and Learn: A Tip for International Couples

Last week, we had a new dresser and display cabinet for the dining room delivered. We just managed to finish unpacking it and setting it up today. In the process, we went through some of the things we have collected since we got married -- some of them gifts, others things I bought in the US in excited anticipation of my new life abroad. Of course, we have now designated a pile of stuff to take to the local charity shop because it either doesn't fit or has never been used (and probably never will be). If I had it all to do over again, I would do things very differently.

I could give loads of tips to international couples (perhaps one day I'll actually sit down and devote a different blog entry to each of them), but my biggest tip would be this: Ship as little as possible when you move overseas. In the year before I moved to the UK, I bought a lot of stuff because I was high on the idea of starting an exciting new life in London with my soon-to-be husband. We also registered for a lot of wedding gifts Stateside. We did manage to get a nice 12-piece set of china (and some other lovely things) as a result, but the headache (and expense) of shipping them wasn't worth it. Plus, I didn't realize until I got here that nearly everything is bigger in America (not just portion sizes), meaning that my lovely china is just a bit too big for my UK-sized table. If I had it to do over again, I would ship the really meaningful, sentimental items, but I would buy things new here. And I would have asked for cash or gift vouchers for our wedding. It took four years and the chaos that comes from having new furniture delivered for me to finally admit it to myself, but hopefully someone will learn from my mistakes.