Moving to the Other Side of the World, Part 1: Leaving France

I’m moving to Australia in one week! I’m almost completely packed and have taken care of most of the paperwork with regards to leaving France. Since David (and yes, Canaille) are staying in France and moving back to Annecy, I don’t have to take care of everything or even move everything right now – though I’m really just leaving behind furniture and books. I have donated some of my clothes to the local Scouts and given away smaller things, such as my bread machine, to people who will use them. I always hate when I feel like I have too many possessions that I don’t really need and moving overseas is a good opportunity to really sort through everything and see what is truly important to own and what you can do without.

As far as paperwork goes, I am leaving my French bank account open so I can still use my bank card when I come back to Europe. I’m sending a lettre de résiliation to cancel my mutuelle (private health insurance), changing the car registration & insurance to David’s name, and signing a pouvoir pour l’état des lieux so he can sign for me since I won’t be here when he returns the keys to this apartment. This is obviously much easier than if I had lived alone in France, because then I would also have to cancel electricity, water, internet, etc. You can easily find sample résiliation letters online when canceling contracts, but always make sure to send them recommandé with an accusé de reception!

Since I am not flying to/from the US or Canada, I am only allowed ONE checked bag and one carry-on bag, with maximum weights of 23 kg and 7 kg. I technically could check an extra bag, but it would cost $45 PER KILO. (I have no idea why flights not going to the US/Canada allow such limited luggage. It’s rather unfair, isn’t it?) The rest of my things are under 23 kg too, so being able to check a 2nd bag would have been perfect, but oh well, I’ll just have to send some stuff via La Poste. Unfortunately, they no longer have the slower, cheaper option for shipping packages overseas (économique) and the regular international rate is expensive. The only other option is their pre-paid boxes that only come in a few sizes/weight limits (such as L for 36.50€ or XL for 43€), so I will be using three of those to get the rest of my stuff across the ocean.

Colissimo

La Poste does offer a cheaper book rate for sending boxes (maximum 5 kg each) or bags (25 kg) overseas, but many postal workers do not know about it and the bag option is particularly difficult to use since you must go to a Centre de Tri and convince them that it does in fact exist. I will be sending at least 7 boxes of French books this way, at 13.72€ each. Oddly enough the webpage about the livres et brochures rate mysteriously stopped working a few days ago, but you can still access it through the Wayback Machine.

All that is left is to get to the airport on Monday and settle into the (hopefully) comfortable seats on Etihad Airways. I am actually excited about flying with a 4 star airline for once. Even though I’m flying economy, I bet it will be much better than flying economy on certain other airlines… such as any that are based in the US. I already know that I will have power & USB plugs for my laptop/iPod/Kindle, plus a 10.4″ video screen with 600 hours of entertainment, so I definitely won’t be bored on the seven and thirteen hour flights.

Everything for Australia is already taken care of – including opening a bank account and finding housing – which I will explain in part 2 next week after I arrive. Here’s a teaser: moving to Australia is turning out to be a million times easier than moving to France.

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  • Amytaylorant

    If you already have a bank account and housing in Australia, you have already overcome two of the major obstacles I faced upon *arriving* in France! I’m guessing you had a similar experience as an assistante. :) good luck!

  • http://oneika-the-traveller.blogspot.com Oneika the Traveller

    Good luck with the move! So excited for you!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=582457241 Kim Martelli

    I’m so excited for you! If you do have the chance, visit NZ. I’m not sure of the costs flying from Adelaide but you can get super cheap deals from Melbourne and Sydney. Good luck with getting over (the ash cloud from Chile is causing chaos at the moment in NZ and Aussie) and most importantly enjoy my side of the hemisphere :)

  • http://www.gwannelsandiego.blogspot.com Gwan

    Good luck with the flight, I’m used to slightly worse from NZ, it’s pretty grim! And yeah, the weight limit really sucks. In case it helps you in future, I got 40 kgs (checked and hand baggage) coming over with Emirates (on my lovely c. 30-hour voyage over here), otherwise you do usually still get more just going via the US, although that may be less worth your time to/from Aus than NZ (unless you want to stop and see your family of course).

    Hope everything goes smoothly!

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    Thanks Gwan! I was looking at Emirates too, but Etihad was cheaper and they seemed pretty good so I went with them (plus I only have one stop instead of two). I don’t know yet how often I’ll be able to get back to Europe or the US, but I definitely plan on stocking up when I’m in the States since I can bring much more back from there (and prices are way cheaper anyway).

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    I am definitely planning on visiting NZ! I want to see all of it. :) Hope to see you there someday too if you ever move back!

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    Thanks!! Good luck with your travels and moving too!!

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    Yes, I was able to reserve an apartment in Australia (through Student Living) and open a bank account online (and I’ve already transferred money into it). So much easier than everything I went through in France!

  • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

    Jenny, you never make me doubt the foulness of French bureaucracy :D

    I take it the baggage restrictions are inflicted by the airline, not by law or anything, right?

    I can’t wait to hear some updates on Australia, I’m really interested in hearing what you think of the culture there and how it compares to the U.S. and Europe.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  • Akkiansh2

    hi

  • Penny

    I wish you all the best! I really hope you like Australia. One thing I can say…its not much like France ;-)

  • Dedene Nelson-Court

    All the best, but what a surprise! Hope you’ve made the right choice.

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    I’m already 99.99% sure that I did. :)

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    Good! :) I need something different in my life.

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    I’m not entirely sure why the restrictions are different, but it’s probably because of the Piece vs. Weight Concept and flights in and to/from US & Canada have always been different from the rest of the world.

    I’ll definitely be comparing the US/France/Australia on the blog, especially with regards to traveling and using languages, and other random cultural observations. I just need to get there already!

  • http://noemagosa.wordpress.com/ N

    Oh my! Why Australia?

  • erin

    Hi Jennie. I AM Australian, and have moved my whole life over to Haute-Savoie 11 months ago. Shame you purchased your ticket (although Etihad to Aus are GREAT!), as if you’d booked with British Airways, once you sign up to their frequent flyer programme you’d be able to add extra bags on for relatively cheaply (around $60 per extra bag). I brought six bags over here by doing this!

    Agreed, life in France is bloody frustratingly annoyingly DIFFICULT! Everything in Aus is done online and if done in person, is soooo much easier! People will be really willing to help you. If you’re heading to Sydney or Melbourne, they’re not as slow-paced as everyone says. But then, Haute-Savoie isn’t exactly fast-paced either, so I’m sure you’ll do just fine!

    Just a few tips, brekkie = breakfast, vino = wine, no wukkas = no worries (spoonerising “no ****ing worries” to “no wucking furries” then shortening it to “no wukkas”). You’ll pick up the slang relatively quickly! Enjoy the awesome life there! Very jealous.

  • erin

    Hi Jennie. I AM Australian, and have moved my whole life over to Haute-Savoie 11 months ago. Shame you purchased your ticket (although Etihad to Aus are GREAT!), as if you’d booked with British Airways, once you sign up to their frequent flyer programme you’d be able to add extra bags on for relatively cheaply (around $60 per extra bag). I brought six bags over here by doing this!

    Agreed, life in France is bloody frustratingly annoyingly DIFFICULT! Everything in Aus is done online and if done in person, is soooo much easier! People will be really willing to help you. If you’re heading to Sydney or Melbourne, they’re not as slow-paced as everyone says. But then, Haute-Savoie isn’t exactly fast-paced either, so I’m sure you’ll do just fine!

    Just a few tips, brekkie = breakfast, vino = wine, no wukkas = no worries (spoonerising “no ****ing worries” to “no wucking furries” then shortening it to “no wukkas”). You’ll pick up the slang relatively quickly! Enjoy the awesome life there! Very jealous.

  • Katia

    Hey Jennie, I’m sorry I didn’t see this post when you put it up. When I moved from Australia to France I sent a bunch of bags as “unaccompanied baggage”. There were a heap of companies offering this service and it was MUCH cheaper than sending it via the postal service. I sent them over a week before I arrived and just picked it up at the airport when I got here. Perhaps this information will be useful for you for your next step.

  • Syed ramiz

    bonjour madame
    hello madame 
    could u explain more.
    my name is syed ramiz and i am from Afghanistan, i am student in second class of political law faculty

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In January 2010, I started focusing more on teaching and learning languages in general. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at the university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling (though now my trips are usually in Australia) and being an American abroad.

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