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.