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01 September 2013

The Exodus ● by Jon

Now to discuss the miracle of actually getting over the UK ...

So, the genesis of this idea occurred way back in 2012 just before Thanksgiving. My wife and I had been living in New York City (Queens) for about eight months and one of us was getting a little restless. Neither of us wanted to have children in the city, so we started devising an exit plan. We looked at Connecticut, Boston, and even Burlington, VT (Ben & Jerry's!), but nothing was quite working out.

Discouraged but not beaten, we kept thinking of alternatives to the city. While walking through the quiet streets of Sunnyside on a cool mid-November Friday night, I jokingly suggested that we hop across the pond to London. Jess jumped on the idea! Before I knew what hit me, we were seriously considering the idea of moving to London. At the end of the walk, I made her a deal: we would more seriously consider pursuing the idea of London and praying about it, if we saw the Saturday matinee of Skyfall. She, of course, agreed.

By mid-December, after speaking with friends and family and God, we felt that pursuing an opportunity in London was a great idea! It took about four weeks to find the right people and the right position. The right person ended up being a UK Deloitte recruiter by the name of Matthew. After applying and interviewing for the perfect position (Assistant Manager - Deloitte Investment Management Audit, London) Matthew called me back and said that I was still the best candidate and it was official! What made me most happy was when I called Jess and told her the news - I had to pull the phone away from my ear because she was screaming so loud  :)

We were very blessed to have a generous relocation package. However, most of our expenses would be reimbursed, not given up front. So, this move was being to be very expensive. Our expenses were as follows:
  • Visas: $850 x 2
  • CIBT (Visa service): $284
  • Flights to London
  • Visa Expedition service: $150 x 2
  • Passports: $160 x 2 (non-reimbursable)
Over a stressful summer, we were able to get everything together, including our flights, and we were off to the airport!

Here is some advice if you wish to do something similar: start early and make lots of phone calls. If we didn't have Deloitte Immigration help us, we would have been screwed. When you're dealing with passports and visas, everything takes longer than you think, even when you pay for expedited services. Oh yeah (crap) we had to pack up our apartment in Sunnyside. Anything that we were not taking on the plane we were able to fit into about 6-7 boxes between 50-70 pounds. We thought of a lot of different options of getting our stuff over to London, and we decided on storing our bulk items (clothes, kitchen items, books, knick-knacks) in Queens and then shipping them via freight tanker to London. In order to make that happen, we have to rely on the wondrous graces of some of our church friends. See, in order to close a storage account, you have to be physically present. We couldn't be present in Queens at the end of September to close the account, so our storage is in someone else's name - we're just paying for it. The plan is to have a shipping company pick up our boxes from the storage unit at the end of September and then ship them to our home in London. Storage: $200. Shipping: $1,400. Yikes. 

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