Skills You Develop In TEFL: Moving

moving007.jpgWith summer fast approaching, teachers are on the move – though honestly, EFL teachers don’t even need summer as an excuse to be on the move! In any case, moving is a mess. Sure, it’s fun to inhabit a new flat and often exciting to start a new job – but the practical details can be trying.

Of course it’s good advice to be organized when you move, but in practice this is hard. It takes time to be organized; you can’t pack things if you’re still using them, and if you’ve packed wisely for your move abroad to begin with, you have only, or mainly, the things you really need.

You may well have accumulated lots of cool local stuff for gifts or souvenirs that you aren’t using, so deal with that first. The fact that these things are not day to day necessities means first of all that you can pack them up earlier, and second that it doesn’t even really matter if you send them and they are slow to arrive. If you’re feeling broke or are just generally stingy like me, it’s not a bad idea to figure out shipping rates before you pack – sometimes after a certain point, it’s not much more expensive to ship much more. Once you know the rate, you can weigh what you’ve got and throw in a few extra items to save space in the luggage you’ll carry. Finding out in advance how you need to prepare a package you send will also probably save you time and hassle in the end: should you leave the box open so someone can check inside? Do you need brown paper and twine or a hand-stitched cloth covering with a wax seal featuring your family’s coat of arms? Find out in advance.

The typical EFL pay also doesn’t facilitate expensive alternatives like air mail or – ha! – movers. All that you don’t send off on a donkey’s back you are carrying yourself. Pack the items that have sentimental value first and be prepared to discard or give away plenty of the rest. If you start to feel regretful, load yourself up with your luggage and you’ll likely change your mind.

One slightly sneaky technique I’ve heard for carrying on just a little extra if you’re flying – to be used at your own risk in these days of increased security – is to wear a few extra layers of clothes that you can’t pack, and just come prepared with some plastic bags in your carry on luggage so you can “undress” once you get on the plane.

Happy moving!