six things you need before moving overseas

Oh hey guys, what’s up? 👋🏼 Long time no talk! I have not published a blog post in literally TWO MONTHS. Why? Because I’ve been packing and preparing my little family of five to move internationally. And lemme tell you…. ITS FRICKIN STRESSFUL! I mean, I’ve sort of kind of kept up with life updates on Instagram, but it’s not that same as if I were explaining it to you.

Life has been crazy. In the beginning of May, we had a bunch of family travel to our little apartment in the DC area baptisms and birthdays. A few days after those festivities, Jay and I left on our familiarization trip to find a house and school for the kids. After our trip, we came back home to DC and began packing. That was a beast.

"every day i see something new" -- mural in adams morgan neighborhood in Washington DC // marla thach photography

We had to separate our things into four different piles:

- stuff coming with to Vegas and then Singapore

- stuff we won’t see in a few months but will meet us in Singapore

- stuff that we won’t see for a few years that will stay back in Virginia

- things to donate or throw away

After two weeks of packing, planning, and organizing into those four main piles, my brain melted out of my ear and I pretty much wanted to throw everything away and start over. 😫🤯 At that time, I KNEW this experience will be rewarding in the long run. I KNEW that this experience would make us global citizens and better people. I KNEW that these things on our “to do” list are just minor annoyances and not anything MAJOR, but as a self proclaimed patient and positive woman and human being I was at my wits end with the packing and transitioning.

Are you thinking about packing up your life and moving across the world? It’s totally do-able and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it if you can/want to.

Not even remotely interested in moving to the other side of the globe but wanna read about the circus that was our life? Welp, here ya go -- the 5 things you need before moving overseas:

MONEY. Duh. When we were looking for places to live in Singapore, we basically need a boatload of cash as a down payment for our condo (that we haven’t locked down yet… story later… at the end of this post). Literal boatload. Try nearly $30,000 USD on hand to just… have on hand to give to someone. This amount includes the first months rent, two months security deposit, and the agent fee.

Where will we be getting the money? I don’t know, hopefully the sky. Hopefully a cloud will turn into valuable, green, paper and begin raining down $30,000 that I can use to put a down payment on a place with. 🤣 Since this is a work related assignment, we WILL be getting reimbursed the money but the whole coming up with that insane amount of cash is the problem.💸💸💸💸

*cue Lil Jon* SHOTS! Yes, you will get many shots… the painful shots, not the fun shots Lil Jon sings about (although enough of those could get painful 😅) We're talking about Typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis, Hepatitis, Malaria, Rabies – like you name the disease, you’re getting a shot for it. THE ENTIRE FAMILY will be getting these shots. So mentally prepare yourself when you go to the doctors office. Make sure someone strong is with you to hold a kid down while they’re getting these painful shots. Of course, It all depends on where you’re moving to or visiting. For example, if you’re moving to Greenland where its too cold for any gross disease to live then you’ll be good with your regular immunization. Since we’re moving to muggy, humid, temperate, jungly country… we need to basically get every vial injected into our body. We wanna come home with souvenirs, not dengue.

Lots of garbage cans and bags, colored duct tape, and permanent markers. You will have lots of crap – even if you donate or throw away lots of it. Be prepared to sort and label ALL OF IT. Our weird family circumstance makes it so we have more crap than the normal regular US family because we move houses so often (you figure that we would purge lots of stuff before we move right?) Well no, we just hold on to it and just hope that it will fit our next house we live in. If it doesn’t, we buy a new thing that WILL fit in it and then put the other thing in the garage or basement or storage unit or something. manage your packing expectations. Forget lists, you WILL forget to pack something/move something into a different pile to get packed up or put in storage. Something will get lost. Something will get broken. Its inevitable. Just accept it. No matter how careful or how organized we tried to be or how many lists I made -- I scrapped everything. We just did everything day by day, task by task. Tell me why I made 12 different to-do lists and packing lists and I STILL haphazardly packed!? I packed six dresses, two shorts, zero tops, and approximately all of my bathing suits. Don’t get me started on the kids --- I don’t even know what my thought process was for bringing 20 pairs of underwear. Its like, “this will be good! just in case the kids pee their pants 3 times a day!” lol whut . I scrambled and I panicked okay?!?! Which brings me to my next point…

"every day i see something new" -- mural in adams morgan neighborhood in Washington DC // marla thach photography

... to manage your time. We tried to schedule everything too close to the end and ended up scrambling. We scrambled the last few days to get everything packed, everyone fed, everything donated, everything thrown away, and everyone together to say good bye/see you later to. You will be scrambling to cancel utilities, schedule cleanings, and figuring out creative meals to eat all the food in your fridge without wasting and throwing away too much. I suggest figuring out your schedule at least a month in advance because two weeks was DEF. not enough time for us to do everything and see everyone we wanted to see.

TISSUES. Moving is super emotional. You're attached to the city you were living in, attached to people, and attached to material things. We sold our car and I cried. We cried saying bye to friends. Teachers cried saying bye. I cried donating shoes that the kids took their first steps in. The kids cried putting their kite in storage. Tears will fall. Make sure you have lots of tissues and shoulders to catch them and lots of comforting hugs to those who need it.

"every day i see something new" -- mural in adams morgan neighborhood in Washington DC // marla thach photography

PATIENCE. Expect there looooots of waiting for things out of your control. It took about 6 weeks to get the kids passports. It took a few weeks for Jay’s assignment to get approved. It took a week or so to get flights to Singapore. And we’re still in the waiting process for country approval. That’s right, the country needs to approve of you living in it. That can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a COUPLE OF MONTHS. Which means, our family is stuck in "transition mode" before our move.

Before we moved, we wanted to take a month off to spend time with family and friends in Las Vegas and to see everyone before we move out of the country for two years. Since we’re still in the “the country has to approve of you living there” process, we miiiight be living with my parents for a little longer than a month. Who knows? Right now, our paper work is out of our hands so it’s a biiiiig waiting game.

Yeah, we’re bummed because we’re one of the few families still left in the US while everyone else in the program is already in their country. BUT! we're spending a large chunk of time with our family and friends and our kids are hanging out with uncles, aunts, and cousins they normally see once a year. Our situation could always be worse. But for now, we're embracing this insane transition.

Outfit details:

Jay; Shoes: Vans // Jeans: Levi 511s // Button Up: h&m // Undershirt: Buck Mason

Justine; Dress: Amazon (affiliate link) // Shoes: Target

Caleb; Shoes: Vans // Socks: Target // Shorts: OshKosh // Tanktop: Osh Kosh // Button Up: Osh Kosh

Isaac; Shoes: Puma // Shorts: h&m // Graphic Tee: Carters // Button Up: h&m

Lucas; Hooded Onesie: OshKosh (old!)

#theolmstedexperience #theolmstedfoundation #theolmstedscholarship #expatblogger #expatfamiliesinsingapore #movingabroad #movingwithkids #movingtipsforkids #movingkidsabroad #internationalmovingtips #whatdoineedforaninternationalmove #everydayiseesomethingnewmuraladamsmorgan #adamsmorganmurals #familypictureideas #familypictureoutfits #familypictures #summerfamilypictures #neutralfamilypictureoutfits


I'm Justine. I'm married to the military and a mother to brothers. Welcome to my little space on the web!

It's Always Sunny in June is a lifestyle blog. I write about family travel, low-waste living, ethical and sustainable fashion, non toxic alternatives, and clean beauty. I share hilarious stories of life as a mother, wife, and millennial.

I'm just trying to see the world, eat everything without breaking out into a rash, and leave the world a little better than how we found it.


I'm far from perfect, a little sarcastic, a little self-deprecating -  but always awesome and always looking on the sunny side of life! Click around and stay a while! 

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