Preparação, Preparação, Preparação

Be prepared. Not scared.

That's what I keep repeating to myself. I find myself unable to comprehend that I am moving to Brazil in a matter of weeks. I think it may be due to the fact that I don’t have a visa and I have not booked a flight. You could say that is the antithesis of being prepared and it isn’t not being scared either, it’s simply being unaware.

The preparation I have been doing is learning the language of Portuguese. European Portuguese is described to me by a close ally, i.e. friend, as sounding like “Spanish with a finger in your mouth”. However Brazilian Portuguese sounds different although it has not helped one bit with my studies.

I have also been given a list of things to sort out by my multinational conglomerate friend, i.e. employer, designed to help the transition. Considering I moved abroad to Korea in the last few years, I wasn’t expecting to learn much from the list but I gave it a read anyway. I don’t know whether I am especially astute at moving abroad or whether everyone else just couldn’t organise a piss up in a urinal.

The list of things to check goes from the obvious (teaching your grandmother to suck eggs) to the downright strange (teaching your grandmother to suck eggs.) Seriously what is the meaning of that phrase?

In fact there is an entire Wiki page dedicated to the uncertainty of this.
I’m glad I am not the only one stumped by this bizarre saying, yet it is a phrase I consistently use.
There is a surprisingly large amount of English idioms that revolve around eggs...

Anyway this checklist is kindly and helpfully broken down chronologically as well. The highlights are below and I have decided to call this collection, “The Idiot Abroad Checklist.”
Note:  These are all true and unaltered. The company really sent them to me to look at.


Inform relatives, friends, neighbours
Did they think I was just going to leave without telling people? Imagine being friends with the man that doesn’t turn up to poker night.
“Where’s John tonight?”
“I don’t know, I haven’t heard from him all week. Check his Facebook.”
“Bloody hell! He has only gone and emigrated again. The cheeky swine!”

Start to consume food items in the cabinets and freezer.
You don’t have to tell me twice!

Plan going-away parties for you and for the children; schedule about three to four weeks before departure.
I love that my company encourages going away parties! And will somebody think of the children!


Cancel regular appointments i.e. Hairdresser, Piano lessons,
Brilliant. I can imagine an old lady with grey hair (basically the one from Groundhog Day) turning up to your piano lesson and knocking on the door of an empty home.

If you still have large amounts of frozen food, use it or consider giving it away.
I said you don't have to tell me twice!

Most countries limit alcohol importation, so throw a going-away party or offer to donate.
Again with the going-away party! Unbelievable commitment to the party lifestyle...and yet, I haven't actually arranged one.


Return all library books.
Librarians love it when people emigrate with unreturned books - when I come home for Christmas I'll be held at border control for those overdue fines! Damn you librarians, damn you to Hell!

Purchase travellers' cheques and some cash in foreign currency.  Make sure you have enough to tip movers.
It’s good to know that multinationals encourage tipping. Next they might consider tipping (i.e. paying appropriate tax to) the economies they work in.

Start calling friends, relatives, and neighbours to say good-bye.
“Hi mum. I forgot to say that I am moving to Brazil. I didn’t read this checklist until the week before. Anyway see you in a year. Tchau!”


Give away houseplants and any freezer items you will not need.
The commitment to freezer items on this checklist is astounding. Is this a common problem during emigrations?
“Did you pack everything?”
“Have you checked the cupboards?”
“Of course.”
“What about the freezer?”

Unplug your television sets the night before the movers are to arrive so they are at room temperature when moved. Note:   not all TVs can be used in a different country
This one is bizarre. This list must have been written in the days of those electron gun TVs that were unevenly distributed in weight and were incredible awkward to carry. I don’t remember them getting hot though.
Movers – “This TV is mildly warm. I’m sorry but I am unable to move anything that is not at room temperature.”
Me – “What about all my freezer food!?”


Make sure everybody eats breakfast (you may not have time the rest of the day).  Try not to prepare any other meals at home except for a small breakfast.
I can only think of Arrested Development quotes about breakfast being the most important thing...
I also love the try in this sentence. “Try not to prepare any other meals...” as if some people have an early morning compulsion to cook large banquets of fish and meat.

Finish cleaning up and, if late, stay overnight so you will be refreshed in the morning.
I remember that in Korea if you move house, it is considered bad luck to clean before you leave. So everyone always moves into a dirty house and the first job is to clean it.

And here endeth the lesson on moving abroad. I hope it has been educational.