Disclaimer: This post discusses experiences crossing the border. This post is of my experiences only and does not reflect any overall processes that apply to everyone. Please do your research on crossing borders accordingly based on your current circumstances.
Oops – has it really been 3 months since I last posted? This summer went by so fast – and lots of big changes happened!
Just wanted to pop by here and give you all a life update, since I know I haven’t posted much here lately, and maybe it’ll make sense why.
We all know that this past year hasn’t been easy. I particularly have been feeling drained in my personal life. I was constantly tired, anxious, and lonely no matter how hard I tried to shake away those feelings. I realized I needed to make some big changes in my life to feel more fulfilled – which is exactly what I did this summer.
Now, this wasn’t exactly easy because I hate change. Change is uncomfortable, stressful, and HARD. But it was a risk I was willing to take — things weren’t working exactly how I wanted before, so why not take the chance and try something new?
And so… I MOVED!
Not exactly to someplace entirely new, but to Vancouver, BC! I spent my teenage years here so it is someplace familiar, and I get to be closer to some of my family and friends (and all of my favorite foods).
So Why Did I Move Back?
When I was in high school, I knew I wanted to move away from home for university. I wanted to experience the big campus life and living away from home. I feel so fortunate to have experienced that, plus to live away from home a few years out of college. That goal of mine has been fulfilled. However, a part of me knew I wanted to move back – Vancouver is a great city and I’ve always considered it home. When that would be was always unknown. Right after graduation, a few years out, or 10 years out… I never had that figured out. If you had told me at the beginning of this year that I’d move across the border this year, I would have never believed you. Moving in 2021 was not exactly part of the plan I originally had.
I guess when you throw covid into the mix, nothing goes as planned.
Among other factors, covid was the catalyst that made me want to move. I wanted to be physically closer to my support system – being a few hours drive away from my family and friends wasn’t really cutting it anymore. On top of that, I had seen some of my friends in Seattle were also making big life changes and moves. I was inspired to do so myself.
Do I miss Seattle? Of course. I didn’t realize how emotional I would be leaving. I started my adulthood there. I started my career there. I still have friends there! But I’m more excited for the life I’m going to build in Vancouver. 🙂
How Was It Moving Across the Border During Covid?
Moving across borders isn’t easy in normal circumstances, so naturally, covid made things a little more challenging. I am EXTREMELY fortunate and privileged to hold dual citizenship – which saved me a lot of stress and extra logistical planning.
But, just because I moved back, didn’t mean I had to go through the process. It’s not as easy as you would think.
Years ago, when I moved to Seattle and crossed the border with my parents, I was a young incoming freshman. I wasn’t exactly “moving”, I was coming to the states as a student. So moving then was simply just crossing the border — nothing too formal (not sure if things have changed since). So, I never actually “formally” moved to the states because I started off as a student.
Now, I was moving back and am not a student, so had to go through the formal moving process.* Since moving as a student, I’ve been living there and accumulated A LOT of stuff. With my current status, that meant that I had to declare at the border that I was returning to move and declare my belongings. I did extensive research to make sure I was doing everything right and that I wasn’t missing anything (I don’t even want to know how many times I’ve called both the US and Canada border services). Declaring my belongings just meant that I had to inventory my personal belongings and provide the border with a form listing out what I was declaring. It’s tedious, but I made the process easier for myself by just writing my items down and the categories (i.e., clothes, shoes, desk supplies, etc) as I was packing so by the time I was done, I already had a whole list.
I was really nervous though, and I wanted to do it right. I took my time with packing and tried to be as organized as possible. My biggest suggestion is to have the forms filled out beforehand (they’re available online) so you save time at the border. It looks good to come prepared!
I also went through the process of exporting and importing my car. The process itself is google-able so I won’t go into too much detail but each country has its own set of requirements for exporting and then importing vehicles. With my circumstances and timeline, dealing with this felt like a moving target (there were many steps I had to follow) but luckily it ended up working out very well in the end!
With Covid, the land borders have been technically closed for recreational travel (now the Canadian border has been easing some restrictions). However, given my citizenship, I am able to cross. The only thing I need is a Covid test done within 72 hours prior to entry into Canada and to show the negative result to the border agent. It’s just one extra step had to do which was a little stressful with my timeline and the moving parts I had to deal with prior to the move, but it wasn’t a huge challenge to get it out of the way. I mainly just had to make sure I timed my test out right so that it falls within the 72 hours period, but that I also get my results timely. Luckily my results came within a day!
So… What About Your Job?
Even more exciting – I got a job transfer!!
I’m extremely fortunate to work at a global firm – we have offices all over the world. I was SO nervous to bring up to my senior leadership that I was interested in an international move because that meant I couldn’t work for the US firm anymore.
Back in June, I told a senior leader I trusted the most that I would like to transfer to the Vancouver office and without hesitation, she told me she will do whatever it takes to make it happen and 100% support me along the way. Even thinking about it now makes me so emotional because I never thought I would receive such unconditional support. I love the people I worked with in Seattle – the people were my favorite part of my job. I had the most amazing managers and leadership, great friendships with my peers, and truly felt like I had a strong professional support system every day. Leaving them was honestly the saddest part about my transfer and I still miss everyone I worked with dearly, but I found so much comfort knowing that I will still be part of the same firm (which meant I could literally skype/zoom them whenever I wanted to!!) and that I was going to get to work with another group of amazing people and be on some cool projects!
During my transfer process, I got to meet the leadership and management of the Vancouver office, which really reinforced my excitement to move. Everyone was so friendly and excited to have me on board and I felt connected even before I was officially transferred. I felt a similar close-knit “office” (virtual office??) culture to that I had in Seattle. This past week I got to meet a ton of new people who I will be working with and it’s been the best part of my week so far!
I actually took 2 weeks in between my transfer to pack, move, settle down, and just take a break. This move was both physically and emotionally tiring and I needed the time to take it easy. It felt weird (and honestly a little wrong at first) not working for that long and being so disconnected, but I’m so glad I took this time for myself.
As part of my transfer, I technically had to go through a formal onboarding process since I was joining the Canadian firm. I give my biggest kudos to anyone who has started a new job virtually because though I was onboarding for the same job and company, I still felt a little overwhelmed. I can’t imagine being fresh out of college and starting a completely new job without any knowledge of the company culture. What’s taking some getting used to are some of the nuances between the US and Canada, but luckily they are small. There are some things that will take a little getting used to, but nothing that will get in the way of my work!
That’s kind of it! I’m still in the process of settling and getting back into a routine, but the past 2 months have really been me focusing on my transition – personally and professionally but I hope once I am settled in I will have more time to blog!
*Note: This is my personal experience based on my status and circumstances. My experience does not reflect the overall process and may be different than that of someone else’s. and I advise anyone looking to move or cross borders to do their research based on their current circumstances. Currently, Covid restrictions do apply at the land border, please research accordingly.