Saturday, February 24, 2007

Listed and Ordered

I succeeded in moving back to Australia, even though I am appalling at organization.

How did I do this? I made lots of lists. I wrote, and rewrote and rewrote again, and numbered and underlined and stroked out and rewrote again. I go to so much trouble, and so much unnecessary effort, because scheduling generally gives me a lot of anxiety, and listmaking helps me fight the ensuing depression. Rather than thinking about "What is to be done?", I think "What have I forgotten?" So I sat down and spent my time trying to work out exactly what I needed to do.

One trick I used was to make my list as I cleaned my house. When I found a four-year-old gym card (with exercises and reps and weights attached), I immediately jotted down "Gym" on my to-do list. I then augmented it with "Pay mobile phone bills" after finding the paperwork for an old Vodafone plan. By that, I mean paying the bills for my Australian mobile provider after two years out of the country. (Fortunately, I was careful enough to leave Australia with a slight credit on my account. I'd been burned before.) 

This may give you a flavor of what I have been trying to achieve over the last several months:

  • Get a migrant visa for my wife to come to Australia and live. This was step 1. Having got it, she had six months to use it or lose it. Now the clock is ticking...
  • Buy two plane tickets, one way, from Sài Gòn to Brisbane. 
  • Clean house.
  • Pack stuff for shipping. That's all of my CDs (bought in Australia; not pirated) and those of my wife (some copies, some originals) and DVDs ($1 specials or less). That also includes almost all of my books - 80 odd of them. Various thrillers were given to my brother-in-law - he likes his Robert Ludlum - and the remainder were donated to my fellow teachers at school.
  • Organize a shipping company to carry the stuff away to Brisbane. The one we chose promised that the stuff would be delivered to our door. That sounded easy.
  • Evacuate the house. All our furniture went to our in-laws, as did we for our last week in Việt Nam for a very long time.
  • Close all of my bank accounts.
  • Conclude any work one has with one's employer, and settle pay. 

Everybody does these sort of thing. Now this is what I did extra.

  • Get my acoustic steel-string guitar restrung and had a pickup installed as well. [*]
  • Work and study towards passing Level 2 Vietnamese. 
  • Organize a going-away party.
  • Get my degrees and certificates notarized by the consulate...
  • Which would enable my applications for a Graduate Diploma of Education at two universities. 
  • I needed the notarized copies to get myself a "Blue Card"... 

Remember that I haven't even left Việt Nam yet. Were there more things to do? Oh boy, yes there was.

[*] I had these things done at the same place as where I originally purchased the guitar: Duy Ngọc, an extremely competent luthier located at 31-35 Nguyễn Thiện Thuật, Hồ Chí Minh City. Good quality, cheap prices, and one of the things that I brought back to Australia.