Since we successfully finished the whole visa process--which absorbed our minds and attention for an inordinate amount of time and caused massive stress outs--and finalized the decision about school for Casey and connected with an incredibly helpful landlord, we have just been attending to some nitty gritty, technical details. Final packing won't begin until maybe the beginning of July; although, we do have a "deposit" room where one can find an odd assortment of "things"--among which you might find a tomato peeler, Scrabble, a tape measure in metric and English, Tylonel PM, a rice cooker, a couple silicon spatulas because friend Judith in Citta di Castello says to bring them even though every market has spatulas galore, dehydrated refried beans--yes, they are very good--and just maybe you would find some even stranger things ( I am too lazy right now to go up and look.) Of one thing I am certain, anything we bring is important and a good and wise decision!
Here is a quick list of the types of things we wrap our minds around as we prepare for a year away (maybe this will be useful to others who embark on a similar life adventure.)
Not in any particular order other than train of thought:
- How to pay bills and make arrangements to do so. Thank goodness for internet, automatic debits and automatic credit card charges. Once you start doing this, you find it is much more complicated than you might expect--particularly if you still have a house to maintain at home. Just being sure to identify all the items is a biggie.
- Arrange as many things as possible to be paperless to cut down on mail to the house (brokerage statements, insurance bills, bank statements, etc.)
- Arrangements with gardener and pool guy and how to get them paid.
- Selling a car and arranging minimal insurance on remaining car.
- Figuring out what to do about taxes next spring.
- Banking needs and arranging best access to funds while away.
- Research best credit card for use abroad in terms of conversion fees and hidden charges. (Capital One).
- Find a banking institution that does not charge conversion fees or other charges for ATM usage. (Our credit union)
- What to do about telephone service so as not to lose our number but have a minimal bill.
- Determine the best way to maintain contact between there and here (we have settled on SKYPE and several of its options.)
- Accumulate lots of books and send them a couple months ahead of time via USPS M-Bags.
- Make multitudinous copies of all kinds of stuff.
- Finalize health insurance arrangements. (Casey's is different than Ken's and mine.)
- Contact DMV for copies of our driving records which may reduce very high insurance costs in Italy.
- Detemine what electronics to take and what to get there. There is an advantage to bringing things from home as being able to read a manual is quite useful.
- Get a new unlocked phone for use abroad--again get it here so you can read the manual easily--unless, of course, you are fluent in the language of destination. You will get your sim with a local number once there. (We actually have 3 phones and numbers accumulated over the years--but decided to get a new one.)
- Make arrangements for obtaining needed prescriptions.
- Arrange for vehicle in Italy (this is a tough one)
- Find out how to vote when abroad.
- I am quite certain that I have missed many things--so, will add to this list occasionally.
And one more thought--all of what we do is for a simple year; those who actually move to another country must have many more things to deal with--heaven forbid that we should end up in those numbers.
(If there is someone who would like more information about any item, feel free to use the e-mail address in my profile or leave a comment and include your e-mail address so that I can respond.)