God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Back on Italy

I am beginning to feel a little negligent in keeping the blog updated about our big Italy adventure. Casey has sort of taking over--not only because he seems to dominant this house but also because not much is happening on the Italy front. We are somewhat in a quiet stage between getting so much ready for our March trip and the move at the end of July.

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:
  1. 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.
  2. Arrange as many things as possible to be paperless to cut down on mail to the house (brokerage statements, insurance bills, bank statements, etc.)
  3. Arrangements with gardener and pool guy and how to get them paid.
  4. Selling a car and arranging minimal insurance on remaining car.
  5. Figuring out what to do about taxes next spring.
  6. Banking needs and arranging best access to funds while away.
  7. Research best credit card for use abroad in terms of conversion fees and hidden charges. (Capital One).
  8. Find a banking institution that does not charge conversion fees or other charges for ATM usage. (Our credit union)
  9. What to do about telephone service so as not to lose our number but have a minimal bill.
  10. Determine the best way to maintain contact between there and here (we have settled on SKYPE and several of its options.)
  11. Accumulate lots of books and send them a couple months ahead of time via USPS M-Bags.
  12. Make multitudinous copies of all kinds of stuff.
  13. Finalize health insurance arrangements. (Casey's is different than Ken's and mine.)
  14. Contact DMV for copies of our driving records which may reduce very high insurance costs in Italy.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.)
  17. Make arrangements for obtaining needed prescriptions.
  18. Arrange for vehicle in Italy (this is a tough one)
  19. Find out how to vote when abroad.
  20. I am quite certain that I have missed many things--so, will add to this list occasionally.
Now this list is just of those things that must be done and doesn't touch on the really important decisions that one must make--the kitchen knife problem (to bring them or not) is still hanging, how will I cook without my own pots and pans?, what about clothes? Oh yes, this must be a blog entry all its own.

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.)


Annika said...

Regarding the phone; don't forget that the United Kingdom is a part of Europe too and phones here come with manuals in all possible languages including English. Don't worry!

Jane said...

Annika, I know that is true in Sweden and some other countries, but, unfortunately, it is not always true in Italy. More true now than it used to be not always.

Anonymous said...

Jane, the phone manuf. have online manuals in various languages. That is true also of other appliances (eletrodomestici.) I have mine in a folder called Manuals on my desktop.
I see you don't really believe me about the silicon spatulas. Wait until you have melted half of one of the others into something you're cooking!
I brought my tomato peeler with me... my fingers. Plunge into boiling water, remove to cold, peel. (I was bringing them anyway for dialing the phones.)
Wasa plus formaggio fresco makes a great compromise breakfast, and we do have cereal, too, as well as seasonal fruits. Brunch is another thing, and the concept fascinating to some Italians. Shrimp for breakfast? Pastries for lunch?
As to the rest, it is a journey of discovery. You will find many things that are a daily part of now not at all necessary here. That does not include corn tortillas and cheddar. (I am getting a tortilla press and will sell for a huge price to Americans starved for them.)
Annika's hair looks fabulous!

Ann said...

Don't bother getting your driving records from the DMV. They're useless here in Italy. Once you get your Italian drivers license, you are considered at the bottom of the totem pole so to speak, basically a "new" driver, no matter how long you've actually been driving.

As far as voting, you can register with your local county courthouse to have absentee ballots sent to you, so you CAN vote abroad, just not in local city elections.

Electronics - if it can't run on batteries, don't bring it, especially if it's a big appliance. Like already stated, many of the major appliances manuals do come in several languages, english included. If not, can be downloaded from the manufacturer's website.
Ann in Italy