***Warning: very long post ahead!
First of all, I finally managed to get around to responding to everyone’s nice comments and words of encouragement on my last post about the move. I really appreciate it!
So, to go more into detail about the move, we are officially leaving France on November 20. We are ending work at the end of September, and we have to be out of our apartment at the end of October. A lot of people have asked me what we are going to do in October and November if we aren’t working. Well, for the first few weeks of November, before we leave, we will be staying at my inlaws in La Teste de Buch and spending some time with them and visiting with some of Lionel’s other family, as the majority of his aunts, uncles and cousins live in and around Bordeaux, as does his grandfather. So it will be very convenient. We might also go visit friends in Grenoble and Nice before we leave.
In October we have a very, very busy schedule. I have two American friends, Michelle and Lindsay, who are flying out from the US to visit for a last trip in Europe together and to fulfill their dream of going to Oktoberfest. Originally Lionel and I had been talking about getting a group of his friends and a group of my friends together to all go to Oktoberfest as a kind of farewell party/weekend, but everyone bailed out at the last minute except for my two friends from the States. So we will be driving out to Munich as soon as I finish work to do Oktoberfest and a couple of days of travel in Germany. Then we come back to Paris and Lindsay leaves, and Michelle and I are off to Poland for a few days because I absolutely want to take advantage of as much European travel as possible before leaving France, since it’s one of the things that made me hesitate so much in the first place. I figure that travelling a lot before I go might help me feel better. During that time Lionel will be at home with the cat, spending time with the boys and trying to accommodate people who want to come and pick up furniture (since we are really hoping *fingers crossed* to sell most of it on Le Bon Coin, and don’t worry, I’m not leaving Lionel with all of the work, I’m in charge of preparing all the photos and descriptions of the furniture to put online). After we return from Poland we have Lionel’s visa interview (more details on that coming soon) and then my parents arrive.
My parents really wanted to come out and help us some with the move as well as have one last visit to France since they don’t know if they will ever be back here again. Since they have only really been to Paris (and a quick weekend in Arcachon), we are taking them to Normandy to visit Le Mont St. Michel and the Dday beaches and also to the south to see the Avignon area. When they leave they will be taking an extra 3-4 suitcases of our stuff with them, some carry ons of our stuff, and the little furball (because yes, he is making the move to the US as well!). We decided to have them take the cat because they are taking a direct flight and it would be easiest on the little guy, not to mention it will be easier for us to get everything taken care of with the apartment if we don’t have to constantly worry about a cat running around our feet and trying to escape out the front door. We will certainly miss him like crazy, but it is only for a month and a half (at least that is what I keep telling myself!).
Once my parents leave, Lionel’s parents will be coming up to Paris to help us finish with the apartment. We will have a little over a week to pack our remaining stuff, get rid of whatever furniture didn’t sell, clean the apartment and get out. Since my friends are each taking at least a suitcase of our stuff back and my parents are taking a lot as well, I’m trying not to be too worried about the packing. A lot of things will already be gone before we ever really begin the moving process. Then on October 31 we will hand over the keys and head south. Once at my inlaws we are going to deal with the last remaining administrative tasks such as sending letters to cancel cell phones, transferring our money to my US bank account, sending off our Freebox, transferring our bank accounts to La Teste and giving his parents power of attorney so they can deal with the bank for us if we ever need them to, and closing the bank accounts we don’t want to keep open. We will also spend a lot of time visiting with family and friends before leaving.
Finally, on November 19/20 we head to Barcelona with all our remaining belongings to catch our cruise! Yep, you read that right…CRUISE! We have decided to return to the US in style on a transatlantic cruise. After researching one way flights (WAY too expensive), and round trip flights (only to have to abandon the return trip) we found this transatlantic cruise that was much cheaper than anything else we could find at the time. Not to mention that we can bring a lot more luggage on the cruise, up to 200lbs per person in as many suitcases as we can fit in our room (and I plan to pile them up!), which saves us a ton of money on shipping costs. But this is another reason why we couldn’t bring Rasteau with us and we have to send him with my parents…animals aren’t allowed on the boat. Anyway, we are taking a 13-day cruise out of Barcelona, stopping in Alicante, Spain, Malaga, Spain, Madeira, the Canary Islands and finally arriving in Ft. Lauderdale. The time of the move and cruise actually falls perfectly as we are going to be able to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary and our 6th year as a couple while on the cruise. Once in Florida, my friend Amy is going to pick us up from our cruise and we are going to spend a few days with her before my wonderful father drives all the way down from Ohio to pick us and all our stuff up.
I am really hoping that with all the people who are taking things back for us, and with the extra luggage we can have on the cruise, that we will be able to avoid having to ship anything back to the US, but I won’t know for sure until my parents leave and I know what we have left to pack. I’m very stressed about this because I keep looking at all the things we have accumulated and all the things we want to bring and wondering how we will ever get it all over to the States. I’m also very stressed about the furniture because I really want to sell as much of it is possible since we just bought most of it only a year and a half ago when we moved into this apartment. We do have a few things that we have to throw away, but most of it is still in very good condition and it would be a shame not to be able to get any money for it. Rasteau’s trip is also stressing me out because I’m worried about him and I’m sure he is going to be terrified in the plane. However, I was very surprised by how easy it is to bring a cat to the US (more on that later). I just feel so guilty sending him with my parents to a place he doesn’t know with people he barely knows, but we didn’t have much of a choice. It was either that or spend a lot more money, and since we have to buy cars when we get to the US, that wasn’t really an option.
We are also very lucky to have family that is so willing to help. Lionel’s parents are helping a lot by coming to Paris to help us pack and clean, by letting us stay with them for so long, and by so generously volunteering to drive us to Barcelona for the cruise. And my parents are being absolutely amazing (mainly, I’m sure, because my mom doesn’t want to do anything that could dissuade me from moving to the US and she wants to do everything possible to make sure this move actually happens!). Not only are they flying out here and helping us bring back a lot of stuff, and a cat, but my dad is driving all the way to Florida to pick us up on the other end. Then they are letting us live with them until we get real jobs and are able to pay for an apartment without emptying our savings accounts. And on top of all that, as if it wasn’t enough, my dad is giving Lionel and I both jobs (nothing fancy…my old job that I did when I was in school…delivering pizzas for me and making pizzas for Lionel!) until we find real jobs. That way we are able earn some cash while job hunting, instead of spending our savings. I feel so blessed to have so many people willing to go to such lengths to help us…thank you everyone, we REALLY appreciate it!
Well, I think this post is long enough, and it covers most of the details of our move and the next few months in our lives (sorry it was so long and boring!). More to come later on the visa process and bringing a cat to the US, as well as stuff on all the trips, the actual moving process and whatever else strikes my fancy along the way!