Loose ends. Moving out of the country means that we have more loose ends than we have time, it would seem. The task of logistics of getting overseas for a period of time is not impossible. People move overseas all the time. But the question is: What do WE have to do to move overseas? Here are a few loose ends that we are working on:
Securing a place to live. We are thankful for the internet and the kindness of strangers. Viewing properties online, Google Earth, and the blogs of those who have gone before us have proved very helpful. A current Durham student, whom we only met by e-mail, toured a selected property for us and looked for answers to the questions we gave him. We are very thankful for his time and kindness. We hope we can return the favor when we get there.
Banking. Having a standing relationship with a smaller bank has been very helpful. The tellers, the branch manager and the bank president have all been great in getting us on solid footing before we leave. We traded some money to Pounds before we left. This way we can begin the necessities of life right away. We have put a family member on our bank account. We have given power of attorney to a family member to take care of anything that may come up. We have a mechanism to wire money to the UK if and when the need should arise.
Cars. We are selling our high-milage mini-van. It was time to sell it anyway. This just gives us good reason to do so. We have contemplated selling the truck as well. We have decided to keep it so that we will have at least one vehicle when we get home. We have a family member who will drive it for us every now and again while we are away.
Stuff. It is hard for me to believe that we have accumulated so much stuff. We were glad to sell so much and throw away so much. We repurposed as much as we could. What we could not, we simply had to discard. It is mind-boggling to think about how much we possessed that we should have thrown away already. We are thankful for an experience like this to serve as a prompt to get rid of it. We also look forward to when we get home and we can start over again without all that clutter. So what about the rest? When we didn’t rent the house furnished, we were blessed with a friend who let us use a storage unit that had some extra space. We didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on storing things that are worth less than the expense of storing. It has worked out as well.
Packing. What are we taking with us and how will we get it there? If it fits, it ships. If it fits in the suitcase, that is. Everything we are taking has to go in suitcases: household items, computer, kitchen supplies, research books, homeschool supplies, winter clothes, dress clothes, church clothes, casual clothes, etc. What we have heard from current students is that you don’t need near as many clothes as you think. So we think it is time to unpack many of the clothes we put in there already. We bought suitcases at thrift stores and each of the four of us will get two suitcases and a carry-on bag. The plan is to put the heaviest items (e.g. books) in the carry-on bags. The theory is that the airlines won’t weigh a carry on and then we can Gate Check the bag and not have to store on the plane ourselves.
Day-to-Day Life. We are trying to live as “normal” as possible during this time “in the middle.” We have begun home schooling the children. They are good about their studies. They are probably happy to have a bit of routine. Our new normal begins in less than two weeks. We have rented a furnished home, so we are only taking over some things to make the new place feel homey to us. Things like pictures and other familiar items are going to be some of the first items we unpack. Then we will settle into a new rhythm of life in our new city.
Phones and Internet. We will disconnect our cellphones and plan to use them as iPods when we get to the UK. We have asked to have them active until we arrive in Durham. This way we will still have phones in case something should happen on our way over. We will secure some pay-as-you-go phones when we arrive. Internet service seems reasonable in Durham as well. We will certainly want to get that setup right away to be able to FaceTime with family and friends back home.
Pets. We have been blessed with great family and friends who are fostering our pets for the year. Our dog is already settled with Beth’s brother and his family. Our cat will soon settle in with Beth’s sister and her family. Our horse is contract labor: to be a pasture mate with her equine friend. She doesn’t charge much: a hand full of feed and a belly full of grass. We are thankful to our friends who will watch after and keep her exercised as well.