Day 11: Reflections on Moving Internationally, Part 1

This topic is too big to discuss in one day!  Here is Part 1 of a short series dedicated to this topic:

If you’re someone who has a similar lifestyle to the PashbyMauls, moving internationally is an inevitable part of life.  There is no question IF a move will take place in life; there is acknowledgement that a move WILL take place, and usually to a place we’ve never been before.  The last several days, we have undertaken a giant moving project to vacate our 4-story house in the Italian countryside.  Yes, you read correctly: 4 stories!  Remember all of the guests we’ve had come through our informal “little” guesthouse?  There’s a reason we had so many of them!

Here’s a brief history of our journey towards this moment.  Drew has lived here in the province of Vicenza for 3 years, having arrived in May of 2012 after he moved from Toscana.  Upon arrival, he began consulting me through Skype and emailed pictures about which house we might want to call a home in one year’s time.  (Of course, at that time we weren’t even engaged, but I caught wind that it would happen in the summer since my parents let it slip that he sent the ring to their house.  I don’t know if my Mom will ever fully live that down. 😉 Satisfied that he had found the perfect place for us to begin our life together and entertain guests, Drew moved in and I visited him throughout 2012 and into 2013 from Kiev, where I was working.  After our wedding in July 2013, I moved into the place and we’ve been there ever since.

boxed up and ready to go

boxed up and ready to go

2015 marks my 8th year living overseas, yet it is my first time using a moving company in my life!  When I moved to Bahrain in 2007, I brought 4 huge suitcases.  When I moved from Bahrain to Kiev in 2009, I sent 3 boxes DHL (which then got sent back to Bahrain after I left since no one was there on the other end to pick up the boxes, so then a friend had to ship them back to me snail mail) and moved with the same 4 overstuffed suitcases.  All of this was made possible because I didn’t really have any household goods, and because my dear parents still let me keep some stuff at their house.  I lived in furnished apartments, and I wasn’t bringing sheets, towels, dishes or any furniture with me.  When I knew that a move was happening to Italy in 2013, I began moving stuff every time I visited Drew, and every time he visited me, I passed some stuff off to him to bring home.

I managed to move to Italy from Kiev with the slow movement of coats, books and clothing over time, plus my trusty 4 large excess bags.  I learned that moving on Wizz Air is quite cost effective as they won’t cut you off until 6 bags, and they don’t start charging you until bag #4!  For better or worse, our life together now cannot be moved with excess baggage.  I’ve gotten into the Vitamix thing, and the transformer to run that baby alone weighs more then one bag’s weight allowance!  Hiring a moving company was a necessity, and the icing on the cake is that our contracts include both a leaving shipment (Drew), and a generous shipment allowance for my new job.  Here are some reflections that I have as we have had two solid days of moving companies going through our house and packing:

Moving company on location at Casa di Maul

Moving company on location at Casa di Maul

Hiring a Reputable Shipping Company Takes the Edge Off

If I had known this any sooner, I would have given more thought to using a shipping company.  Shipping stuff is expensive, and I was never given a huge shipping allowance, so I never considered using a shipping company.  The game has changed with my new contract and a real shipping allowance this year. Wednesday was my first experience with an international shipping company, and I have to say, it was amazing.  I tried to help the guy put some boxes together and pack up some stuff, and he actually wouldn’t let me for liability purposes! I felt like a little princess, sitting in a chair and reading, making sure everything got into the correct boxes, but basically not contributing to the move.  As soon as boxes started moving out of places, I could clean up a bit, but until then, I was basically useless.  The only thing I wish that we had done better was to take care of our closets; we were under the impression that the company would bring wardrobe boxes, but they didn’t.  I think lots of laundry and ironing will be in store for us when we unpack in August!

Giving is More Rewarding than Selling

One of my favorite memories is when the box springs were slowly let down the front of the house since they could not be brought up or down the stairs!

Part of our process for preparing for our move was to give away most of our furniture and lots of clothes, books and miscellaneous items.  Since Drew’s company will ship household goods back to the States, we are sending several pieces to his sister’s family, along with beloved Golf, who will be driven lovingly by Drew’s Dad, plus some items for the Maul parent’s attic.  Likewise, we gave away a lot of our other pieces of furniture and even left a few pieces in the house that the landlord expressed interest in.  Could we have sold everything?  Absolutely.  Did we want to? No.  Giving away pieces that we know our friends and family can use is more rewarding then spending 6 months pre-departure posting ads and trying to sell everything, heckling over prices with strangers, having people flake out and not want to buy the stuff, then having to repeat the process.  For us, time with people and special experiences, like horseback riding at Le Pignole and attending cooking classes at Trattoria dell’Angelo, were more important then trying to get some bucks out of our furniture.  The only exceptions that we made were my car and an air conditioning unit, which we did sell.  Understanding that we have blessed others and having the ability to give gifts is a gift in and of itself and something we were glad to experience.

“Letting Go” is a Powerful Thing

After giving away and donating a lot of our items, we experienced an amazing feeling: we felt lighter, happier, and like we had more control over the finite details of our moving logistics.  It was as if the purging of our physical objects helped us to purge mentally and focus on what was really important.  “Letting go” of judgement and expectations is something that people in the YogaFit community model their classes after, and I believe that it applies to moving as well.  We let go of many material items and let go of our control of objects as someone else is moving them.  We let go of worry about those objects and accept that we will see them in 3 months in Tashkent, but even if there is a problem, they are just things, and living life to the fullest is more important then material possessions.

We hope you enjoyed hearing about Part 1 of our moving process.  Please tune in shortly for Part 2.

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