Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Countdown Begins!

Yesterday was the two month mark, I have a ticket booked for Zurich on September 2. We've done a lot of preparation already, but there is still an amazing amount of work to be done. I'm so grateful to be unemployed right now so I can work on all this stuff now instead of scrambling at the last minute. I have also been spending lots of time with friends and I'm having a blast. It will make it all the harder to say goodbye in 8 weeks, but lots of great memories have been forming.

I had finally decided to stay behind in the states after CF heads to Switzerland on August 16. My sister had been planning on visiting with her family at the beginning of September since before all this Europe adventure stuff came along and I wanted to be here for them. Plus the first couple weeks are going to be crazy as CF gets settled in at work and takes over for HK before he heads to Sydney. Originally my sister had asked me about our brother's birthday weekend... but somewhere along the way I had started to think we had discussed Labor Day weekend. You see, the two are usually the same. CF was itching to get airfare booked so I decided I would leave the day after Labor Day itself. He did the sweetest thing for me. Remember how I am super scared of flying? Well, at least of turbulence? The biggest drawback for me to fly to Europe after him was the thought of riding out a storm alone. I should mention, part of me deciding to stay behind two weeks was me wanting to do something that scares me. Just to see what will happen. Well, even if I'm scared to tears I will be crying much more comfortably because CF went and booked me a business class ticket. I am actually looking forward to the experience now because of that!

Ah, but here is where the "whoops!" comes in. My sister and her family were coming to stay with me because her husband bought tickets to all three concerts Dave Matthews Band is doing in Berkeley that weekend. That weekend that is my brother's birthday... NOT Labor Day weekend. I'm booked to fly out a couple of days before they will be arriving. This was so frustrating! I felt ridiculous for going and buying a ticket without confirming the plan with anyone, CF was already a little bit antsy about being alone in Europe so long and he did not want me showing up any later than already planned, but I didn't want to leave my sister hanging and miss out on a visit, and besides if I wasn't going to be here for their visit than the whole point of me staying behind was lost. ARRRRRRRGGGHHHHHH!!!

Well, I've calmed down a bit now and remembered that with "opportunities of a lifetime" you have to make compromises. Moving my ticket would cost a good chunk of extra money, plus CF started suggesting that I couldn't live without him for longer than 2.5 weeks (I think he means he can't live without me, but whatever). So right now the plan is to leave that plane ticket alone and I'll go down to San Diego and visit the Life Breaking In crew after CF departs for Europe. The plan isn't perfect, but I think it will do. And yes, DS, I will give you a key and you can use the house for your Berkeley weekend. How funny to think it will be occupied so soon after I leave!

This weekend CF is actually heading over to Zurich for a week to start getting things ready. I'll be heading up to the North Bay for Mr. PZ's birthday party and then I'll drive to Davis for a little more time in my hometown, for what could be the last time for quite some time. Also in upcoming plans, a visit from my parents and grandparents (we're hoping to get out to Half Moon Bay for a visit to Sam's Chowder House), dinner at Chez Panisse with CF's side of the family (the upstairs cafe this time which did indeed look much more inviting than the downstairs restaurant turned out to be, we should have listened to the advice), CF's finally taking his scuba lessons (the last weekend of this will include a trip to Monterey so I'm going along so we can visit expecting mommy and daddy SL and BL, and also DH and family), then we're having a big going away bash for ourselves... like we needed an excuse to plan one last party before we go! So it's going to be crazy times from here on out. Hope we can keep our heads on straight.

Besides all these fabulous plans we also have to continue with our efforts to make our lives more transportable. We're in the middle of switching to an online bank and we've taken out a credit card with no foreign transaction fee and a good conversion rate. I've renewed my driver's license most of a year early as it would have expired while we were gone. My reward for being so proactive was having to take half the written test with no warning! Turns out the test is much more ridiculous than I remember and includes such passive aggressive notes as:
"Q: Driving slowly in front of traffic in the far left (fast) lane on any freeway... A: Can frustrate other drivers and make them angry."

I got 100% on the test, got to take a new photo so at least it will look more like my current self, and I got to give them a whole new lie about my weight (what it current says used to be a lie because I weighed more but for quite some time now I've weighed a good deal less than what it says).

I was about to send my passport in for early renewal as well, had new pictures taken and everything, but CF is applying for our visa/s today and doesn't know if they will be attaching something into my current book or not. I'm hoping not so I can use my new photos and get a passport that actually says my current last name, not just as an amendment on the very last page. So much paper work! Photos here, signatures there... again, so glad to have the availability to be doing this now instead of scrambling for the time and cutting it close just before we go.

I spent most of yesterday updating accounts with credit cards and other billers. Giving everyone the credit card number we'd like them to bill from now on, giving our PO box mailing address (a swell service CF signed us up for that will scan the outside of envelopes we received and make that available to us online and then we can tell them if we'd like them to open it and scan the contents for us or not, fancy!), and updating our telephone number to the only one we have right now that will be staying with us: our Skype phone number! Our cellphones and home phone will soon be getting canceled. This number we can answer on a computer or forward to our new mobiles or home line. It's a US number too so it's cheaper for friends to call us this way.

If you have a web cam and microphone though I'd like to suggest signing up for a free Skype account and we'll get connected. Video conferencing is here and now, folks! My parents marveled as CF and I sat on the couch and had a chat... with him on our couch at home and me on my parents' couch in Davis a couple weeks ago. The world is getting smaller and smaller!

So anyway, as you can see we're getting through it all but there is a lot to be done before we take off. I remain excited but the whole thing seems much more real now and the responsibility of it all, all the organization and what not, is a pretty big burden. But I'm not complaining... it's just part of taking an opportunity of a lifetime!

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