We are in our last week. The suitcases have been dragged, kicking and screaming, out of the basement and are being filled. Laundry is being continuously done to keep the clothes ready to go. I have even gone so far as to start pulling out things I think we all might need for the month the rest of our stuff is in the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s more than clothes. It’s my laptop, my notebooks, the iPads and iPhone and their chargers, toiletries, shoes, books, activities for the plane ride, the CD collection they listen to at night to help them sleep, the DVDs for the minivan ride back to DC.
Ya know, I used to think traveling with the diaper bag and stroller and car seat was a lot of stuff, but this pile is bordering on epic.
I am trying not to buy too much more food. We are eating whatever we have in the fridge. By Wednesday we will be down to a diet of mustard and capers.
The house is a disaster. I can’t keep it as tidy as I would like. All the extra crap laying around makes me tense, but it has to be out so that I can see it and deal with it. I also have a big bag full of clothes and such to donate. I would like to set them outside with a big GRATIS sign, but it keeps raining! Everything would be ruined! I’ll have to figure something else out.
But our big news!! We now … <drum roll here> … have a house! Finally! We just signed the lease! Our agent emailed us the documents and we could sign just using our fingers on our iPads. Thank you, technology! It’s in Bethesda and is in one of the school clusters that we’d been keen on for the boys. To quote my sister-in-law, Michelle, “Yay! You won’t be homeless!” Yay, indeed, Michelle.
More importantly, we have a specific destination to give our movers for our stuff. We no longer live in fear of having our stuff languish on the Baltimore docks. Our couch is too delicate to survive for long on the Baltimore docks.
The next issue to conquer is reactivating our mobile phones.
It’s interesting how these issues are coming up like pop-up windows on a computer. Phone! Internet! Gas! Electricity! But we are focusing on Phones right now, because I am going to make Mark focus on Internet! Gas! and Electricity!
So, we didn’t have iPhones before we moved here. We had old fashioned flip and slide phones. We still have them. And we managed to find them. However, after being dead for approximately 2 years the batteries don’t seem to be holding a charge anymore. No problem, right? Just get a new battery. Yeah. It turns out that once you have experienced the iPhone it’s hard to go back.
Plus, it turns out that the plans have totally changed while we were gone. You are charged based on data and talk and text are free. We never had data before, so does that mean our phone plans are free? (Spoilers: no.) And it also turns out that the iPhones we bought here in Switzerland might not work back in the US. So, we might have to buy new phones as well as getting a new plan, but hopefully it will be possible we might be able to get new SIM cards and keep the phones we have.
All this implies that we will not have phones in the US for at least a couple of days. <unhappy face>
In the meantime, we are trying to live our lives. H had a violin concert on Saturday and both the boys had birthday parties to go to this weekend. We had a party at Mark’s work and then a dinner party at a friend’s house. We have plans during the week as the boys finish up school and we say some goodbyes to our friends here in Switzerland and make promises to come back soon for a visit.
But this is not the end of the Swiss Family Carlson. There will be more adventures for us and more travels. We will be taking what we have learned from Switzerland and trying to apply it to an American life. I’m sure that wackiness will ensue. For example, I have not driven in 2 years and I will be dropped right back into a gigantic minivan and plunked onto an interstate. Woo!
I’ve been working on a “lessons learned” post for quite a long time. It just keeps growing and evolving and I find I have a lot to say, but not articulately. I think it will come to me once the chaos inside my head and swirling around our lives right now has had time to die down a bit.
Plus I have a couple more European adventures to share. My BFF came to visit and we went to Amsterdam! The Dutch will never be the same.