In 15 years, I have moved 16 times. These moves include 8 cities and 4 states plus the District of Columbia. In this time frame, I also participated in classes in both Geneva, Switzerland and Belgrade, Serbia. However, none of those moves come remotely close to when my husband and I decided to move to Lucca, Italy.
Who doesn’t dream of living in the heart of Tuscany?
The dreaming part is amazing. The reality is something very different.
My husband had to start his job in Italy earlier than we were expecting, so we made a deal that I would settle our affairs in the U.S. while he found us a place to live in Italy. I thought it was a grand deal. I could handle the move, and my husband would find us a wonderful place. The month before he left, our apartment turned into multiple piles. One room had things we were selling, one room had things that were going into storage, and then there was a small area of things that we would be able to fit in our suitcases to take to Italy with us. Shipping our things was just not a financially reasonable option. He stayed long enough to help pack a pod that was going into storage with some family. I cannot express my gratitude at being able to store some of our precious belongings, that I just couldn’t part with, with family for the period of time that we are in Italy.
After my husband left, it was an emotional and stressful time for me. Moving has become like second nature to me but this was very very different. Instead of just updating our addresses on all accounts, I had to close some accounts. Instead of selling a few items, I was selling many items that included large furniture (see future post Moving – Lessons Learned). I was not coping well with the idea of having to sell furniture that I had had since I was a kid. Sometimes it really is hard to part with things. I had four weeks to sell everything, pack the remaining items up, and clean the entire place before our apartment lease was up. Many tears of anxiety were shed during those four weeks. At the end of the four weeks, I had accomplished a lot but not everything. I had hoped to only have one car load of my belongings left at that point. I had two.
Once I left the apartment, I spent two weeks with family in the area while I finished up at my job in Boston. In that two-week period, I was able to minimize my belongings to one car load and owe this to family and a best friend, whose assistance was desperately needed and appreciated.
My car load and I left Boston and eventually made it to my parents’ house, where the car would remain indefinitely. At this point, my car load would have to be diminished to 4 pieces of luggage (2 checked bags and 2 carry-ons). Meanwhile, I had issues booking my plane ticket to Italy and was concerned about steps that I would need to do to claim residency in Italy.
The two months that my husband and I were apart were some of the hardest days of my life. Yes, I missed him, but I also realized that while I did manage all this on my own, I never want to do this again. I barely had time to enjoy myself and truly say goodbye to the life I had made in Boston. In the future, because there will be more moves, I will not hesitate to be 100% honest with myself and others about how much I can handle. I will not do a move like this by myself EVER again.
It all worked out though. The move was successful (though I wish I had brought more than three pairs of shoes), and my husband did find us a wonderful home. Now we can start living the dream.