Originally we were set to ship all of our beloved belongings off to France and wait for it to arrive when we got there. This plan seemed great until the first moving quote was received. Twelve to thirteen thousand for door to door. Eek. I’m sure I could cut it down to at least nine thousand ideally less, but that would require a heck of a lot of work. I ran a couple other shipping-stuff- to-France requests and it all started to feel like planning a wedding where the business brings out the “other” book because it’s your “special day” and everything should be absolutely “perfect”. All I needed was to put crap in a box, put that box in a container, the container on a ship that floats across the sea then pops on a truck that drives to my house where I grab my box of crap and stick it in my house. It all seemed so simple, but incredibly priced. I then started to question my motives. Why do I have all this crap? Of all this stuff, what do I actually need? If we’re staying but a couple years, can I live without all this? What I really want to do is show up in France with my family, some clothes and the cat. Yet I find it so difficult to part with my long sought after Lego phone and my beautiful Eames Lounge chair. If I get rid of this stuff, will I miss it and re-buy it? I probably wouldn’t because it’d be too expensive. So, that’s when I looked into storage. Storage is a WAY cheaper option and also buys you time to figure out what to do with your life’s accumulation. It then becomes a lot easier to sift through all the stuff and ask yourself if you’d re-buy this if tossed and how much would that be? Cute, Italian barstools, totally re-buy, but super expensive means KEEP. Cute Danish bookshelves in okay condition, eh, they’re everywhere and fairly priced, SELL. Sturdy storage containers in fine condition, these things are typically suited to the current house and easily replaced, DONATE. Everything else, TOSS. I wish I were brave enough to get rid of everything, but I’m not that strong. It turns out I’m quite attached to some furniture, some books, my bras and my cat.
I really wanted to fly in the night before, but as frequent flyer miles would have it, we JUST missed the time frame and were booked on a one day return to SFO and back. So many things to go wrong. We miss our plane. San Francisco fogs up and the flight is delayed. The Bart stops working. One of our three kids decides it’s a good time to poop in their pants. The points of failure are endless. I, of course, went through them repeatedly as I wait for my 3:30am alarm to ring. My three year old son does his usual pop in to say, “hello,” in the wee hours of the morning only this time we’re up and showering for our day’s adventure. The kids get ready, we get ready and double check the very long list of things to bring when you’re applying for a Long Stay Visa in France. We all got in the car on time and arrive at the airport no problem. Sweet! We’re running late, but the security line at this hour runs smoothly with all the done-this-before business travelers. Our flight is boarding already which saves us entertaining the children while simultaneously annoying said business travelers. Our flight leaves five minutes early. Are you kidding me? We land, hop on the Bart after super potty break. We actually might make our 10 o’clock appointment, unbelievable. After training the children to RUN REAL FAST through the subway exit thing before they get decapitated we surface and quickly locate the embassy. We’re early, huh. Hey look! Croissants and espresso, perfect! After our goodies were knocked back, we figure it’s time to show the French our personal documents and hand over our passports. The embassy lets us in provided we check our croissants at the door. In front of us are a pile of chairs with people who look like they’ve been waiting awhile. Brent sits in the pick me next chair and he’s up at the counter before I can fix Darth Vader’s broken arm for the sixth time today. Not even the building wide fire drill would distract the French from going through our plea to live in France for a few years. All five appointments were squished into twenty-five minutes. We were done before any of the children realized this was our final destination. Rather than wait for our six o’clock flight home, we opt for a fun ride on the Bart back to catch an afternoon flight. Another hitchless ride home that ends with pizza and beer on the table by four. Now we wait to hear back on where we live our lives for the next few years.