We leave for our new life in Portugal in one month, and slowly, the gravity of it all is starting to sink in: the people, places and things that we’ll miss. That’s not remotely to say that we have been unrealistic or cavalier during this process, but when you’re so focused on paperwork and excited about getting over there, it can sort of bulldoze past some of the realities of a move like this. Sometimes, on a quiet Sunday right before the move, those realities decide to have a visit.
We are currently opting to move some amount of stuff with us. Nothing monetarily important, but things like old US tax records, Brady’s grandfather’s war diary, my old artwork (what of it remains anyway), etc. Things that hold emotional or practical value. No electronics, obviously, since Portugal uses type-F plugs, and nothing we have would work there anyway.
We’ve written up a spreadsheet of things we’re definitely taking, things we’d like to take it we still have room, things we’re not taking but are in good enough shape to give away or sell, and stuff that isn’t really nice enough for us to give to anyone and should probably just be thrown out.
I think that process prepared us for a lot of the “leaving stuff behind” feels that we have, and will also help us over the next few weeks to make arrangements for movers. I highly recommend classifying your possessions this way to get you ready for your move, quantify the crap you have, make hard choices about what you actually *care* about, and have a plan for handling it when the time comes.
We’ve already done several rounds clothing purges to donate or throw away clothes that either don’t fit us anymore or are so worn through that we can’t donate them. (When you’ve gained a bit of weight because of a global pandemic, that particular home fashion show is a real bummer. Be kind to yourself on the days you’re doing that evaluation.)
Interesting side note: our movers told us we should NOT pack our things ourselves, or else we risk getting caught up in customs and/or being charged a buttload of VAT on stuff that isn’t monetarily worth that much to start with.
In looking at all of the info available, we’re probably not going to end up shipping Brady’s car. He has a Ford Focus RS, and it does not meet the import requirements so we’d need to spend a lot on shipping, homologation, adding the required rear fog lights, and so on, and it just kinda doesn’t seem worth the cost and hassle.
Unfortunately, cars are very expensive in Portugal, so I think we’re boned either way. We don’t actually drive much and far prefer public transportation, but there will be times we want to load the two dogs and the cat into the car to go to places where public transportation doesn’t go or won’t allow dogs. (Also our dogs are very weird and would not do well on public transit.) So we’re trying to figure out what our best options are.
It would take 6 months to get the car over there anyway, so whether we take it or not, we’re without a vehicle for a while. Our place in Lisbon is very close to the metro line (and their metro system is great), so I suppose we can rent a car for any weekend trips.
Brady is pretty sad about the car – he loves that car. (I hate it, but whatever. Who knew matte battleship gray was a color for cars.) But he’s also thinking it’s just too expensive and too much hassle.
But enough about our *stuff*. The *stuff* is the most logistically complicated but the least emotionally complicated of all of this.
There’s another reality that we were always aware of and it was always in the back of our minds: There are people we are going to miss that probably won’t make it out to visit us. Like, probably ever.
We’re in our late 40s. Brady’s mom is nearly 90, and while she’s spry AF (she does Tai Chi every week) and has traditionally been a traveler, she’s getting up in years and may not want to travel as much. His aunt Buzzy (his mom’s little sister), has some medical issues and probably won’t be traveling from NorCal to Portugal a whole lot either. It’s a really long flight.
My big sister and brother-in-law are healthy as horses and they do travel (they have run marathons on every continent!) but she also runs her own business and will likely not have as much time to get away, but knowing she won’t be a 2.5 hour drive away anymore still hits me hard.
On the upside, as conference speakers, this puts us in a much better place to reconnect with other speakers we’ve become friends with over 25 years each in the industry. Flying to Europe from SoCal is a real bitch, since it’s 5 hours by plane just to get to New York.
While we have already made friends in Portugal from our previous trips (and we know a bunch of people from the dev community online that live there) that we are SO EXCITED to see again, we know what we’re leaving behind. Who we’re leaving behind. We’ve known that from the start, but the gravity of it all hits kinda randomly sometimes and leaves us feeling sad and guilty, as if we’re abandoning those people we love.
At the end of the day, we only get one life on this rock, and we can’t live it for other people, but the feels can and probably will sneak up on you. You should be prepared for that as best you can. While there is a ton of stress and excitement during this process, the moment you sit down, the feels are waiting.
Alison (aka “snipe”)