Test of Faith

This process of meeting Stuart, falling in love, getting married, and now moving overseas has been such an amazing journey. It has really been a massive dismantling of my entire life and identity…a letting go of incomprehensible proportions to even myself, let alone to those who have never gone through it themselves. It’s also been one hurdle after another with very little rest between.

Through it all, at many points, I felt so impatient. I just wanted to be there already and start living the next phase of my life. The lingering limbo seemed eternal. Now I see just how much coordination the whole thing really took, and I understand so much better why it did take so long. In fact, thank God it didn’t happen sooner! I seriously needed all the time I had…every second…and not just to learn how to and do all that had to be done. It took me all that time to let go and trust. And Life needed all that time to do what it needed to do, too…to coordinate what was outside of my control.

It actually took concerted effort over months to sell all my belongings. (With the exception of the house, I’ve sold all my big items!) I It has taken months to learn some basic French. It has taken months to say all my goodbyes. It also took months for me to let go of some really old baggage that I simply didn’t want to have to ship! I can hardly believe that it’s all finally come together. I’m going to France!

Today, a neighbor and immigrant himself, asked me if I thought it would be “better over there.” Better? I hadn’t really been thinking about it in those terms. I mean, I don’t expect it to be better. I expect it to be different...very different. There are things I don’t particularly like about the US, and there will be things I don’t particularly like about France. Likewise, there are things I love about the US, and there will be other things I love about France. This is an opportunity to discover such things and discover aspects of myself as well.

To be honest, I don’t know what to expect. I’m simply following the call. It feels I have to do this…throw myself into the stream of the unknown. It brings to mind my favorite old testament story, the one of Abraham about to sacrifice his son, Issac. It was a test of faith. This is a test of mine. Most every step of the way, I have battled with great anxiety and fear. I have wrestled all kinds of negative thoughts and warnings thrown at me by a concerned sense of self. I have questioned my own sanity, too. I am quite aware there will be backlash and unexpected consequences to my actions, but of these I am no longer afraid. Or maybe I should say, I’m no longer afraid of the mind’s interpretations of them.

 

 

 

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Lessons in Shipping Overseas

So, now that I’ve sold most of my belongings, I have been focusing my attention on packing. I’ve reduced a lifetime’s worth of accumulations to my one allowed check-in bag, 2 carry-ons, and Fed Ex shipment of 2 large suitcases, one smaller suitcase and a box. That’s it. That’s all I will own in this world…less than I’ve ever owned, and I used to brag about fitting my life into my car all but 11 years ago!

To say that I have been prone to freaking out this past week is a bit of an understatement. But I have my Bach’s Rescue Remedy at the ready along with a recording of the Moola Mantra which I’ve been listening to once or twice a day. I haven’t been eating much, but I think that’s probably good. My system has enough to process without a full belly. I have nightmares on a regular basis, too. Never experienced that before. It’s been an onslaught. One would think I’m making a huge, irreversible life transition. Oh…I am!

Which brings me to the topic of this post: shipping overseas. Forget the fact that I’ve had a recurring dream about a challenging flight overseas for the last 20 years of my life with the very suitcase I won’t be taking on the plane, thank you very much! That thing is going Fed Ex! I knew my options were:

  • luggage forwarding
  • freight
  • USPS
  • another shipping carrier such as UPS

I’m not even going to get into the whole translated inventory in triplicate piece of this. Needless to say, I’ve used a few trees to prove that I am who I say I am and that I have the right to move to France. My documents have documents. And I also won’t mention how the French Consulate failed to respond to my request last month for a document that would have made this all so much easier. So, back to shipping…

The first thing I had looked into early on was freight. I had this silly idea that I’d be taking more with me. I’m sure that would have been the way to go had I had at least 30 cubic feet of stuff. It would have run me about $850 to ship that amount. Alas, I only have maybe 20 cubic feet…maybe. So, it would have been a waste of space and money for me to go that route. Besides, I would have had to drive my stuff to a service center, the closet being an hour away. They would have picked it up, but that, of course, would have been extra.

So, I also looked at luggage forwarding. They do pick up. Some places price by weight and other places price per bag. Either way, it came out to be more expensive than I’d hoped. One carrier quoted me for $1200 and another for $672. That last number was looking pretty good in comparison to every other option so far. I especially liked that I could just send my suitcases without boxing anything, and that they would represent me in customs. It would be more affordable than checking bags on the plane as well what with the airlines charging what they do for extra baggage. Besides, I hated the thought of arriving in Bordeaux, exhausted, and likely terrified, and having to steer one of those luggage carts piled high with bags. I could just see myself breaking down at the carousel, a weeping heap of nerves.

Something prodded me to keep searching. So, I loaded the car and took a trip to the post office today. I wasn’t relishing lugging heavy bags back and forth just to get prices, but one must do what one must do. The post office offered me a great price. I would have been able to ship everything for around $350. However, once it landed in France, it would be a bit of a mystery as to what happened next. I’m sure it would have been fine, but…

My next stop was a store that represents several shippers. The guy at the counter was very knowledgable and helpful. He checked Fed Ex pricing for me, which was unfortunately even more expensive than the luggage forwarders and airlines combined! I was pretty sure at that point that I’d just go with a luggage forwarder. But as I mentioned, this guy was super helpful. He told me that we could ship everything as a “multi-shipment” and save. He called Fed Ex on my behalf and got a quote of $400! That even includes insurance!! So, that’s what I’m going to do. At that price, I may even add another bag. The great thing is that Fed Ex controls it in the US, and they also have some control in France. They’ll also work with customs and my triplicate documents.

So, if I may say, “Hurray & Amen!”

UPDATE 4/19/14

I brought everything in to the shipping place. They boxed all my suitcases (safer that way). I also did add one other bag. So for all my bags, four of them, which came to about 150lbs., it cost me $550. Everything will arrive in just one week…a week before I do! That works for me, since I have an address to send it to and someone who knows it is coming.

 

Lessons from a Yard Sale

Things are finally warming up out there and yard sales are springing up like tulips. I just had my moving sale this past week. Since I’m not only moving house, towns, states, and countries, I really needed everything to go. This was no time to be sentimentally attached. Almost everything did go! In fact, the whole day was gloriously sunny, easy, and fun. I learned some things from this, my fifth or sixth yard sale, so I decided to share:

1. Enlist the kind assistance of a friend.

I had the support of the world’s best friend. I couldn’t have done it without him. There were way too many people, and they, of course, always arrived in pods. Plus, Marty kept reminding me that I wanted stuff gone at the end of the day. It helped me detach when offers were less than what I’d hoped. And that made me overall more successful in the end. Of course, the laughing helped.

2. Do it in one day.

The night before the sale, looking at my living room of “stuff”, I was actually leery of whether or not I’d be able to sell much in only one day, but thankfully, one day was all I needed. I made sure my signs and listings online said “one day only”. Thank God I still has my Sunday to myself!

3. Don’t pay the newspaper to advertise what you can advertise online for free.

My local newspaper quoted me $35 to list an ad. They only offered one package. All I wanted was a couple of lines running the day before the sale. Nope. Not possible. Good. I didn’t need them anyway! Instead, I created an event page on Facebook, shared the event on local yard sale group pages, used a yahoo group list I subscribe to, and posted on several free online sites like Yardsale.net. I had great results. And of course, two days before the sale, I put out a sign at the end of my block off the main road which screamed “One Day Only Moving Sale” with all the details in neon yellow and black. That was sufficient.

4. Don’t bother pricing anything.

Since I’ve been showing my house and having to keep it very clean and neat, I waited until the night before the sale to start pulling everything out of closets (though I knew what I was going to sell weeks ago). I was feeling very overwhelmed that I hadn’t really priced anything, let alone sorted it all out. I started to do what I could, first organizing items into categories and then pricing the bigger items. I just got so tired, I stopped. Something was telling me, not just my exhausted self, not to worry about it. So I didn’t.

Not having prices on stuff was awesome. I didn’t waste my time labeling, and instead of thinking up prices, I had people make offers. Oh, what ease! For me anyway. I did know what I wanted for certain items, but all the little stuff, heck, I just wanted it gone. People were fair in their offers, too. Some shoppers didn’t like that, and yet, no one shied away from doing so. 90% of the time, their offer was accepted, and whoosh went all my stuff.

5. Have a box of free stuff available.

I highly, highly recommend this. I had a small box of things that people could take for free. I kept refilling it with inexpensive items throughout the day. People loved that box, man! And maybe it was my imagination, but it seemed like once they took something from the free box, they were more willing to look around and spend. And if I raised their offer, they didn’t haggle me down. It was also a great way to make sure all those “little” things were gone by the end of the day.

6. Start early on social media and wrap up on social media.

I actually started my sale back in March with a virtual event on Facebook and a page here on this blog, so it wasn’t an overnight success by any means. I’d been putting energy into this for weeks. I took pictures of everything and kept a list with prices for people to peruse. I sold a few items early on, but most of my stuff went at the yard sale.

At the end of my one day sale, I still had a few items left, but now I could manage selling them item by item on Facebook and Craigslist. By the end of following day, Sunday, I only had a loveseat, a desktop computer, and a box of mostly linens and hangers (because I forgot to put out the rest of my hangers the day of the sale) left. Pretty darn good!

What are your best yard sale tips?

 

The Stars Align for BIG Change

Some of you may know that the month of April is stuffed full of exciting astrological configurations heralding the opportunity for BIG change. I’m not an astrologer, so I won’t get into what others have already done. But I invite you to read/watch one of the following to learn more about the energies that are currently influencing humanity:

http://www.mysticmamma.com/grand-cross-april-2014-astral-insights
http://newparadigmastrology.com
http://www.divineharmony.org

That said, a few days ago, I finally bought my ticket to France!!! I did it despite the almost blinding terror that tried to keep me from doing it. And once I did, I felt sooooo gooood!

An hour later, I had a house showing, so I went to the park to do a walking meditation with the mantra, “Love transforms my body, mind and spirit.” My entire vagus nerve was lit up like…well…Vegas.

An hour after the showing agent left, I got a call from my agent on his honeymoon in Florida (bless him): “They are going to make an offer!” Cool, eh? Unfortunately, the offer was pitiful, but it’s a start…kind of like earning that first dollar or getting that first client.

I also listed my car for sale this week and had several calls. Had my first test driver today, and she put a deposit down! Now that I have a date of departure, so many other things are free to fall into place. It’s very exciting.

Still so much to do. Saturday is my yard sale. Gotta get on the ball with shipping.

Yowza! This is finally really happening!!!