Xan & Bob

Back home in North Carolina

Having arrived back in North Carolina we start the list making of what needs to be done to move. I go back to work where I am sure my smile from ear to ear is going to give it away. Unfortunately, I am unable to tell my boss, sorry Buddy, or anybody except a few very close friends as I need my job until we leave.

We sign a contract (lease) for the casa in Viladellops with Marcelo. We book one way tickets to Barcelona for March 30, 2017. Give notice on our house. This is starting to get real now. We plan to leave Cary on March 24th and spend 6 days at my cousin, Donna’s, home on Lake Norman before flying out.

Part of our decision to move is to simplify our life. As is the way with many people we have accumulated a lot of stuff. Every time we moved we purged but it was never enough.  The last couple of moves we had 12,000 lbs. (roughly 6,000 kgs.) of stuff. This included furniture and 20 plus boxes of books.  Time to declutter our lives. Over the next 3 weeks we sorted through all of our books – chose a few special ones to keep and then sold, gave away to friends or donated the rest. We also made a stack of stuff to sell at our garage sale which we needed to have by the end of October before the weather changed. Getting rid of books meant we had 8 bookcases to sell.  Garage sale weekend comes and what a success.  We made $1600 and whatever was left we took to Goodwill. Nothing went back into the house. We thought we got rid of a lot but why did the house still look so full? We continue sorting and make regular deliveries to Goodwill. I start filling large boxes for my sisters, Vicky, and Sandy. Bob starts posting our furniture on Facebook market and Craigslist. The house slowly empties. Timing is everything as we need some stuff until we leave but we do not want to get to the end and have furniture left.

It is amazingly freeing getting rid of stuff. We go through the house and determine a high level of box numbers for each room which we use for a quote for international shipping. The quote is good but now there is the pressure of keeping the number of boxes close to what we had estimated.  We are also aware that houses in Spain do not have storage like they do in America. We need to take only what is really sentimental and what we need. I will admit there were some emotional times going through family items that became mine when I cleaned out my Mom’s house four years ago.  Part of this is sorting through 5000 slides and choosing what to have converted digitally and what to discard. Ugh. I have 800 slides converted and the rest are shredded. I also have my parent’s china cabinet filled with family china. Lots of emotions. I can’t take it with me, my sisters don’t have the room nor will they use it. It must go and it does either to my cousin Donna or to an antique dealer.

We are told that the box shipment will take 30-45 days to arrive in Spain and since we would like it to be there when we arrive we set February 13th as the date for the movers to pick up the boxes. Right after Christmas Bob starts packing. Another milestone comes when we need to choose what clothes to keep with us that will fit into four suitcases. We will discover that we seriously overestimated this and will end up having to buy two more suitcases.

In early January, my sister Sandy and I meet in Denver at my sister, Vicky’s, home. Five days of sister time. I have not seen Sandy in 5 years and Vicky in 4 years. Why do we let life get in the way? It was great to see Vicky and Jodi’s new home and spend time with their family. We had a fabulous time but I will admit that seeing them makes it much harder to leave.

I have continued to keep my move quiet at work but as we start planning goals for 2017 it is clear that I cannot keep it a secret any longer. As much as I have been excited for the move it has also been difficult to keep it from my boss. I hope that my employer will let me stay through to March 17th but we are prepared if they do not. On January 20th I finally tell my boss and although not happy that I am leaving he is excited for our new adventure. Thankfully the company is good with me giving two months’ notice. That night I am able to post the news on Facebook and let all our friends know about our big move. Such a relief to finally have this exciting news out in the open. It has been difficult planning for this huge life change without people knowing.

February 13th arrives and the movers pick up our 70 boxes. We are happy to see how little the boxes fill the back of their truck. The final amount is 70 boxes or 350 cubic feet. Not too bad from 12,000 lbs. and we only added a few boxes from our original estimate. Now the house really looks empty and that is okay. We adjust to the new “camping out” mode. We continue to sell off the furniture and even though we have someone make an appointment to purchase our sleigh bed 3 weeks before we are to leave I must admit that I am happy that they failed to show up. An airbed would have been a bit rough on our exhausted bodies.

We find that it is pretty easy to live with so much less. A great lesson to learn even if it took us this long. I start notifying credit cards and businesses of our change of address. We are keeping a post office box in the U.S. for a while which is good because most of our credit cards do not take foreign addresses. I also change everything to paperless statements. Another big change is removing our name from catalog lists. As much as I love them I will not miss the clutter. I register to remove us from junk mail lists.

We need to sell our cars and expect that Bob’s Infiniti may take a bit longer to sell so we put it on Craigslist in mid-February. We sell it within 24 hours. Down to one car. On March 17th, my last day at work, we have my Honda Accord detailed and put it on Craigslist. It sells within 6 hours. This means we must rent a car for the week before we leave Cary but better than being stuck with the car at the last moment.

As we sit in our spartan house towards the end we discuss the things we feel we will miss. Bob says he will miss Half n Half. I think I will miss Target and Amazon Prime the most. The latter will turn out to be a pleasant surprise.

March 24th arrives and we have rented a large SUV to haul our 6 suitcases, 4 carry-on bags and all the stuff going to my cousin’s house. Seriously had doubts that it was going to fit. We expect this to be a relaxing time but Bob’s expert witness work has lawyers all trying to get him to do something prior to us leaving. We do have a wonderful time with my cousin Donna, her husband Carl, and my Aunt Norma. They have a surprise for me – my cousin Roger and his daughter Faith are flying in from NH for the last couple of days we are there.

On Tuesday afternoon, we drive back to Cary and stay with our friends, Doug and Juanita, for the night as Bob has his U.S. Citizenship Oath Ceremony the next day…but that is story for another time. Wednesday morning we drive back to the lake and a wonderful going away dinner of prime rib. Thanks Carl!

March 30th finally arrives and we are off on our new adventure.




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