Sorry to be a bit slow with this post. Easter weekend was spent doing a LOT of packing. Which is a convenient segue into today's subject. Once you've decided to move overseas, the next question, to paraphrase Shakespeare, is, "To ship or not to ship?."
There's no "right" answer, and a lot of folks dump everything except what they can carry in their suitcases and just go. In fact we ate dinner last weekend with another couple here in Vegas also, amazingly, moving to Cuenca soon, who are doing exactly that.
But we love our "stuff" and a lot of it is pretty new and not inexpensive. Plus we look forward to the comfort of our residence feeling like home, even if it's in a very unfamiliar place.
So the choice was easy, but it certainly wasn't the easiest choice. Because that has meant we have to literally pick up every single item in our lives and decide what to do with it. When you're moving across town or even across the country you may decide to have a garage sale or take a few things to Goodwill, but it's easy enough to load most of it in a truck and haul it to the next place. We know; we've moved 10 times so far.
But this is different. This is serious moving. Take documents, for example. Cynthia's been very diligent about retaining official records, especially ones that are tax-related. In fact she's been so diligent that we've got receipts and forms dating back to what seems like the Nixon presidency. With increasing threat of identity theft (although at times I would pay some fool to take over my identity for awhile) you can't just throw it all away. Nope, one---damn---page at a time you purge any with your signature or SSN to be shredded.
My sister gave us a shredder for Christmas a couple of years ago and at the time I thought (graciously), "Well, that's an interesting gift." Little did I know I'd now be using that blasted thing more often that I use the toilet. Twice so far it's literally overheated and shut down on me. Trying to find humor in even this task my new nickname around here is "Edd the Shredd."
Next comes the furniture---the artwork---the decorative accessories---the dishes & cookware---the clothes---the linens--the boxes in the garage you still haven't even opened from the last move. Are we going to ship it? Do the kids want it? Can we sell it? Should we just give it away? These four questions are asked about every---single---thing we've managed to accumulate in almost 39 years of wedded bliss. I've started channeling Jesse Jackson and Johnny Cochran as I endlessly repeat my latest mantra: "When in doubt, throw it out!."
Perhaps I'm making all this sound too negative. Is it a royal pain in the ass? Yes. Are we glad we're doing it? Honestly, yes again. A Chinese sage said, "The less baggage, the easier the journey." As each page is shredded, as each Craigslist item goes out the door, as another piece of furniture is tagged to go to our children, our material world is not only smaller, it's better. We've realized we're boiling our world down to its very essence, and consciously choosing to continue to surround ourselves with only what really matters to us. Things that at one time had meaning or usefulness are still around because---they're still around. By forcing ourselves to do so we've found we're actually happy passing them on to new owners who can use and appreciate them.
As a result of this arduous process we've interestingly discovered our mental "baggage" is lightening as well. I've often joked that the main problem with moving somewhere to "make a fresh start" is you keep taking you with you. It appears we'll be taking a new "us" to Ecuador to begin our new adventure. Time will tell.
Oh, I'm happy to report we're no longer homeless and now have a temporary place to stay while we finalize our visas and find our "real" home. But there's still so much up in the air only a few weeks before departure I'm amazed how calm we are about all this. Because we have LOTS of reasons to be frantic. I'll fill you in next time.