Friday, August 05, 2005

Splitting the blog

I have decided to split up my blogging. I18n G.A.L. is really about international, and I'm sure the technical readers aren't interested in my personal move to England. Likewise, I'm sure my family and friends aren't interested in my technical posts! So I've created a second blog, since I can't see an obvious way on Blogger to create topic areas within one blog:

When you go there you will see why I have chosen that name. I will create an inaugural blog there momentarily. I expect that I will be posting more there than here for the time being.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Arriving and some observations

I have received the comment that all my posts thus far have been about leaving, and none about arriving. I've also received some queries about our safety and well-being.

We are fine, all of us. I don't know anyone who has been directly affected by the recent terrorist actions. But as I said to a friend, we cannot let these things change the way we live. Whether there are religious fanaticists blowing up subways or health clinics, random violence from people with guns who shouldn't have them, or from men abusing women in societies that tolerate such actions, we must live in the way we believe is right. I believe in tolerance and peace.

As for the more mundane aspects of arriving, our container should arrive tomorrow. We will have to store everything somewhere, as we don't yet have a house nor jobs. We are actively searching for a car.

But since arriving, there are things I've come to appreciate in a very short time. I thought that living in California spoiled me for fresh fruits and vegetables, and that the farmer's market was something I would really miss. Little did I remember from my many visits here in the past, and I have since learned more. You see, England being so small, things are closer together. That includes the farms to the towns. You can drive 10 minutes and get to little farms, many of which sell their goods right on site. As you drive around, there are small signs up advertising fresh eggs and various vegetables. And on Thursdays, there's a man who comes around here with a truck full of fresh vegetables, fruit, and eggs. The milkman delivers 3 times a week, and in addition to milk, has juice and eggs, too. (Eggs are a recurring theme). Withing a 10 minute walk there are 2 greengrocers, as well as 2 bakeries, 2 butchers, 1 fish shop, and a specialty cooked meat shop. There are supermarkets within walking distance, too, but the products at the specialty shops are superb. Dairy products are much tastier, and the eggs are phenomenal. You can get a greater variety of both (dairy and eggs); for example, there's single cream, double cream, whipping cream, and clotted cream as well as the usual skimmed, semi-skimmed, and regular milks; you can buy duck eggs, or eggs from certain breeds of chicken. Amazing. And the prices of produce is significantly cheaper than in the Bay Area. So some things here can spoil a body, and that body at the moment is me!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

We made it!

(I hate Internet Explorer, which kindly deleted my entire post when I tried to enable pop-ups temporarily so I could run a spell-check. Next time I'm bringing up Firefox...)

We are finally here. It seemed like we'd never get out. Even though we supposedly had lots of extra time to get everything cleaned up, packed away, stored, and donated, we were working until the very end. I sold my car the day we left! That is, I half sold it, and dear Izzy finished the job. I hope the agency we left our stuff out on the curb for actually came by and picked it up. I assume our tenants would have said something (although at this writing they still haven't moved in).

It's amazing how tasks seem to fill the time allotted.

Some advice should you ever decide to move a long distance but retain your house (apart from "don't!") - it is a huge task. Unless you are a minimalist and extremely organized, it is exhausting, both mentally and physically. Enlist all the help you can get, accept all the help that is offered. Plan to get rid of loads of things you thought you would keep. Don't have any grand ideas of cooking the food in your fridge, freezer, and pantry. Try and secure cleaners well in advance. Plan to spend more money than you budgeted. Order a large garbage pickup on the latest date possible. And get babysitters for the kids, for their sanity as well as yours.

The mental exhaustion comes from making literally hundreds of tiny decisions: do I keep this thing, give it to a certain person, store it in the attic for when we return (maybe 10 years hence), donate it, recycle it, or throw it in the garbage? This goes for nearly every single object you put into a box (if you're not hiring packers). Because, after all, what's the point of putting it into a box if you never want to see it again? This is your opportunity to get rid of the clutter. Towards the end I nearly called a charity agency to just come and clear the rest of the house out, if only to save my mind and my back. This all made it easier to leave. So far so good. The real test comes a couple of months hence, when the novelty wears off and I start missing people, places, and decent Mexican food.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Final wrap up to leave the house

Well, as I'm waiting for files to copy from my flash drive (wonderful little devices, those) to the laptop, I thought I'd blog on our progress. The house is mostly cleaned and packed. The container left the morning of the 23rd, and that was a bit of a panic. Were it not for the help of some very good friends, we would have been up all night the night before (and we're too old for that sort of thing!). The 20 ft. x 8 ft. x 8 ft. container was nearly full, all the way to the top. Lots of stuff, and we'd pared down quite a bit! Some of the stuff we'd "pared down" was actually to be packed up and put into the attic. One disadvantage of retaining our house was the abundance of free attic storage. Translation: we've kept a lot of stuff we wouldn't have kept, I'm sure. But truly we have gotten rid of a lot of junk. And if and when we move back, I hope we can be even more discriminating. We still have more of the kitchen to pack up, and boxes and boxes of stuff to take to various agencies. I need to pop into the office to shred a few docs.

Thank goodness for Izzy, who has come almost every day to pack and make us keep moving. Today she packed and packed and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned, which is a good thing since I can't seem to get another friend's cleaning lady to call me back. I am so looking forward to a few days at Izzy's house, when everything is done and we can kick back by her pool before the long flight across the pond. I'll be able to get some luxuries done, like a haircut, manicure, and pedicure. Aaaaaah. Maybe we'll even take in a movie (Hitchhiker's Guide, anyone?). For now I must finish copying files from my old PC to the laptop so we can give the old PC to our neighbor. Yet another delivery to make tomorrow...

Monday, June 20, 2005

Thinking and not sleeping

There are so many things to take care of when you're leaving a country. And when you're busy all day just doing the things that have to be done at that moment, you don't have a chance to consider all the other things that are yet to be done. So, when you lie down to sleep, that's when the mental hamsters start running on the wheel. Many a night in the last couple of weeks I have found myself staring into the darkness, composing emails to old boyfriends, letters to long lost friends, figuratively packing my case and arranging items into box categories ("Open right away", "Open fairly soon", "No hurry", etc.) }sigh{ no rest for the wicked...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Hello and welcome to the new location for the I18n G.A.L. !
To those of you who have followed me from, thank you. To the new folks, you might want to read some of my previous blogs.
I need to keep this short due to a time constraint. You see, I'm off to a new adventure, moving to another country. Needless to say, there's loads to take care of. I expect my new experiences will give me quite a lot to write about. Until then, I'll be packing and sorting through 15 years worth of accumulation, and having lots of fun doing it, rest assured.

Until later...