At this point I am counting the days before I leave for Spain. All the last-minute details and the good-bye parties. At times I feel I am heartless because I don't feel sadness or excitement. I am in a place of numb and tired. The last four months have been some of the most stressful times of my life. I am a planner and always plan before a storm hits, but this time I was not prepared for all the hits that came at me. For starters I knew we would go over budget, but not the amount it ended up being. Not only did the container go over the estimated price by a lot but the arrival in Spain the container maybe just as much between port fees, shuttle fees (the streets are too small to take the container to the house so the movers have to transport everything in a smaller truck), and tax fees, I will get into that in a moment.
The moving company transporting my two medium sized dogs kept their pricing but come to find out there are extra fees for them to bring you the dogs from the warehouse at the airport, to your location just feet away. I do have to say the cheapest thing out of this whole move has been my ticket to Spain. Never thought I would ever say such a thing.
Loading day of my belongings happened back in late October and when working with the moving company I would ask each individual I spoke with what was the timing of arrival of the container so I could plan accordingly. Every person told me 3 months minimum. I bought my ticket for exactly 3 months arriving in Spain in January. Had they shipped the container from Los Angeles 3 -4 months would be correct.
In this time the moving company in Spain and I began discussing the process on the other end and they mentioned I needed my European passport. Let me explain that I never had the desire to get my Greek passport because with my Greek ID, I can travel anywhere in Europe. As an American I can travel to many countries without a Visa. We bought our home in Spain with my Greek ID. The movers said that customs will not accept my ID and will tax me without my passport.
Let's talk about the issue with getting my Greek passport. The consult that services my area is 736 miles away. They only accept you by making an appointment you physically have to appear to, then they send you off your way. You wait around 6 months they call you and you physically have to go pick it up (nothing is mailed). Let's start with these people only work 4 hours a day and never pick up their phone, so the simplest thing (making an appointment) is mission impossible. Next, I contacted the embassy in Madrid which is 234 miles away from my home in Spain. The process is the same, but the timing is 4-6 weeks wait. My next option was to fly to Greece and apply for my passport there which only takes a week. Meaning, I would have my passport in time for everything I need to do within the next month.
In addition, where I need my passport, I was supposed to go into real estate and had my interview in mid-November. Everything went well, until my interviewer asked about my European passport. I explained I didn't have one for my reasons stated above. I found out that day without my Greek passport I could not get paid. Can I say panic attack! I looked at all my options to get my passport and due to my leave date being so close, my only choice was to go back to Greece to go get it. I was fortunate to find a ticket last minute out of Phoenix where I was visiting my mother for Thanksgiving. On our drive down to Phoenix I get a call from the shipping company that the container will arrive in Spain December the day after Christmas. You would think that is good news, but it wasn't. Trying to find someone to open the door to the house during the holidays, and not able to fulfill the document requests because I am not physically there to do them, but this had to be put on hold and I had to focus on the passport.
I am missing days of work that I desperately need, and the exhaustion to travel in such a short period. I get there and, in the end, had to redo all my documentation. I was very lucky I left with my passport in hand which showed up that morning I had to leave. Just to add some spice, I get food poisoning on my long flight back. About a week later I get a message from who would have been my employer that during the month of January is very slow, so they are putting off hiring me at this time. Strike 1, on my purpose of running for my passport.
Now back to my container showing up 2 months earlier. They must of drove the container to New York and shipped out from there because it ended up showing up on the 19th of December. The movers notify me that customs are still going to tax me even with my Greek passport because I don't have my registration that I have moved to Spain (a document you can only receive when you physically have moved there). If you plan to move to Spain and have an option to avoid paying taxes note, without your registration paper you will be taxed. Strike 2 for running for my passport. Now, I am just angry. Yes, in the end I needed my passport to find a job and get paid there, BUT it didn't have to be the cherry on top of the stress.
The sad part is I am tired of the unnecessary run around and now I am just snappy. The lady helping with the dogs traveling denied the signatures as being legit and claimed they were electronic oooooo did I snap after I evaluated the signatures and know they were brought in and signed by him. I am over this......
We are down to the final week and waiting to walk through the goodbye parties and try to enjoy my time with my loved ones, but I feel numb. I feel like a dog chasing their own tail, on the other hand keeping me busy has kept me from paying too much attention on my emotions. The comment I get the most is "you are so brave" or "I would have given up a long time ago if I went through all that" I believe I would have too if I wasn't so busy trying to keep up with all the demands I didn't plan. At this moment I should be getting emotional with all the goodbyes, but I still feel numb, angry, scared, nervous and confused.
I know it will hit me when I get there, honestly, all I want to hit me at this point is happiness and feeling accomplished after all that work. I waited so many years to move back to Europe. I know I will come across other issues out there, but that is what I miss NORMAL PROBLEMS, daily obstacles. When I lived in Greece it would drive me crazy to hear the housewives ask the night before what to cook the next day, I always thought "well, figure that out tomorrow", I would gladly listen to that again and again, even join in. I know I sound whinny; I just miss having normal. I really hope by my next post will have "IT WAS WORTH IT" vibes. Moving is stressful and it doesn't matter how far or where you are going. If I could do it all again, I honestly would have gotten rid of as much as I could, only sent the most important and bought everything over there. At the same time though I had so much invested in my business and art that had to go over. It will always be an internal question, "did I take the right path in my situation?" I will not have the answer until I get there.