In this multi-part blog series, we talk about how we made our way abroad to Italy. Our goal with the series is to answer the most commonly asked questions that we receive, while also giving an inside look at the sacrifices need for such a big move. This part covers our life 6 months from our move date.
At the six month mark before our move to Italy we were living in the Philadelphia area with my parents. Here's the cliff notes version of a very, very long story about how we ended up living with my parents: We owned a really cute house in Louisville, KY. When we decided to get serious about working for ourselves and moving abroad, we put the house up for sale. A few months went by and it didn't sell. So, we took it off the market. We listed it again the following January and poof! We had an offer in a week. Initially we decided to stay in Louisville until the move to Italy and we briefly rented an apartment, but had a really bad neighbor and ended up calling up my parents and saying, "Um, can we live with you guys for 6 months until we move? And, can we move-in in two weeks?"
Now, if this were the movies we would've been on a tour through Tuscany, spotted a gorgeous villa that needed fixing up and decided to buy it on the spot. Ah, la dolce vita. We, however, live in the real world.
Living with my parents ended up being, well, fun -- and also a really good way to save money and focus on the move. In fact, if you are young and dreaming about a move abroad I highly suggest freeloading on your parents in order to really prepare for the move.
From a logistical standpoint, that first month in PA was all about prioritizing what was left to be done before the big move. Here's a very valuable tip: When preparing for a move abroad fight the urge to "jump right in" and instead make a really solid gameplan. Sure, looking for apartments online is the fun part, but you really need to understand the legalities of living in a place first.
Rob and I created what we called our "Italy Survival Binder." It had checklists for everything from moving Winston abroad to shipping boxes to making sure I had everything ready for the dual citizenship. With so many details to keep straight, it was great to have everything in one place. We divided the tasks and would check in a few times each week to see how certain items were progressing.
Around this time we also started systematically going through items in storage and selling things on CraigsList. The unexpected move from Louisville to Philadelphia had helped us get rid of a lot, but we still had a long way to go. We started visiting the storage unit once every week or two and always came back with a car full of things to donate or trash.
Getting rid of your (nonvaluable, non-sentimental) crap is incredibly freeing. You learn really fast what is truly important to you.
Finally, also at the 6 month mark I started to get nervous at the speed (or lack thereof) that records I had requested in PA were arriving. I took advantage of my Pennsylvania residence and started calling up my state rep and senator to engage their constituent services. In a few cases they really helped get the records there faster.
Next week in the "5 Months from the Move Date" post I'll talk about the value of expat forums, dealing with issues regarding dual citizenship, and better understanding what would need to be done once we arrived in Florence.