With only 6 weeks left I’m instinctively savoring every moment here in San Diego. Today the family hit up four local spots; The Carlsbad Chocolate Bar, 83 Degrees, Privateer Pizza, & of course Dini’s (where Kharron and I met).
Sell, donate, pack…this is the tape played in my head like my own personal mantra. Every item my daughter picks up, every toy I place my son on or in, every piece of clothing I wear this chorus sings. I made my husband get our storage a month earlier and take 2 loads just so I could have some space to organize my categories.
I’m planning for a 2 year hiatus, so anything that my son at 2 1/2 and my daughter at 5 wouldn’t play with or use needs to either be packed or gotten rid of.
Sell – containing several subcategories; sell on eBay, sell on Craigslist, sell at garage sale.
Some of the things I need to sell are worth more than what I think I can get at the planned garage sale. For instance I partially use cloth diapers and believe it or not, there is a market for these designer diapers on eBay. Cute knitted kid beanies, cell phones can also be sold on eBay.
On Craigslist I post larger items that might be out of a garage sale connoisseur’s price bracket – my baby food making system, our front porch furniture, office TV, computer. This category will soon include my husband’s truck.
Garage sale – I loath having garage sales.
Donations also gets separated into many subcategories; Goodwill, non-profit, brother who is soon-to-be father. Since I despise people bargaining over my junk, I frequently do Goodwill drop offs containing my unwanted clothes, old sheets and other items I want to save the embarrassment of people hassling over.
I am part of a non-profit women’s organization called Contemporary Women of North County, we fundraise as well as donate necessities to a variety of non profits. I have been separately things like books, material, and new baby items to donate to this group for the various projects.
My brother recently announced that he and his fiance have conceived, so they will be the beneficiaries of a HUGE pile of baby stuff – baby bath, bassinet, blankets, toys, high chair, activity mat, baby swing… My poor parents will be lugging a Prius full back up to Santa Cruz after our daughter’s birthday party this weekend…and I can’t wait for it to be gone!
Then there’ pack… 6 suitcases slowly filling as I make trips out to the garage to shove items into the small unzipped hole at the top of each one. I duct taped our names to the corresponding suitcase so I know when each person has met their max and will need to reassess the contents. Clothes & toys for the kids. Do I need baby Tylenol? Aquafor? No Tears bath? Shoes, clothes, rainboots, summer PJs for me. A monitor, webcam, and shorts for Kharron.
The home we’re leaving behind
Taking pictures, posting our house on Craigslist, and showing it to potential renters has reminded us how truly lovely our home is. I used to look at every floor board scuff or nail hole with disdain, now I see sweet bitterness as I remember how it was created and add it to my mental “Fix It” list.
I recently redid our daughters room, complete with chandelier, pink flowery wallpaper, bright pink curtains, new closet organizer, and a loft bed she hasn’t used. Its going to break my heart to have to tear apart the unused bed and pack up all her toys & stuffed animals. Worse, I’m worried that it will break her heart! I’m not procrastinating this task, but I dread the tearful outcome. Should I do it while she’s away at preschool or in front of her?? She’s only just turning 3 years old, so I’m not convinced she will understand what is occurring.
We decided on a family to rent our home. They have a 10 year old son and a 2 year old daughter, so we’re hoping they will fit into our amazing neighborhood and enjoy their time here as much as we have. They are allowing us to keep some shelving up, the flat screen TV arm brackets, a corner cabinet, the plants, and our 2 chickens.
This is the first time we’re becoming landlords and its under strange circumstances. One of the families we interviewed didn’t like that we were just looking to rent for only 2 years. They wanted to “dig their roots in” and thought they wouldn’t be able to do that knowing we were returning. Other people had a lot of questions about whether we might come back prior to two years. Our simultaneous answer was that we will definitely be gone for 2 years, whether that’s in Nicaragua or another country.
We’re truly going to miss this home, our neighborhood, and our wonderful neighbors. We’ve created lasting friendships for both us and the kids in this neighborhood and we know we are blessed to live here.
Is it too early to pack?
My husband & his family are making fun of me, we are 2 months out and I’ve already began packing the suitcases. Actually I’ve barely started packing, but started accumulating items for the move; scourging the thrift stores for extra large suitcases (since we’re only bringing 6), scanning Craigslist for boxes & dog crates, sending group texts to neighbors to collect newspaper, buying packaging tape… Its true, I am a planner, but with all there is to do “I don’t feel like this is too early!”, I say with a defiant stomp…well, at least that’s how it gets played out in my head.
I’d like to do more, but Kharron isn’t convinced that getting our storage space this early is necessary. I’ve never done a move like this. When I moved from Northern to Southern California, everything I owned fit in my Honda. I didn’t have kids to worry over, I didn’t have a whole house worth of belongings to compact into a 15 x 10 space, and I couldn’t just call my mommy if I forgot anything.
Now my and Ze’s closets contain no shorts nor sundresses…I think that’s a fair start.
While having date night drinks & apps with the hubby, a man walks up to the bar. My husband, who has met no stranger, of course starts a conversation with the accented man. Turns out he is from New Zealand and has lived in 8 countries and had a kid born in 4 of them. We asked his advice on our move… “Only do one big thing.” he said, “Don’t plan a trip in the first 6 months, don’t have a baby the first year, and don’t start a business right away.” I’m what you might call a busy body and have already made plans to go to Belize in July to visit some friends visiting there. Part of what I want to accomplish (there I go again) while living in Nicaragua is to see the surrounding countries, work for a non profit, and maybe invest in a business. Although I haven’t changed my plans, his advise certainly does put everything into a realistic perspective.
The Journey Begins
With an emotional breakdown by Jenna and some research by Kharron, the decision has been made and implemented.
After a particularly hard day trying to sell a new mortgage company to a shrinking industry my mind returned to the late night buzzed conversations I once had with Kharron about moving abroad while running a US business. When we first dated this was a dream of ours. I once read “The Five Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss and in it he talks about working in another country where the US dollars you earn can go further. When we met, Kharron was self employed as a website developer and we fantasized he could build websites for the drop-ship companies we created. They would essentially run themselves while we traveled the world for a few years.
These thoughts were the backsplash to my frustrated & fearful tears. I worried about my depleting income; whether we could afford the house we lived in, our lifestyle, the baby growing in my belly. I had become such a consumer I thought about the remodel we wanted to do on our house, our landscaping dreams, my daughter’s next birthday party. I didn’t sleep much that night because these trains of thoughts crossed and when they did I felt it like a collision within my body. Suddenly it all made sense- this was our moment, this was our sign, we could actually do this, we could actually move to another country for a couple years!
At my computer the next day I blubbered to Kharron about my career woes and causally mentioned the idea of moving. Feeling foolish as I heard the words escape my mouth I couldn’t help but notice the glimmer of hope I felt once spoken. Once my monolouge came to an end, Kharron disappeared to our home office, but within 10 minutes I got an email from him with the subject line, “I like your idea” and a link to this blog mikesgringolife.com. I was skimming through it when Kharron reappeared. He had already read the whole blog and was ready to start packing. The path was set. Let the journey begin!