Decluttering

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Arrietty, Pod, and Homily Clock enjoying a quiet evening in their house under the floorboards.

Growing up the way that I did, I became something of a pack rat. I am not sure what exactly inspired me to be that way, but I think part of it came from the charm of The Borrowers. The other part surely came from a desire to claim roots somewhere. Since we moved around so much, my roots became my belongings that I could bring from place to place so that no matter where I was at in the world, I felt a semblance of “home.”

As I’ve grown up, I’ve actively tried to undo that entrenched habit of keeping everything because I am just sick and tired of carting so much stuff around with me wherever I go. Even so, Eric and I have a home–albeit a small one–and we have belongings. A great deal of those belongings will not be making the move with us to Mongolia because it is neither practical nor cost efficient to ship these things with us. I have mentioned this before and will probably mention it again as an international move is no small undertaking.

Currently, we volunteer at a local shelter which will likely become the resting place of a good deal of our belongings as I know that they will be put to use there. But how do I decide what to donate and what to put in storage? Some items–like my grandmother’s sewing machine and attached sewing table–will obviously stay in storage because of their familial importance, but what about dishes and such? The minimalist lifestyle holds great appeal for this former pack rat, but won’t I regret getting rid of our cozy little nest? Fortunately, I should have several months this summer to determine what will stay and what will go. I just hope I’ll be able to make sound decisions!

In unrelated news: we are continuing to raise our support for Mongolia and are inching along slowly. Any progress is better than no progress! Thank you to everyone who has committed to supporting us in one way or another. We appreciate you!

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PS. Any suggestions on how to approach this move are more than welcome!

Legwork

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This post has nothing to do with fitness except in the ways that we needed to physically move ourselves from one government building to another. No, this post is all about paperwork! Lots and lots of paperwork. Even though my parents work internationally and dragged me along with them everywhere, I really had no idea just how much goes into an international move until this last year.

I’ve touched on the difficulty of deciding what to bring and what to leave in the US (or get rid of entirely), but that is only one aspect of this whole process. There is another part of moving that involves a ton of documentation. The following list is more or less what we have had done/turned in so far:

  • Medical insurance forms
  • Life insurance enrollment
  • HIPAA authorization form
  • Direct deposit enrollment
  • US state tax declaration form
  • State tax form
  • W4 tax form
  • Emergency contact form
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Digital diploma scan/digital issue date form
  • Recommendation letter (waived–woohoo!)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Physical passport
  • 4 passport photos
  • Digital passport scan
  • Digital passport photos
  • Health record (Required: chest x-ray, ECG/EKG, and HIV/AIDS testing. Everything had to be filled out, signed, and stamped by our doctor. We have a follow up appointment for travel immunizations.)
  • Criminal background check (involved getting a clearance letter from the FBI and two sets of fingerprints)
  • Visa applications
  • Authenticated marriage certificate (Surprisingly, we already had one of these lying around from when I got my legal name change.)

Although this is the extent of what I understand to be the entirety of our documentation, I’m fairly positive that there will be more paperwork to fill out once we get in country. And, if it means I’ll get to live and work in Mongolia, then all of this legwork is definitely worth it!

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Anticipation

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Сайн байна уу!

There is so much to do to prepare for an international move. Our move won’t be until the end of July, but my mind is already churning through possibilities. We will be bringing two checked bags each plus a carry on and personal item each on the plane. All of that is supposed to last us for two years.

Eep!

Now, to break that down, let me add that part of budget allows for setting up house once we arrive in Ulaanbaatar, and we are already planning on shipping some of our books over so that we’ll have something of our library with us there. Our personal library is massive for just two people, so obviously, we will only be bringing select books with us. Also: I am very grateful for e-readers at this point and for digital downloads from US libraries. That will ease the pain of leaving behind so many books. 😉

The real question is, can I justify bringing volumes one and two of MAFC?

The real question is, can I justify bringing volumes one and two of MAFC?

These days, as I move through our tiny apartment in Seattle, I look at our various possessions and wonder what to bring. As someone who loves to nest, I want to bring a few familiar items with us to help maintain familiarity between home in the US and our future home in Mongolia. Weight and size will put a sizable limit on these items, so I have mentally relinquished my stand mixer and the majority of my kitchen gadgets. (I am still trying to argue my own case for the need to bring my cast iron pot.) I was flipping through my cookbooks yesterday and trying to decide which ones will be most useful overseas. Anything that calls for packaged goods–like condensed cream of mushroom soup–isn’t going to cut it.

One thing that I know we won’t be able to bring with us is our two cats. Pippin and Rosie will need to stay stateside, which we believe will be best for them in the long-term as well as being cost-efficient for us. That much of a move and uncertainty would likely send Pippin to an early grave. Fortunately, we already have a wonderful home lined up for them so we don’t have to worry about them, although I am trying to appreciate them even more while I still can.

Anyone out there have great tips for international moves? I’m willing to take any and all advice!

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