The hidden issue

The other day I was driving on the motorway and there was a long queue building up behind a enermous big truck. 

Now this one was so long and heavy that nobody wondered that it was moving so slowly and creating traffic.

Nonetheless, the atmosphere of the followers was not the best as you can imagine. Many honks and curses were heard and could be imagined. Since I was in no rush I was relaxed but decided at some point to overtake the truck. The undertaking started at the rear end and lasted for a long period at the middle part. I remember thinking that no wonder that he was struggling to build up a proper speed. Finally, I reached the front and to my total surprise there was a tiny car in front of this gigantic truck. Due to the size difference the car looked like a toy car. So, the cause of this was not the huge truck, which seemed at first glance the issue but in front of it was a small car, which too many had not seen and ignored. 

It might not be the easiest to recognize or acknowledge matters, which cannot be seen clearly at first glance. We make assumptions based on our perceptions, we make assumptions to keep us in a comfortable place. Situations we take as granted and do not want to look into deeply will remain as they. What is there to lose when we try to change it? What is there to gain from it?

Do we want to change it and hear the bitter truth but perhaps an explanatiory truth, which will put a new light on settled patterns? Do we want to continue our life’s with accepting the situation as we perceive it or do we want to see things clearly?

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Moving Countries Final

It is 2015, the new year has started. The first days are still full of the ideas of what to change in this “new” life and “new” image.
However, some of us are dealing with moving their household.

The advise following the don’t push yourself to the limit is a more diplomatic one which involves your social skills:
Be in contact with the Letting Agent/Landlord
If you are renting a property you have to remove all your belongings, the property has to be cleaned perhaps painted and left in a good shape.
It is important that you keep up to date regarding timescales like checking out date, cleaning date, and leaving date. If you have questions, ask immediately. Don’t postpone and always chase responses when you do not receive them immediately. The letting agent is keen on getting a new tenant in as well as the landlord. I had been tenant for 3 and half years and my landlord gave me for Christmas chocolate for being such a good tenant. It was the sweetest thing ever since I hadn’t recognized that I did anything special. When there was something wrong with the boiler I could call him and it got fixed but that was the only problem.

Plan ahead until the delivery time!
So, the actual date of the pick up of the boxes is coming closer and the delivery date is announced. Mine is the second week of January, 2015, so I am still waiting for my boxes…
Moving over Christmas….
Do a rough calculation on how long you will need to live without the boxes and what the content of your suitcase(s) should be. Do you wear formal clothes to work? How many days will you need to wear them? Do you need your sport clothes? What about skiing? Any holiday planned during that time? What about money, which currency is needed? What about the small things like what you do in the mornings usually? Do you need your tea, coffee, electrical toothbrush, charger, razor, hairbrush, contact lenses, and contact lens solution and so on? I guess so! So, these are for the suitcase(s). You do not want to wake up in the new home with missing socks, missing coffee and feeling miserable because they are in that box which you marked as “Kitchen” and “Clothes”. There is no better feeling than waking up at your new home with familiar things and not feeling out of place!

Try to change your mindset and adjust to your environment.
I am now since more than a week in my new home country and living in my new home until my next move from Gallarete to Milan. I am a city girl and have done the mistake in staying in a town for too long. Now that I had arrived my new landlady has scheduled a meeting with me. My Italian landlady told me she will arrive from 10 30 until 11 30. So she arrived at 13.!!! An hour meeting took place in two hours, which is fine. Better to know more than less. Kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room. Great!

First time experiences.
Now off to work with the rent a car. Wait! With the car on the wrong side of the road to work, a route which I have never driven before? Ah but I got my navigation and I am driving now since a couple of years so it shouldn’t be too difficult. U.K. has the üdrivers and so tolerant and very few honks. And now here!! Please do not run me over! I am just starting to drive and although you honk I will not drive faster because I am too scared to drive faster! I honk back. They understand and move on, which means taking over from the left usually…After awhile of driving I think that is not going to bad and hit the pavement because I come too close to it. Next day, I do not see any cars and do a left turn. The usual left turn, which I would do in the U.K. which brings me face to face or in this case car to car with a furious car driver. So, take is slow and careful until the brain adjusts to the new situation. Ok, the Garmin Satnav I bought in U.K. has a bit of difficulties in adjusting to this new country and these roads. Funny, how it pronounces the roads with a British accent. So, I get lost…Hm, which direction do I need to go now? Varese, Milan or wherever the hell I am? Put extra time for losing the way and not losing your patient. All ways lead to Rome but that is not the way I am looking for! Eventually a very stressed and alerted person arrives at work. Me! Fortunately, it was only a test drive because I had taken a day off to get adjusted to driving and sorting out my new place! Sometimes I find the road easier and sometimes it is more difficult. Sometimes I am patient and sometimes I just want to shout and cry. That is the way it goes. The beginning is always the most difficult but it eases over time and then you remember how silly you behaved at that time. That recognition of that however has not settled in yet!
The first time going grocery shopping in Italy. Going to Carrefour. Cheese, bread, sausage, kitchen towels all the familiar things. Everything written in Italian. With my basic to medium Italian, which I haven’t used since a long time I look through the stores. Vegetable oil… Hmm there are pictures so I guess I got the right one. Then I pass the mozzarella shell. I love mozzarella! There is the normal one, the cheaper one, the buffalo one. It is full of my favourite cheese. So, what about shampoo and crèmes. With all the planning I could not locate them in my suitcase. Shower crème…”Docia crema” Sounds about right! Now let’s get my favourite washing powder Ariel and vernel. There is vernel but no Ariel. Hm Dexan? Is it good or not? Which sausage is the nicest? Uhh they have cut in a nice shape the salmon so it can be easily put into pasta and as well some ready sauces. My kind of country! Full of new impressions.

Try the local day to day life
I had heard about the aperitivo which is basically where you pay around 5 Euro for a cocktail and get access to an open buffet and can eat as much as you want. Delicious! I found out later that actually it is something like a pre dinner thing assuming that you do not eat too much. Delicious Italian food! They are the best in the food sector. Once the year 2015 starts the proper Italian classes will start for me. Do as the Romans will do. The language symbolizes a lot about the culture.

Now the wait for the boxes begins…

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Moving Countries Part 2

Last time we covered the part regarding the paperwork and within this post we will concentrate on organising the physical movement like finding a moving company, evaluating how many boxes are needed for all your belongings, deciding if you want to take all furniture & clothes with you whilst feeling at the same time sad about leaving and happy about moving.
The good part is; eventually everything will come together and you will enjoy a cup of tea at your new home. The bad part is; if you are at this stage of the move, you are just starting!

The second advise: Whilst moving have support with you in form of a friend, family or even paid one and even if it is only a morale support it will help you immensely!
At some point or another you will stand in the midst of the chaos and will want to run away. Calm that urge down otherwise it will eat you from the inside, which it does after awhile where you have sleepless nights. I was extremely fortunate that my mum came to help me out otherwise I do not know how I would have handled it. Also all the upcoming decisions will be handled easier with someone, who knows you well or is paid to know your preferences.

Now the most important part of the movement…
Choose the moving company wisely
I contacted via the internet some moving companies, asked friends for their advice and looked out for flyers and vans with moving company advertisements. At the end it came down to two.
I called one of them. I had seen the flyer and the words “professional”, “two helpers”, “international movement” and “full insurance” were the keywords for me. The response to my call was “Hello” from a woman. I said that I wanted to get a quote and advise regarding the moving. She said “I will connect you to the right person”. This time a man answered with “Hello”. At that time I was irritated and said “Am I speaking with the company xx because until now nobody has answered the phone in that way or introduced themselves? “ His answer was “Do you want to call again so I can answer the phone with the company name and my name?”. After another 2 minutes it was clear that it was a “fake” company. Nowadays, you can’t be too careful about companies, which might turn out to be not what they seem. Probably from the above written you can see that it was not the best start but even the smallest shops answer with their shop name the phone. In any company I have worked in it was obligatory to use the company name and state your name.
Fortunately, I was lucky with Movecorp (http://t.movecorp.co.uk). They were very professional and reachable (answered with the company name) and updated via e-mail the status and answered all my question and even provided the packing boxes and were very flexible. I saw also that they work with Moneycorp together, which can be seen at many airports.

An advise regarding how many boxes you might need: Write down your belongings and how you want to divide them and how many boxes you might need per belonging.
For that, you might need to wonder around your place and have a look on how many things you actually have. More than you thought will be the answer. Also decide on and how many things you might need to take with you for the next step in your life. Add to your estimated box number around 5 more unless you are really bad at it then ask for a second opinion or a professional one. The company can come to your apartment and advise you on how many boxes you might need. With me it worked with exactly 30 boxes.

Always label your boxes. Write down the content of the boxes.
Although during packing it might seem like a good idea to pack things away, you will regret not labelling them once you receive them. Putting into boxes the right thing and the clothes, equipments, which you are not planning on using soon are important. You do not really want to put paperwork, which you need right now into the boxes or your favourite jumper into it. You will miss them dearly once you have packed them away and it disappears from your sight under many other boxes.

Next advise: If you have belongings which you want to sell it do them as soon as possible.
The timing is very important but also the month of the year. Me, moving before Christmas and trying to sell things looked like an impossible mission. Probably in January, February things change again but I can’t speak about these months out of experience. I was the least concerned about my Red devil, my Ford Fiesta, which was just my second car I ever had. I used Autotrader (http://www.autotrader.co.uk) to advertise my car. I had put it on a Friday and on Saturday someone immediately called to view it. Weekends are the times you will receive most of the calls for your advertisements. Follow for this step my first advise and have your paperwork together. I recognized whilst looking through my paperwork for my car that the service booklet was missing. Frantically, I was looking for it but fortunately I could retrieve it from the garage, where I had bought my car initially from located 30 min. from me. Before you move you do not think much about missing documents or that you need to have all documents together because the service check is once a year but once you are on the move even 1 hour from your time is a lot and eats into your time where you could pack boxes or call utility providers or schedule meetings for your car. You can pick from the many activities. Also for the furniture, if you want to sell any, immediate advertisement is needed but then you have to consider the consequence that you will not have furniture at that time. So the armrest which you thought would save lots of place once sold carried all your electronic equipment. Now they are on the floor. Also for wardrobes once sold you have to think about the consequence of having them outside or put them orderly into the boxes.

Don’t push yourself to the limit!
Your back is hurting and you look like a ghost because you are constantly grabbing things from the floor, carrying the boxes, wrapping them up and having sleepless nights? Take a step back and put some pauses in between. It helps nobody when you are grumpy, tired and manage to hurt yourself whilst in the process of moving and packing. A little tea break or coffee break will do wonders. The motivation is back. Even if you are surrounded by wrapping equipment, ready or non ready boxes, scissors etc.

On this note; Let’s enjoy a cup of tea and see what will happen in 2015. May happiness and health be a big part of 2015!!!

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Moving Countries

This is the 6th time that I am moving countries in my adult life. My moves were from small scale, which is moving of one or two suitcases to a full blown one, like my current one, which involves transportation of all my belongings from one apartment to another one in a different country including the responsibilities, which are involved in these like cancelling of all the utility bills.

My moves were from, Munich, my home town to Dubai, the city I had the most fun at whilst studying and partying and meeting amazing people from all around the world. From Dubai, which I felt very sad to leave at that time, to Istanbul a buzzing city, full of history with a population of over 14 Million people. Then from Istanbul to beautiful Roma. It is one of my favourite cities. You even feel happy whilst getting lost and trying to find the way because every corner has its own beauty and it seems like you just get to know new places rather than try to find the location, which you initially wanted to go. I had the pleasure of staying there only two months and then moved on or back to Munich. Munich the city, which hosts the Oktoberfest yearly and is known for the Bavarian friendliness. After 2 years of having lived there and being re united with my friends the next destination was for me United Kingdom. United Kingdom, a place known for his posh and not so posh English accent. The Big Ben is there, the London Eye, Madame Toussads. Ahh I am speaking about London so where did I go? Farnborough! What is it known for? Hmm it is 25 minutes by train to London and every second year it hosts the Farnborough Airshow. These are literally all the highlights this town has to offer. I have improved my English enormously and have met wonderful, helpful and kind people.

And that brings me to my current move, which is from U.K., the city of bad English food but wonderful and polite English people to eventually Milan, Italy. Since, I am currently fully involved in the move, I thought I would take the opportunity to share some of the experiences I have made and I am still making, so that it might help current movers and future movers. Or on the very least, it will be funny story to read or cause some to sigh with relief that they are not moving!

I had made a to do list with an action list, which is as seen below

  • Cancel water supplier
  • Cancel electricity supplier
  • Contact Letting agent/Landlord
  • Sell my car
  • Empty my flat
  • Cancel my car insurance
  • Terminate my rent contract
  • Cancel Council tax
  • Speak with the bank.

Approx. that was the way on how I had organized my list, which I thought at that time was well done. I realized very fast that I had just painted a bigger picture because without the company names and your specific membership number, you get very little information and you are basically told to call back because you might fail easily the security questions. Also the most common security question is how much they book within which period via direct debit from your account.

First advise of this blog Always have your paperwork organized and write down your membership number and the amount you pay monthly before calling the utility suppliers.

A “Ah I think I pay per month xx amount” is usually the wrong answer. There are also questions on when you started to enrol with that certain provider. If it has been just 6 months ago you might still remember the exact date but not if it has been years ago.

As an organised person, I wanted to call all the utility suppliers early enough to tell them that I am moving but it was too early so I had to do it last minute, which is good for them but not good for me or any mover. It is the situation that whilst you stand in a half empty full of boxes apartment you try to organise to cancel the utility providers! For me it was a week before the moving out date, which should be the end of January, 2015 but my letting agent was having views of my apartment, so that they get possibly a new tenant. I refused weekends for viewings, which will be during your move your busiest time. I could not take off properly of work due to my workload. Murphy’s law. Everything comes together at the same time and goes wrong.

Another funny note is that once you move you have to provide your forwarding address and mine was in Italy so italian street name’s. The amount of times I had to spell the name out! It was difficult for me and the company I was speaking to. It got however easier after the 3rd time!

I can’t emphasize this point enough but always check with the utility suppliers if you need to do anything else in order to cancel the bills. Any document to be send back, anything which needs your signature. It is not pleasant to receive these information’s a couple of days before moving out.

Another chapter with new advices will follow next time but for now:

Christmas time in Italy

Everywhere, there is the Christmas feeling around and presents are past from hand to hand. “Buon Natale” is called out and people are kissed on the cheeks. Christmas Time has come and it will be my first Christmas in Milan!

Frohe Weihnachten! Merry Christmas! Buon Natale!