Friday, March 23, 2007

Wrapping Up Our Lives

They say that the two most stressful life events are moving into a new home and a death in the family. I don't really know who "they" are, but having experienced both a couple of times, I think there is some truth to the sentiment. On the one hand, however, this move is probably the easiest one I will ever experience since I do not have to pack a single item, and have been, literally, blogging and watching General Hospital all day while the movers are packing up my house. Even Asha is at her grandmother's so that we can steer clear of the movers. On the other hand, there are so many things to take care of in this move. We needed to separate everything we own - all the junk in our house, items in the attic that we never think about, and the clothes in our closets - since some items will go with us to Mexico and others will stay behind in a storage that, for all intents and purposes, we won't be able to access for two years. We have to sell our house, close bank accounts, open new credit cards for Mexico, terminate our car insurance, etc., etc., etc.

And then there's the matter of learning Spanish. Since Sonny took it in high school and college, he has been able to really pick it up again through Berlitz. I, on the other hand, took French for six years, and keep pronouncing words with a bad French accent and using the wrong article in front of nouns. I have, however, mastered the numbers 1-20 and the colors of the rainbow.

The never ending "To Do'" list, however, is actually helping us get excited and keeping life interesting. The difficult part of the process is emotionally letting go of our lives in NJ. We love this house, this town, our routine here, our friends, and our family. No matter how excited we are about our move, the truth is that everything is changing and will never again be the same even when we come back.

Tuesday night was in fact our last night in this house. I felt weepy as I continued sorting through our items for storage and packing Asha's and my bags for the next month. This was our first house, the one that I brought my baby home to, where I have a routine that I love. It's strange to watch the movers wrap up the leather chair I sit on while I drink my morning coffee, and take take apart Asha's crib. I keep wanting to say "no, don't pack that yet, we'll need it later today." As the closets are emptied, the furniture wrapped and the boxes stacked, the rooms are engulfed in an air of sadness, as though they themselves are being stripped of life.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Road to Mexico

Our decision to move to Mexico has been met with myriad reactions from family, friends, and even acquaintances. It seems that everyone has an opinion, which is nice in a way because it forces Sonny and I to think about and prepare for the numerous challenges ahead, and get excited about the adventure. After preparing emotionally as well as we can for something like this, we are well on way South of the Border.

The first major order of business was to find a home. Having decided to move to another country for the primary purpose of experiencing life differently from how we live in New Jersey (within our own comfort level, of course), we decided that we did not want to live in a house in the suburbs. So we narrowed down our options to apartments in the city and finalized on a 4 bedroom, 12th floor apartment in the Polanco section of Mexico City. On the advice of our realtor, we picked a few backup choices as well, because, as we are quickly learning, Mexicans are in the habit of sweetly saying in exaggerated tones "yes, yes, don't worry," but things rarely go according to plan.

Case in Point: a few days after returning from our trip, our realtor emailed us saying that we had gotten our first choice apartment in Polanco, informing us that the owners would sign the contract with Novartis the next day, and sending us our new address. Three days later, she notified us that the apartment fell through because the owners suddenly refused to agree to certain conditions of Novartis' with the rental contract. It took a couple of weeks of going back and forth, a few tears and gallant efforts on the part of Consuelo (our realtor) to negotiate the deal and get us that apartment.

Once the apartment was really finalized and the contract signed (about 5 days ago), we were able to decide what of our belongings we wanted to take to Mexico and what we wanted to put into storage. Our movers had been rescheduled twice because: (1) we couldn't start packing until we knew exactly where we were going to live; and (2) we had not received our visas and nothing could be shipped until the moving company had our visas in hand.

Housing arrangements now having been determined, and visa issues having been dealt with, we are now in the process of moving out of our house.