Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How we got here

Some folks have asked how we did it ... how do you get your stuff organized, decide what to bring, what to give away or sell, what to dump.

No question, it's hard! No bed of roses, that's for sure. We went through the whole range of emotions... funny how your 'stuff' can do that to you!

After we sold the ranch, we had an auction. Big Jim L, one of our best friends, is the best auctioneer on the planet, and he got us organized... the good part of an auction is that, at the end of the day, all the stuff is gone and you have money!

Furniture, tools, equipment, yarn/craft stash, kitchen stuff, garden/BBQ stuff, Christmas stuff, books, etc.

Many thanks again to Jim, Shirley and the helpers for a very successful auction!
(Jim, Rich is still driving that cattle... when you comin'??)

Some tools and the SUV and a small work trailer we dropped off at Tim's (our nephew with rural property in CA) on the way out. Here's Tim. (He and Camille plan to marry in Sept this year and we're hoping they will choose to honeymoon with us here in Ecuador!)

Tim ouside their lovely home.

With Camille. (Isn't she pretty!)

The car went to storage at Art/Ruth's.

Then, we moved to a partially- furnished rental house in town for about 3 months, so we could take a breather... and get our papers in order for a 6 mo visa. A quick introductory phone call to Grace, our attorney in Cuenca, and to the Consulate, to get a list of needed docs, too. We had a mission...once we had plane tickets, the march was on...

We got the taxes done, automated some payments, paid some bills in advance, got banking details done, mailed and dropped off last minute charity stuff, hugged our beloved Boots alot!...and all the last minute errands, shopping, appointments... done. We had lists and more lists... as you can imagine! As we checked off some items, we added more.

We made trips to SF, Sonoma County (where we were married in Bodega Bay, CA) and Portland, OR to get copies of documents, get them translated, notorized and apostilled (google 'Hague Convention' or 'apostille' for more info -- lots of work to get this stage done!) We were able to visit with family and friends in the Bay Area a bit, too. Christmas season in SF was a treat!

Bird's-eye view of Union Square's ice skating rink and the Tree in the lobby of the St Francis Hotel.

Family... Rich and brother Jim...Nancy and her Mom at Spenger's in Berkeley.

We got our travel shots up to date at Public Health and our HIV test there, too, as well as malaria pills (for visits to the lower altitudes, no mosquitoes in Cuenca at 8300 ft)... and we visited the Ecuadorian Consulate in SF to complete the process...

Deciding to leave Mr Boots, the kitty, was one of the hardest and gut-wrenching decisions we had to make. We sure miss him! But, Boots is a country kitty, and we can't imagine him happy in an apt in Cuenca (he was totally miserable in the rental house in town!)... Our best friends, Art and Ruth, agreed to take him in and we are eternally grateful. Boots hunts with Art in the garden, watches the birds and deer, chases lizards, 'helps' Ruth on the computer... the perfect kitty life for him!

Here's the happy-boy supervising Art's gardening chores.

Art and Ruth. Thanks ever so much again for everything!

Deciding what to take is always difficult, but we started to pack... yikes! We had stuff all over the place! What a mess. But, we were glad we had an extra couple rooms at the rental to really lay stuff out and pack/re-pack and pack again...and we had a luggage scale, which made it more aggravating, but helped with estimating weight...

We packed as few clothes as we could... some for cooler weather (we knew the Andes can get chilly, and we've learned to 'layer'), some for the beach and jungle (we plan to visit both later)... Most of the Ecuadorian people are smaller than we are, so we were concerned we wouldn't be able to find our sizes in shops and markets, but have since found you can... and there are expert seamstresses here, too. Good to know as we're getting real tired of our meager wardrobes!
We packed the usual travel, computers, sunscreen, sunglasses, sample-size cosmetics, good walking shoes, our flannel robes/PJ's/slippers and meds...and we ended up packing some paper documents too as our scanner decided to crap out at the last minute (most of the photos and docs were scanned up to the Net earlier...) We also packed some 'throw/giveaway' clothes for the last couple days in SF before the flight...

Rich has our wedding album loaded onto a cd, and we packed that, too, along with some favorite music cd's. We packed our plastic coffee filters and some paper filters... there IS coffee in Ecuador! And, our pepper grinder (who knows why!), Nancy's crochet hook collection got packed, but no yarn ... there IS yarn in Ecuador!

Rich managed to stuff our wool shawls in the luggage, along with handmade wool hats and fingerless gloves... and Nancy placed her favorite little glass 'bluebird of paradise' in a hand-knit wool sock and that made the luggage, along with a couple books for the flight and the first few days...there IS an English languge bookstore in Cuenca!

Nancy even got her alpaca shawl from the Otavalo market (from our first trip last year) into one of the carry-on's. Silly bringing stuff back to Ecuador, but it came in handy on the flight.

A difficult decison for Nancy was what to do with her wedding dress... rather than deciding where to store it (we were trying to get out of OR this time around with no storage costs!), she sent it to a bestest friend in Houston to share with another charity-crafter. The wedding dress will become blessing outfits for little babies in TX (through one of Nancy's favorite USA charities).

Hopefully, the satin and lace can be used to bring some comfort to grieving much better than continuing to store it...thank you, Ladies, for taking this on!

When we got to Quito, we found a Homeland Security message in a couple of our bags... we guess the office stapler and cooking timer prompted them to eye-ball the stuff... must have looked weird on the x-ray machines....or something.
But, nothing seems to be missing...

We also packed a few goodies for Bob and Rox, including Rox's birthday gift.

And, still... we ended up with 5 good-size checked bags, 2 carry-on and Nancy's huge tote!

For pics of our arrival in Cuenca, see Bob/Rox's blog at:
There's an index on the left hand side of the screen.
Besides our news, lots of other good info, too.

Yes, we were over weight limits on both Continental and Aerogal. We just paid the overweight costs (minimal) and managed to get it all on the planes. Whew!
The weight limit on the international flight with Continenal was more than the in-country Aerogal flight... we think we remember paying about $15-30 fee on the Aerogal flight, such a bargain!

You know, some folks decide to ship all their stuff via container... it's a personal decision, but we're so glad we decided not to. Of course, we miss some of the stuff... some of the furniture/rugs would look great in the apt!... but we have found some great new furniture and new treasures here and we're having a ball shopping and discovering and learning the City.

Hope our experiences help others as they too make the move... It's all hard, but can be done! We're glad to be here so all the trouble was worth it!

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