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Our wedding anniversary, Thanksgiving, my birthday, farewell parties, ..... we have lots of reasons to celebrate.

medium_turkey.jpgAt home we cooked a 14 pound turkey with apple-raisin stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, deviled eggs, a pumpkin pie and a cherry-cheese cake. Enough for eight people to enjoy.

At work I ordered a buffet for about 60 colleagues. Our cook and his team did an excellent job, like always. 


Cut the Binding Ties

Do you know, how many contracts, memberships, and other ties you accumulate over the years? You'll find out, when you move. All these organisations and companies and people need to be notified of your address change, unless you want to end that relationship - in which case you have to cancel early enough.

I sent cancellation letters to TV/radio company, phone company, internet service provider, electric company, house insurance, liability insurance, sports club, automobile club, cell phone company and one of my credit cards. Change of address notifications will go to four different banks, my tenant in the rental apartment (which I'll keep for now), the post office and (of course) my brothers and sister, my parents, a few friends, some of my colleagues.

medium_phone.2.jpgMy phone company actually wanted the telephone back, which I had rented from them for €1.07 a month since November 1987. I was tempted to buy it, but then, I couldn't use it in the USA.


Decided on a Relocator

I had four different relocation companies look at our stuff and make an offer for moving it. They all agreed on the size of container we would need: a big 40-foot overseas shipping container. But their prices varied from €8,500 all the way up to €11,000 for the same job.

Needless to say, we picked the cheapest one - who also seemed to be the most experienced and professional. There's a lot of international customs rules and laws involved, which doesn't make it any easier. And then we will be without our things for up to two months.

What are we taking? We take everything! Except the kitchen, the washer and dryer, the car. Everything else will be shipped to Indiana. About 150 big boxes full of clothes, books, dishes, CDs. And then all our furniture, big closets, chests, couch, tables and chairs, the beds and matresses, our three computers, even TV and VCR and DVD player (so we can watch our German videos). All electric appliances will need a power converter in the USA.

This is our relocator: Herlitz GmbH


Sold my Home

Our biggest, maybe our only, asset is the place we live in. My 780 squ. ft., two bedroom, split level apartment/condo with a nice finished basement and a tiny piece of backyard, conveniently located close to a subway station on the outer edge of Munich. I wanted to sell that, so that we would have a nice amount of money available to pay off part of our debt, pay for our move, live on until we find jobs - and maybe even have enough for a down payment on our new home in Indiana.

I picked a realtor out of the yellow pages. Very lucky pick! They worked fast and efficiently. We had several people look at our place within two or three weeks, after just one ad on the web and two ads in local papers. A very nice young couple was so enthused with the location, the apartment, the price and everything, that they sounded like they wanted to move in right away.  medium_cj.2.jpg

On October 6th 2005 we had an appointment at the notary's office. Signed the sale contract. I will receive €203,000 for my apartment - which had cost only €160,000 when I bought it in 1987. The bank will take €97,000 out of it, to pay back the remaining mortgage. Which leaves us with €106,000 to start with. And at least €80,000 will be available after I pay back some of my most ugly loans (the ones with 15% interest rate). 


Tell the boss *I quit*

How many times have you thought to yourself *one more thing like this, and I'll quit*? And then you stay in your job, because it's convenient, because it's not that bad, because you have to work somewhere,..... With my new immigrant visa in my passport, there was nothing to stop me now.

On August 30th 2005, after coming back from my summer vacation, I had my weekly meeting with the team leader. And I just couldn't wait any longer - even though, according to my contract, I could have waited until September 30th to tell the company: I quit. I'm leaving this company, this town, this country, and even this continent.

I was surprised to find out, that (with maybe two or three exceptions) nobody at my company had expected that. Even though I had told everybody about the financial hardships we were facing, because of Tom being unemployed and our family being spread out over two continents, and my divorce being very expensive. Some of my colleagues had even suggested *why don't you just move to America*. Probably nobody thought I would have the guts to actually do this, at my age.