Countdown: 20 days
Oh. My. Gosh. Less than three weeks before our move to China and I have never been so busy. Despite not having a job the last month (WOO! Summer!), my days have been filled with hour-long phone calls, errands, and family bonding time. I have so many lists of things that we need to buy or do but I feel like they keep growing instead of getting smaller! Since I have never moved out of the state, let alone the country, I am a little worried about forgetting something. Let me tell you what I have been up to and comment below if you have advice for moving out of the country.
OK, so technically China does not have any required vaccinations that Americans must receive to visit. But since we could be living there a while, I thought it best to get the advice of a professional. We decided to book an appointment with Passport Health to find out if any vaccines were necessary before we left. After looking at our vaccination histories, she gave each of us a list of recommended vaccines. After looking over the list, there were a few like Rabies that we knew we didn’t need for our situation. Other vaccines, especially those whose diseases were transferred via mosquitos, we decided to take because we didn’t want anyone to be at risk.
You will be appalled by how much we spent on vaccines, roughly $1000 apiece. Could I have done things differently to save money? Yes. Passport Health does not use insurance and this resulted in avoidable costs. I paid $80 for a Tdap shot instead of $5 by going through my insurance provider. Rookie mistake (you don’t need to purchase vaccines through Passport Health). Not all choices were bad, though. A pair of vaccines weren’t covered by insurance and we managed to find it somewhere else $160 cheaper. My son also had routine vaccinations to get before we left and that added to the number of appointments.
Some would say that these vaccines are unnecessary and they didn’t get them when heading to China. However, I have to take into account that I have a child to be responsible for. The risks of the diseases were far greater than $1000 and so I spent the money. We would definitely be traveling to different parts of Asia and we would probably stay in a few rural areas, as well. If I was traveling alone, I don’t know if I would have taken these extra precautions. We took all of this into account and I suggest others do the same for their situations.
My baby Hades is my first dog! Sure I had dogs as a kid, but this was the first dog I had personally adopted and he has been my love the past 5 years. My husband even jokes that he imitates my emotions. When I began looking for an international job, I knew that it meant we might not be able to take him with us. But I held out hope that I could have my cake and eat it too. Some schools I talked to said that other teachers brought their dogs and it wasn’t an issue. After getting my job, I found that bringing Hades would be impossible because of China’s size and quarantine restrictions.
We had someone offer to take him for the year and it was all going great, but then they had to back out 50 days before the move. Cue freaking out. I love this dog and I never imagined that I might have to give him up. It was a painful week guiltily asking friends and families if they could take in my baby. Understandably, no one had the ability to take in our 60 lb pitbull mix (a lot of breed restrictions in Arizona housing). My husband eventually suggested making him a rehoming profile on the internet and it broke my heart. Thank god, the heavens opened and dropped the angels that are Josh and his wife Amber. Josh is a former coworker of Korey’s and has fostered dogs before. We took them up on their offer immediately and now my boy has a home away from home!! I feel better knowing he is with an amazing home and we will get to see him during the summers.
I almost didn’t want to post this part of the journey because I knew it is not the fun and exciting parts people are looking to read. Also, a small part of me doesn’t want to be judged for moving away from a beloved pet either (full disclosure). This part of the journey was stressful, emotional, and made me momentarily wonder if I could go through with this move. I am sure other expats feel the same when leaving behind elderly family members, troubled siblings, or other loved ones. I could have kept quiet and not say anything, but I didn’t want to lie and make it seem like all decisions were easy and everything just fell into place. All big decisions come with consequences and mine are no exception. I love my boy and I know that he will be happy with this amazing family and that is all I can ask for until we come back.
This part is the best and most time-consuming! As the weeks grow fewer, nearly ever weekend is filled with family dinners and weekdays are booked with friends. There have been trips with family, sleepovers with friends and cousins, and our Fourth of July weekend to Prescott to see my side of the family once more before the move. This part is definitely the hardest, because I know that this Friday will be the last time I see my mom until she comes to China in March/April. She will be out of the state the week before we go and I have few opportunities to see her before then. Our phone calls have quadrupled though, so we are good.
Our Prescott trip was filled with shopping for necessities before China and planning her trip to visit me. She is coming with my sister Cortney during our Spring Break to see where I live and maybe head to another country while on that side of the planet. Neither her or I have been to Asia before and we are excited to see everything. I can’t wait for her and other family members to come and visit us! I get to play hostess!
FEDERAL TRAVEL IDENTIFICATION
In Arizona, there was a lot of talk about the new travel ID that will be needed for travel via airplane. After looking into it, it turned out that this ID wasn’t going to be needed until October 1st, 2020 and a US Passport is also an acceptable form of identification. Still, we decided to get the identification before we left the country and I am satisfied in doing so. It wasn’t difficult to get, you just have to get the required paperwork and go down to the local DMV. The process was less than 30 minutes and the fee was roughly $25. I think it was definitely a good idea to do it before we leave because they mail the ID to the address on your license and they also need a bill or official paperwork with that address on it. Now we don’t have to worry about the identification during international travel and it is good for the next 8 years. You know is a valid travel ID if there is a big gold star in the right corner.
If you read my last post, you know that my Mac cracked on the way back home from LA. I had to shell out $100, but my screen was fixed completely and they replaced the keyboard because a few keys were stuck. Yay Apple Care! It is like I have a new computer! I also spent some more $$ to buy an amazingly durable computer case and an adapter that would work with Chinese electric outlets. I wish I could say that was it, but I had to go through an elaborate process to get my current Samsung phone unlocked. After that, we also had to buy a new cell phone because my husband’s phone is so cracked it isn’t worth bringing. My poor wallet 😦
I have many more chores including cancelling services, planning lessons, moving out of the apartment, selling all of our possessions, etc. We also have Calvin’s massive 11th birthday party coming up about 4 days before we leave. His entire family will be there and it promises to be an exciting event. I will probably tell you about it in one more post before we finally move and I will definitely post about our first few days after we get there. We hope you follow us to see our adventures in China! 20 days!