Emotional SeeSaw Part I

This has been a week of wild emotions. With less than three weeks to go, we have reached the ‘panic’ and high stress stage of the journey. Every day seems grueling and there are too many tasks to possibly be accomplished. Interspersed throughout are lots of social activities as we continue to meet up and have our ‘goodbyes’ with friends. Here’s what went down over the week (Feb 3 – 10):

Scanlon parent and sibling visit Feb 3 – 6th: Everyone came into town for the weekend. We had a chance to chill out and avoid packing; got to eat out at a couple of our favorite restaurants; and spent a lovely afternoon out at the DeYoung Museum. (all good)

Had coffee with a couple we’ve corresponded with from our Yahoo Ex-Pats Group. Scott & Anne are from Seattle and are moving to Dunedin (we’ll practically be neighbors!) and are about 2 weeks ahead of us in their emigration journey. They were in town having their last goodbyes with friends and agreed to meet us for a quick coffee. We commiserated and shared stories about each of our respective year of planning for the move. It was great to meet folks ‘like us’ and I think we all bonded — we’ll be seeing them again once we’re on the other side. We felt rejuvenated and excited about going to NZ after spending time with them (good!)

Bruce’s hard drive crashed and had to be taken to the computer doctor. No word yet on whether data can be recovered (bad)

The truck started to show it’s unhappiness with our leaving by refusing to start a few times. Not clear on whether this is a real problem or just a short-term temperamental one. (bad)

Got one staging bid for the house. For those of you not familiar with this concept, this is a new industry which has emerged in all the major cities with high real estate values. When one is going to sell their home, it apparently pays to have it ‘staged’ by a professional to help buyers visualize how lovely their potentially new home will look. This service is not cheap — to stage our 1500 square foot flat will cost approximately $6,000 for two months. But… the rewards are supposed to far outweigh the cost. The stager walked through each of the rooms with me advising what to change (ie: colors to repaint) and discussed how she would display each room. It all actually sounded lovely and sounded like the ‘home’ I’ve always dreamed of — perfect, clean, no mess, no papers, no books, no clutter. I actually had a little meltdown afterwards and felt really, really sad to be letting go of our flat. (bad)

Hosted a dinner party for four and enjoyed an evening with some good friends (good)

I met another gal from the Ex-Pats list, Ronni, for a quick coffee. Ronni had spent a year and a half abroad (partly in Sydney and partly in Wellington) and was now back. She decided it wasn’t for her and I was keen to talk with her about her experience. The bottom line — all societies no matter where you go have their issues and New Zealand was no exception. My gist from talking with her was that NZ was really too small and too homogenous and too nationalistic without the diversity for her. She experienced a lot of anti-american sentiment and didn’t ever really find her groove. She did pick up a husband along the way though and they are now excited to give it a go back in San Francisco. It was good to get the ‘real’ scoop from someone who’s tried it, and I know it was just one person’s perspective, but I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of unhappiness afterwards — in some small way, I really want New Zealand to be my utopia, but intellectually I know that it’s not and could never be. I had a brief moment of second thoughts and doubts about moving (bad)

We went downtown to set up our currency exchange account with HiFX. They work with emigrants to help facilitate their currency needs from their home country to their new country. We’d gotten some referrals for this firm and decided to go with them since they have an office here in San Francisco and also one in Auckland. This was our second visit to the office and we like the folks with whom we’ll be working (good)

We had a meeting with our TIC lawyer to discuss issues surrounding the potential sale of our flat. You may recall from previous posts that we live in a 3-unit Victorian building of which we own 1/3’ish of the building. Our partners and us all share one giant mortgage — this is called TIC (tenants-in-common) ownership. At one point, we had all agreed to sell our interests in the building which was going to make for a nice clean sale. However one of our partners recently decided not to sell and that has opened up a can of worms and some new potential problems to solve with respect to the others of us who are still planning to sell. Dealing with financial matters, especially when there are large sums involved, amongst partners who are friends can be extremely difficult and emotionally trying and not always easy to reconcile… hence our trip to see the lawyer with the whole group to try and get some answers. The meeting went well enough, but there is a LOT of research and negotiation that needs to occur over the next few weeks before we go and before we put the flat on the market in early March. We were definitely emotionally taxed by the end of the week (bad)

Packing, packing, packing. Oh, and between all the things mentioned above, we managed to tackle the following packing jobs:

  • I cleaned out 20+ planters and gardening pots. I have a few outdoor garden planters that I really like and want to take with me. However, NZ is very, very strict on bringing anything with any soil residue into the country, so I had to really, really scrub out my pots with hot water and run many of them through the dishwasher. This took a couple of hours to accomplish.
  • I packed for Burning Man. I found this to be quite hilarious as those of you who know about Burning Man generally know that one typically ends up packing the NIGHT before going to Burning Man, not seven months in advance. But, since we’re keeping a storage unit with all of our Burning Man gear, there was certainly no reason for me to lug my stuff to NZ only to have to lug it back again this summer, so I went through all my BM clothing and organized it neatly into those giant ziplock bags and packed it into a suitcase. I am ready to go!
  • We drove out to the storage unit and dropped off all the BM gear we had in the house and picked up some stuff that will come with us to NZ. This included the two giant, giant parachutes that are used to cover the geodesic dome which is also coming to NZ. The parachutes were covered in playa dust filth which would be a big no-no for NZIS, so we had to run them through the laundromat and then hang them in the back yard to dry over the course of a couple of days. Fun!
  • We started purging the back mud room of all excess crap that Bruce had acquired from his real estate renovation days. We ended up with four rather large boxes of excess wood and other debris that needed to be disposed of.
  • I managed to spend a bit of time in our other storage room and disassembled the two shelving units and started organizing and packing up the myriad of gear we had shoved in that room.

Spa Day! At the end of the week I elected to use my spa package gift certificate that my wonderful friends gave me as a birthday present last October. I spent the entire day at KamalaSpa down off of Union Square. This place was pure decadence. I had four ‘treatments’ over the course of the day which included a two-hour Shirodhara, a one hour Rice-Milk massage, a one-hour facial, and a 90 minute pedicure. By far, the most decadent was the Shirodhara which is described as follows: “This ancient Ayurvedic treatment has a calming and soothing effect on the nervous system. It consists of a warm dosha balancing oil that is slowly poured on the forehead for 30 minutes, followed by a calming 60 minute massage. The total finishing effect being a relief of tension and stress with nourishment to the scalp and hair. Following this treatment is a 15 minute Sweda Steam and Shower”. Pure indulgence. I had a great day – good for the mind and good for the soul! (most excellent)