One year ago today, my husband Gio, son Marcello, and I took a one-way trip on Spirit Airlines (ugh) to Cartagena, Colombia. We were in route to our new city of Barranquilla – a city in which I had never before set even my big toe. The weeks leading up to the move were intense.
We sorted all our worldly belongings into three piles: 1) ship to Colombia (a small pile), 2) store in Atlanta (a bigger pile), and 3) get rid of in some way, shape, or form (the biggest pile).
Getting rid of stuff can be really hard, and I don’t mean just making the decision to do it. I mean actually getting rid of it.
I put items for sale on Craigslist months in advance, gave away baby stuff to pregnant friends, donated piles to Goodwill, held a last-minute yard sale, and finally gave away or trashed the rest. Oh, and our cars – we had to do something with them too, since only new cars can be imported into Colombia. I sold mine to CarMax and Gio turned his over to his dad so that he could finish paying the loan.
And then came the packing. Complicated packing. Packing for placement on a ship in the case of stuff that would go to Colombia (a sad fate was in store for that shipment), and packing for long-term storage for the rest. Oh, and of course suitcases of stuff to get us through the three to five weeks minimum before our shipment would arrive in Barranquilla. Then came interviewing shippers, renting U-Hauls (to get one pile to the warehouse in Miami and another all the way to Atlanta), and renting a car to get ourselves to Atlanta.
Our weekdays were filled with hours-long trips to the Colombian Consulate in Miami, to get our menaje and start the process for other important paperwork. And for at least eight weeks leading up to the move, every weekend was chocked with tape and boxes and sorting and craziness. We never would have made our deadlines — and there were multiple deadlines — without the help of friends and family. Astrid, Quitterie, Juan, Verena, Annie, Bob, Emma, Esperanza and many more (my memory of that time is hazy at best) – there’s no way we could have done it without you.
Oh, and did I mention that we drove to Atlanta and had a wedding in the midst of all this? Yes, that too. Our wedding anniversary was two days ago, July 21st. The event was a wonderful, joyful respite in the midst of the chaos. We hold close to our hearts the family and friends who made such an event possible under our tight timeline. Those few days of rest and celebration meant everything in the exciting but trying (yes, even more so than those days of endless packing) weeks to come.
A year later, we have made it through the transition. We can look back with wonder at how we made the leap, at how we made it through that time. The reasons why we did it have made whatever hardships there were all worth it. This casting video for House Hunters International, made in December 2012 just over four months after our arrival in Barranquilla, somehow does a pretty good job of helping me remember earlier days. (Sorry that the video’s vertical – rookie mistake!)
We revel in gratitude for where we are now, and rest in the knowledge that the adventure has only just begun. Onward.