Hey everyone! I thought I'd do a little blog post and update on our Italian adventure. I know most of you aren't military or familiar with military (OCONUS) overseas moves, so I thought I'd give you a little peek into our crazy world right now.
The very first thing we did was get our health screening done. This is basically Army’s way of making sure that you have adequate health care where you are located if you need specialists or long-term care.
And it's a LOT of paperwork.
Well, we didn't have any orders. At all. For a long time. We waited, and waited, and waited, and waited.
We needed to do orders in order to do anything else for this PCS. PCS is another military acronym. It means permanent change of station.
In the interim we were assigned a sponsor. This is when you are assigned a soldier who is already in Italy. He assists us with the move/transition and any issues we might have. Our sponsor is a dear friend of ours from our time with the Ranger Regiment at Ft. Benning. We are so excited and blessed to have them helping us.
While we were waiting for our orders, I started cleaning and downsizing and purging. Italy has smaller quarters, lack of closet space and the voltage there is 220 vs. 110 here.
We also had our passport photos taken while we were waiting. We ended up having Sadie's retaken due to the hair in her face. We made sure to take a headband. 🙂
Finally we got our orders but here's a fun tidbit. At first we weren't assigned to travel with J.
The Army was saying that we could join him once he found quarters for us. We are expecting that to take a couple of months.
Let's just say that we got that changed. Pretty sure me traveling to Italy with 4 kids by myself isn't even possible.
Sidenote: Included in this time period was a super awesome incident where I realized I didn't have a birth certificate to submit for my passport.
Luckily I have a wonderful mama who drove to Austin that day, waited in line, and overnighted the BC to me. LOVE her.
Next we had our yard sale.
Here's how the shipping process works. This Monday they will come pick up our unaccompanied shipment.This is pretty much and "express" shipment of things you will need if you get a house early and need things to tide you over until your HHG (household goods) arrive.
I honestly don't see the point of this. We are planning to still be in the hotel when this shipment would arrive. We've heard multiple people say "take your time finding a house. you don't want to be stuck somewhere you don't love".
But just in case we are putting these things in our unaccompanied baggage on Monday: linens,silverware,pots/pans,towels,toys,books,crock pot (220 v),kids bikes,a few crafting items,laundry basket.
There are other, better ideas to get the things we need early (and actually to be able to access them):
shipping things to weeks in advance to our overseas po box/address (which we already have).
taking the maximum free baggage on our overseas flight (with orders this is around four bags/boxes per person…which is twenty four bags for us…OMG).
1.HHG (household goods)- basically everything else in our house. They are coming to take this the week of june 17-21.
2.Storage- anything we do not want to take with us. We will be using this for our washer/dryer, refrigerator,china,large tools, tool chest, random storage.
The exception to this is all of my scrapbooks. I plan on leaving them with family in the states. I just can't chance it any other way.
A few random details.
1. We will be flying into Marco Polo airport in Venice.
2. Shipping our vehicle (they ship one, we are selling Jimmy's) has turned out to be a huge PITA. It's amazing the amount of paperwork/authorization it takes. Getting a note from Honda Financial (since we are still paying the van off) has been a long process too. J will drive the van to New Jersey to get it shipped. It has to be detailed, have 1/4 or less tank of gas, and he has to have seven copies of our orders. I had no idea it was so complicated!
3. I made sure to get an International Driver's License until I can get my Italian Driver's License. You get one at AAA for 15 dollars. All you need is a valid US driver's license.
I feel like the packing/seperating part of this move is going to cause me to lose my mind. Here's why.
things to send to our po box
things to take in our luggage.
My mom is flying in Wednesday the 19th. She is flying back to TX on Saturday the 22nd with the big girls. This will give them some special time in Waco, and also two less kiddos for us to drive to TX on our roadtrip.
So I also have to pack for that.
Lastly, we will be spending several weeks in TX before we head to Italy. I must pack for that.
The other thing making my brain explode is the logistics of getting our car ships. We have to rent a car to get to Tx. What about the car seats? Do we ship them in the van and rent them with the vehicle to get to TX? What will we use when we get there?
I think I'm slowly going insane.
I have to remind myself that this is what is waiting for us once we make it there.
I haven't even mentioned the learning a new language thing. No worries.
I know these words.
vorrei prenotare un tavolo per sei persone (i'd like to reserve a table for six people).
What more do I need?