Baby, We Were Born To Run

January 2013

I realized that not many people have participated in an international move and might be interested in the process. I took some photos and notes and am pasting them here for your edification. And my family’s amusement, I’m sure.

There had already been a couple of months’ worth of effort put into this move, everything from paperwork to/from Switzerland and the NYC Swiss Consulate to getting health certificates for Dante the Cat to changing our address with every known business that sends us important mail. I had also tried to clear the house of as much stuff as I could that we would not be moving, some of it easy to get rid of and some of it… well, it’s still sitting in the garage.

To begin the physical move to Switzerland, a gaggle of workers came to the house to wrap everything up and put it in boxes. They had been scheduled for two days: one to pack and a second day to finish up and put the boxes into a truck. Monday was Day 1.

In anticipation of their arrival I had pre-sorted our stuff into three “piles”: A small pile that would go into our suitcases, a larger pile of items that would be shipped via Air Freight and then the bulk of our goods that would take the Slow Boat to Switzerland. When the guys showed up at 9am I had done most of the work needed. Fortunately for me, they were very accommodating in working around what I hadn’t sorted yet, knowing that they could finish up in the morning. To be clear, we’re moving into a fully furnished apartment, so most of the stuff will stay in storage until we find an apartment of our own.

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The truck

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They spent all day wrapping 3/4s of our stuff in paper and boxes. Labels were affixed (AIR/SEA) and boxes stuffed into all corners of the house. By the time Dan came home it was “organized chaos”. Dan decided to have fun with some of the materials they left behind.

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That night I went through everything that hadn’t been packed and verified which pile it should be in, as well as altering the suitcase pile as I went. There was still a surprising amount of last-minute things to arrange, including washing the last of the dishes so that they could be packed up. When the packing crew came back on Tuesday I was ready for them.

They settled right back into their work and I did my best to stay out of their way. Lunch time came and I went off to run some errands. After picking up a few items I was walking down the street just in time to see the actual shipping truck show up

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My friendly neighbors, keeping an eye on things


What’s this? Nothing, really. Just the driving doing a little checking while he waited.

I assisted the driver in backing the trailer right up to the packers’ truck. The plan would be to use the ramp in the smaller truck to wheel the boxes up, and then just roll them from one truck to the other. Nice planning!


Good thing my neighbor didn’t have to go anywhere.

Box by box, the SEA cartons made their way outside the house and into the truck. It was a 40′ container, but the guy must have been good at Tetris because he managed to fit our stuff within a 20′ space. I guess that it’s always better “safe than sorry” when it comes time to estimating a customer’s needs.


The beginning of the 40′ container packing

Then the AIR cartons came out, but they went into the packers’ truck, where they’d get transferred to a different truck for the airport run. Fortunately, there weren’t many of them. The big boxes are our bicycles, which appear to take up most of the space.

The house was empty and the crew was leaving. It was Tuesday and we weren’t leaving until Thursday night, so I had a lot of time to clean the house in preparation for the new owners.


Signing off on the sealed container


The apparently “famous” Verona garage. The new buyer said that when told people which house he was buying and everyone said “ooh! That’s the house with the big garage!” It’s nice to know that it’s appreciated by more than just ourselves.

And that is the easiest way to move out of the country.

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