If you’ve ever moved, and I’m sure you probably have, you know that it is no fun and a lot of work. Well, all of that just increases when you are moving to another country on another continent. As a child, we only moved once. I had little responsibility then, as I was only eight.
Once I got married (I was eighteen then) it seems I’ve been on the move ever since. I moved six times from ages eighteen until twenty-two and eight times after that before I moved to Italy seven years ago. During the eight times, my work was the reason and they paid for and hired movers to pack, transport, and unpack. That is a great help, but it’s not everything.
Some of the difficult things about moving to another country are finding out the legal requirements to do so. Do you need a visa? What type of visa do you need? What type of documents should you take with you? What will be required of you to stay there? What will you do about a driver’s license? What about health insurance? What about tax responsibility? I don’t recommend that anyone take it lightly. It requires a real desire to move there and a lot of research. Then, once you have the facts, you have to decide if it is all worth it.
For me to move to Morocco, I do not need a visa. Americans can enter without a visa and stay 90 days. Since I am married to a Moroccan, there will be documents to gather to complete my residency there, but in the meantime, it is sufficient to stay 90 days and leave the country (take a ferry to Spain) and return the same day for a new passport stamp.
We had to find someone to move our goods. We didn’t bring furniture or anything that we really need. We plan to rent a furnished apartment and buy household goods. The things we brought are only those things that make a house a home. There are books, artwork, glassware from my grandmother, and clothes. Our lives now fit in 30 boxes. My husband hired a man who does import/export between Italy and Morocco and is a family friend. Otherwise, we could have hired a professional relocation service, paid three times the cost, and received our goods in about three months.
The things that we weren’t taking, we had to sell. “Yard sales” are never fun and never profitable and it is even worse when you live in a place like Italy where apartments are small and people don’t accumulate things. Getting rid of everything turned out to be one of the most difficult parts, right up until midnight the night before we left when we waited for the “quadrofoglio” or Florence’s large trash removal service, to come for a large wall unit that we had bought and couldn’t sell.
We wanted to bring our two cats, and boy is that a fiasco! Pet passports, microchips, vaccinations and health certificates all had to be gathered. That requires an entirely separate blog.
In addition, when you move you have to close accounts, turn off utilities, shut down automatic payments and all types of administrative items. Accomplishing these things in Italy takes several steps for each one. It usually starts with a phone call and ends about a month later when you have to send a registered letter asking them to cut off the service and include copies of your residency card.
We knew that we were moving to Morocco about six months ago. I promptly located an apartment and found our transportation and then we had to wait. Administrative items, packing, and selling things really have to wait until you’re close to the move date.
Friends asked, “What things are you redoing on your last days here? Romantic walks, visiting museums, eating in favorite restaurants?” We had to say no to all of those. Our last two weeks were filled with lots of hard work, stress, and a few shining moments when we had a meal or a drink to say goodbyes to friends.
I’m writing this from the ship and can’t tell you what relief we feel at this moment to be finally on our way. Our new life waits.