Packing and stacking

When Ben came home 2 weeks ago and told me that we were leaving for NYC in 4 1/2 weeks instead of the original 12 weeks, I went into a mini panic, so to speak. We made a list of all the things he needed to do and what I needed to do. His list was quite long and included things like “cancel utilities”. My list was quite short – it said “pack”.

I have to pack up all our belongings to go into storage for 2 years, except for the things that we can fit into our suitcases, which even though we have 8 pieces of luggage, isn’t very much.

So we’ve seen a lot of this kind of thing recently:

Even Marica has been quite useful (sort of):

She’s been really good at keeping herself entertained too:

And while there is certain satisfaction in seeing good progress in packing, it seems that there is something inherently wrong and desolate about an empty bookcase.

It reminds me of when my parents moved to New Zealand from Namibia and were selling truckloads of stuff and a guy came to my parents and asked if he could buy their bookcases “with the books”. It was intended to go into his office (I think he was a local pastor) and he didn’t care what the books were, he just knew that lots of books on the bookshelf makes you look intelligent and important. :-)

I’m really looking forward to buying books in the States – it’s so much cheaper there. And then we might have to expand our bookcase collection from 4 to 5!

What you notice when you’re going to NYC

It’s amazing what you notice about a place you’ve lived in for ages when you’re planning a trip overseas. For one thing, Christchurch has a lot of center-city apartments — never noticed ’em before, but now they’re everywhere.

And the other night we went out for dinner to Subway. It’s obvious now, of course, but we’d never connected the name of the restaurant to actual subways. And just as we were sitting down we noticed the decor on the walls … images of a old subway map, New York City’s no less:

Why and wherefore

Several people have asked us why we’re heading away, so here’s a brief run-down. We’ve been thinking about a U.S. holiday for a few years now, but then we thought it might make more sense to save up for a U.S. holiday in the U.S.

I (Ben) am a U.S. citizen, so it’s fairly straightforward for me to work over here. But the first step was me finding work. It turns out that Oyster Hotel Reviews saw my CV online shortly after I put it up early this year. Coincidence? Methinks not.

We weren’t looking in New York City by any means, but that’s where Oyster’s based. And Oyster wasn’t necessarily looking for programmers from New Zealand. So we both thought we’d give it a try, and I went over there to work for them for three weeks in March. That went really well, and they somehow convinced us that the Big Apple wasn’t half bad. :-)

The next step was Franci and the kids applying for visas. It turns out that because we were planning to stay two years, and because I’m a citizen, “they” didn’t trust us not to stay, and that would have made Franci and the kids overstayers. Kinda weird logic. So we had to apply for immigration visas — quite a drama, reams of paperwork, and no small cost. But now we’re all in!

So there we are: trying to finish up and pack up here, and flying to NYC in about four weeks. Oyster’s offices are in Manhattan (NY city centre), but it’s likely we’ll live in Brooklyn. It looks like we’ll be in a temporary, furnished apartment for the first month, and we’ll look for a longer-term rental after that. We’ll post photos when we can!