|Taken at King's Dominion Amusement Park June 29, 2014|
Whew! We have been in a whirlwind the past few weeks! We just returned from visiting my family in Virginia Beach and Washington, DC, and we head out to Chicago for a wedding in two weeks. We'll only be back in Texas a few days before taking off for good to Hawaii and Shanghai. I know the next few weeks are going to fly by!
We got our typhoid, Hepatitis A, and Tetanus shots at the Tarrant County Health Department Travel Clinic. Of course, I passed out because that's what I do when I get shots. It's not a drama thing; it's an I-can't-help-it thing. My smelling salts! Aside from the passing out, my arms were sore for a few days, so much so that I had trouble sleeping. Thankfully, our boys only needed the typhoid shot since they were current on the other two.
Got our visas!
These just came today, but they are the result of about 6 months of various paperwork and hoops to jump through. Total cost for visas and related expenses/paperwork=$1801. Thankfully, the majority will be reimbursed by my new school. The most difficult part of obtaining a Chinese visa is figuring out how to get each piece of paperwork. Some are easy to figure out (i.e., passport); others are more difficult (i.e., authentication of marriage and children). I am sooo happy to have this huge step completed!
Stocked up on prescription medications!
We are pretty healthy in general, but my husband and son both have asthma and allergies. In order to travel with their inhalers, we have to have written prescriptions with us. We are also stocking up on over-the-counter meds like Tylenol, Advil, and cold medicine. They are available in China, but I've heard that they may not be as effective.
Got our shipping materials!
We are shipping through Seven Seas Worldwide. So far, they have been very easy to use. We simply paid a $295 deposit to get 20 boxes shipped to our door. They also sent inventory sheets, tape, bubble wrap, and a black marker. We are working on packing up now and do not anticipate needing all 20 boxes. They are pretty large and can weigh up to 66 pounds. We are mostly just shipping clothes, shoes, a computer, printer, a Wii, and my kids' Wii games. We will also carry 6 large suitcases with us on our flight to China since our shipped boxes are estimated to take 79 days to get to us.
Over the next 2 weeks, we need to:
Despite all that we have done over the past several months, we still have things that have to happen before we head off into the sunset:
Clear out our apartment. We have a ton of stuff (still!) left, but it is stuff we really had to leave to the very end. Things like mattresses, a sofa, a table, and our TVs. We will give most of our remaining items away to friends and family. It's sad for us because we really love some of these items (like our 61" flatscreen, our washer and dryer, and my boys' practically-new bikes). Oh well, with the exception of the dryer, they have this stuff in China, too. Dryers are tougher to find in China--I cannot imagine why since many US dryers were actually MADE in China. Having a dryer is one of the things I'll miss most about the USA.
Sell our cars. We have two Nissan Sentras, but both are 10 years old. We plan to get an estimate from CarMax, then sell them to friends and family who were interested in the cars based on that estimate. If they decide they are not interested, we can always sell them to CarMax. We have sold to them in the past, and they were efficient and easy to work with. This part should be especially easy since we own both cars free and clear. Both run well and have updated tags, registration, and inspections. No title issues at all--we bought both cars new.
Last haircuts and highlights for me. We will definitely miss our hairstylist, Miss Sally. We've been with her for about seven years now, and she is an absolute genius with my nearly waist-length hair. We do get to see her again next summer, but for now, the search for a stylist in China begins...
New contact lenses. I'll be buying my usual one-year supply, so I shouldn't have to deal with eye exams and all that in China.
Dentist appointments. The boys just went, and I have an appointment next week.
School shoes for my boys. They need black lace-ups for their school uniform. Our school's staff orientation guide recommends we purchase them here since they can be difficult to find in China.
Buy up some grocery store basics. Things like sunscreen, bug spray, solid deodorant, tampons and OTC meds. These are either difficult to find and/or more expensive in China.
Leave for Hawaii! We leave in late-July and will be flying out to Shanghai from there. We are staying on Kona Island for 8 days before heading to Honolulu for 3 days.
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