Last weekend I had a small piss-up at home to just have a last get-together there around the lovely fireplace and get rid of at least a little bit of my reasonable alcohol collection. Since it was open already anyway, the drink highlight of the evening was an amazing Karuizawa Multivintage whisky valued at over $2500 at this moment according to whiskybase.com. At 59.1% and a strong flavour I must say it was intense and definitely worth the EUR 300 I originally paid for it a few years ago.
The move is scheduled to start on Monday. In other words: Stress levels are up. Tempers are lost. Nerves are being wrecked. Loose ends are being tied up. It doesn't help that the people in charge of organising the whole international move are messing me about much more than is needed. But yesterday the removals company visited me and I guess things will be fine. But we will see... I don't believe anything until it's done and dusted.
And it had snowed a bit, so the air was fresh and crisp. That also helped. Walking around I realised that I will miss this lovely little old town, with its quirky homes, living among its funky rooftops. It's been a privilege to be able to live in such a beautiful hundreds of years old wooden Swiss old town loft flat.
But now the physical work begins. Tomorrow morning I'm handing in my badge and laptop at work. I've started to pack the luggage I will take to Australia in person, and to dismantle the HIFI systems. There were still a lot of boxes from the previous move left over. They will not be reused for Ocean freight, which needs more professional packing. So that's all sent for recycling now as well.
Now time to get on with the 1001 little tasks that need doing and arranging. Next up: collecting a repaired suit from the seamstress.
With only 4 weeks to go till I move over to Australia, I spent this weekend in The Netherlands. It was the last time for a long time to come, because I have no idea when I will get the chance again to visit the place. So I took this opportunity to see my parents and say goodbye for an undetermined but long amount of time.
By about then the captain came on the intercom and announced that we had just passed some lightning, and that everything was fine. It took a while for my heart to stop racing though. I don't think I've ever been so close to a heart attack.
Apparently there was a big storm above the Amsterdam area, and everyone was trying to land as soon as possible, and no plane was allowed to take off. So even though we had landed safely, we were not able to get to a gate because the airport was packed with planes that could go nowhere. In the end we ended up sitting and waiting in the plane for 2 whole hours. Why they were not able to let a plane waiting for take-off move away from a gate and swap it with us is a mystery to me. But oh well. I made it to my parents place eventually.
Monday early morning it was time to get back to Switzerland again. Despite the plane having some delay, I made it back home and back to work for the final 2 weeks.
Goodbye, Netherlands! See you sometime in the undefined future again!
And now the end of the Swiss adventure, and the start of the Australian, is really getting close. With exactly 1 month to go till my departure, today I deregistered as a Swiss resident.
To do so you have to first go to the 'Residents Office', and report that you are leaving. Then you have to walk across the street to the 'Tax Office' and say that you are leaving. They will get you a bunch of papers for your final tax declaration, and want you to make a deposit just in case you don't pay your tax after you already left. I refused this, and they still let me go. Not that they have a choice. Why wouldn't I pay that ittybitty tax anyway. I'd like to be able to return here for holidays and such! And then you have to walk back across the street to the first mentioned office again to get deliver a document the Tax Office gave you, and to get a document (see picture) that confirms you deregistered. Why on earth they can't just put this stuff at the same desk with the same person...? That's Swiss bureaucracy for you.
Anyway, in the end the final document cost 30 Swiss Franks, and then I was allowed to go.
This was the first time I went to do a snowshoe walk, so I borrowed some gear from two of the friendly group members, and had a load of fun. Definitely something I'd like to do again. It's so amazingly peaceful to be in the quiet snowed under mountains. Much better than hurtling down on some kind of board actually.
There's some pictures to be found overhere.
While there's still a little time left to enjoy this part of the world I went out and about to visit the Bodensee area today. Armed with an iPhone 5s I did manage to make a few photos and a couple videos, because the visit went to the quite photogenic little island Mainau.
The photos can be found overhere, in the very first lookbook.
One prominent building on the island contains a butterfly home, as can be seen in this short video:
At some point it was time for a drink and bite. And funnily enough the birds thought the same, and were quite happy to come inside when nobody was guarding the entrance:
All in all, happy days! Lovely to be out there. And there was one Australian palm tree, so the trip counts as preparation for Australia too. Win!!! ;-)
I just got the UPS notification that my Airdroid Pocketdrone is finally on its way to me! JUST in time for the move to Australia! So I'll be able to take it with me and do some early Melbourne reconnaissance with it! Bloody awesome. So, time to catch up on the rules and regulations regarding flying drones. Luckily, for recreational (non-commercial) use they are not so bad at all. Merely common sense things really:
Stay at least 30 metres away from people with your drone.
Awesome. Can't wait!
Money's a bitch, isn't it?
I've been busy getting my affairs in order, and it's a long journey, but I'm getting somewhere. 2 Months ago my Dutch flat was sold. With a remaining debt, sadly. That's still in the process of being resolved.
Today I got rid of a remaining tax debt.
And I transfered the first funds to Australia, with Transferwise. So I had to update my budgeting Numbers spreadsheet to add the "Australian account" to the ever more complicated list. Netherlands, England, Switzerland, Australia, Wife. Life ain't easy!
But at least all flights have been booked. Last visit to The Netherlands. Last visit to England. Travel to Australia. First visit of wife. We'll be cranking up airmiles :-D
The biggest stress factor in moving countries is the money side of it all. There are bills to cover in the old country, and new ones in the new place. The last salary of the old place comes in and it's unclear when the first salary of the new place will arrive. How much is rent going to be? How high will the security deposit be? How to move any outstanding credit loans across the border? Many questions. Few answers.
There's at least some indicators on the web that life will be at least a tiny bit cheaper down on the other side. The folks over at MoveHub compiled a map of the cost of living around the world. I am currently residing in the most expensive one of them all. Switzerland. Which just boomed even more ahead of the pack with the current dramatic 23% increase in exchange rate. And Australia is at 6th place. Still one of the very most expensive countries to live in, but every little bit helps!
I started my first website back in the summer of 2004. By the name of Wh|te Russian. And while that served me well, come the start of 2007 it was time for change. I had grown dramatically in the previous years, and from my own ashes arose my second website: Stanziliëri.
Stanziliëri in its essence is still my core identity. But still life has taken me on a long journey during those 8 years since then. 8 years... I can hardly believe that it's been that long already. 8 years...
I've moved to and from The Netherlands 3 times since then. Experienced working in India. Married the most beautiful Czech girl you can possibly find, on the holy grounds of Iona. Together climbed the desolate but magnificent ruins of the Great Wall of China. Emigrated to Switzerland. Bought two homes. Sold them again. And am now on the brink of picking up my whole life and move to the other side of the world. To 'down under'. To Australia.
A new adventure awaits. And with a new adventure comes a new website. Stanziliëri renewed. Bring it on!