Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Visas Approved

We received notification this morning that our Visa applications have been approved! Brett said he had to submit over 60 pages for our applications and spent nearly 10 hours putting the package together. Everything from pay stubs to marriage license to copies of our college degrees. Now I just need to finish my resume and start looking for jobs in London- anyone looking for a financial analyst?!

We packed up most of our unnecessary kitchen items and sent them home to Cincinnati with Brett's sister during her visit last weekend. The last time I posted I had mentioned that we had to find a one month sublease and move into a new apartment through the end of September. Thankfully we found a pretty cheap apartment, discounted by a woman who had recently purchased a house and was looking for someone to cover the remainder of her lease. 

We will save $500 in rent at the new place, which will virtually pay for our movers. We currently live on the fourth floor of a building with no elevator. It took an hour to get our couch up the stairs, hopefully these movers will be more efficient!
Last week was very reminiscent of fall, cool mornings, warm afternoons and sleeping with the windows open.  I'm beginning to get pretty sad that I won't be here to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. I love lazy October Sundays spent watching football on the couch as the cool breeze blows through the window. Curled up with a blanket and a craft beer doing more sleeping than actually watching the games. I love the orange, red and yellow trees, and every year pick a new favorite tree that I admire and take way to many pictures. They probably have trees in London too, and instead of football they have futbol, but what about my pumpkin spiced lattes or lets not forget thanksgiving!!

Thankfully some of our best friends (he plays professional volleyball and she makes the best crepes in the world) live in Belgium and are only a short train ride away for when we need a taste of home. Or maybe just an excuse to make a pecan pie or sweet potato casserole.

Also, I wonder if our train conductors will be as pleasant as they are in Chicago. I was typing this post while riding the train into work and the train conductor told me he loved me! Well in he actually came on the speakers and said, "Have a wonderful day, I love you too", but I took it personally!

I have a lot of anxiety building in life right now, but am trying to just tackle each item one at a time. Some people like to run, work out or maybe even drink (eek) in order to reduce their anxiety, but for me, cooking is my therapy. Last night my mind was running at 100 mph (or should I say kph) and I just needed to relax and stop thinking about things I have no control over. So with an empty apartment, I spent the next hour and a half making a delicious chicken pot pie, equipped with a homemade cheesy biscuit crust. It was the perfect way to settle my nerves.

What is your favorite fall activity?

What do you do to reduce stress in your life?!

<3 Mary

Friday, August 9, 2013

Paris- Our First Trip Booked


Yesterday, Brett officially booked out first travel destination...

We are headed to Paris for our one-year anniversary! I can't believe it, in just over two months I will be walking the cobble streets of Paris, dinning at little cafes and celebrating an Amazing first year of marriage!!

Brett has been to over 15 cities in Europe due to his college study abroad trip, but I never did one of those trips so all of this travel will be a first for me! Therefore, my first visit to Paris will be to celebrate our first year of marriage, how romantic indeed! The first time in the most romantic city in the world will be spent with a pretty amazing guy, celebrating our wonderful marriage (cough cough, "ok we get you are kind of a spoiled brat")!

We are staying at the Westin Paris, which I have no idea where that is in relation to everything... but I do know that there are views of the Eiffel Tower from some rooms!

Last weekend we went to a quaint little French restaurant a couple blocks from our apartment and it just got me so excited for this trip. We had foie gras, tapenade, freshly baked bread, grilled red snapper, a bottle of red wine and we finished off our dinner with a classic crème brulee!

Although the food was phenomenal, the atmosphere didn't compare to what I imagine actual Paris will be like. It was a cool night, so we sat outside on their side patio. Our evening was frequently interrupted by the casual motorcycle gang, large semi trucks and city buses.

Is it too cliché to expect someone to be singing "Bella Notte" while we dine beneath the stars?

Any recommendations for things to do while in Paris? Or restaurant recommendations?!

On a less exciting note, we officially found out today that we have to move out of our apartment Sept 1st and find a sublease for one month... This is tragic news for us as it will be such a struggle to move twice, and I can barely grasp the magnitude of crap we have to move.

<3 Mary

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Packing our bags

This past weekend, Brett and I started packing our belongings into boxes. We were very meticulous about labeling and categorizing items: boxes that go in storage, boxes with stuff to go to London and giveaways/ charity. 

I went through my closet and took out everything I don't plan to take to London. This was such a liberating feeling, guys! I have been holding onto clothes that are either too young, out of style or just not in good shape for way too long. I think it was because I didn't just want to throw these clothes away, because a lot of them are still nice, and I never forced to sit down and identify the stuff I wouldn't wear again. So I have a gigantic box filled with stuff I'm going to give my sister, or else donate. 

We have another box that we are going to put in storage that is filled with mementos, cards and what Brett likes to call "clutter” that I won't let him throw away. But we have determined that the only things we will be bringing to London are our clothes and a box of kitchen stuff (pans, pots, my Boos Block cutting board, knives). 

Brett has platinum status on American Airlines; therefore we both get two check bags, plus our carry-on for free. We received a relocation bonus, to be used for relocation costs, but we are hoping to save most of that due to me not having a job right when we get there. We thought about shipping a couple of boxes and found out that it would cost $500 to ship two 16x16 boxes less than 30 lbs.!! 

Based on this information we have come to terms with the fact that we are going to have to consolidate our worldly belongings to four checked bags.  Also we are coming home in December to celebrate one of my best friend's weddings, so we will be able to take a couple extra bags with us then (summer clothes, a few pairs of Levis to sell on the black market- apparently a $35 pair of Levis sells for like $100 over there). 

Another item complicating our move is that our families live in Cincinnati while we live in Chicago. Here are a few things that make this complicated:
1. Our lease in Chicago ended July 31st and we are currently working out a deal with our landlord, hoping that he will let us stay in our apartment until September 30th. It is apparently much harder to find tenants to rent Oct 1st than Sept 1st, so our landlord is tempted to kick us out end of August, meaning that we would have to find 1 month of temporary housing! That would also mean that we would have to move everything TWICE! If we lived in the same city as our parents, we could easily move in with them for a few months.
2. We have to figure out a way to get all our stuff to Cincinnati and organize it. We are taking some stuff home this weekend, and Brett's sister is coming up next weekend to take stuff home, but once we get the stuff to Cincinnati, we have to set up a triage center with categories so that things don't get lost/ forgotten!

Phew! Moving to another country is crazy!

But thankfully I will be able to spend this weekend with my family and best friends! You know that girl getting married in December? Her shower is this weekend, and I have been crafting all week preparing for it!

<3 Mary