Thursday, October 08, 2009

What all is involved . . .

Just in case you are wondering what all is involved in packing up your life as you know it and moving to Africa - here are some of the highlights . . .

Getting wills, power of attorneys and living wills done. (Thank you Thank you Neal Boortz for getting us a $10 per item discount by entering "Boortz" at check out.

Why a power of attorney? Someone has to be the go-to person here in the States for any banking, legal or tax issues that might arise while we are gone.

Insurance - there is a long conversation coming up with our insurance agency regarding just about every department in the company: life, home and auto. Get 'em all on the line.

Make 2 copies of above documents PLUS passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, social security cards and immunization records for all 5 of us. We are leaving originals with one family member, one copy with another family member and another set of copies is going with us.

Changing mail officially to our "permanent U.S. address" which will be Rhett's brother. They can then sort through all of our mail and send us anything personal or important. Including my Christmas cards. I love opening my Christmas cards.

Opening a Capital One credit card that does not charge any "international fees" and opening a Capital One checking account that does not charge international ATM fees. This will save us a lot of money over the years. Details in this article.

Making lots of final hour doctor's visits. I think we have 7 between now and our departure date.

Order two years of contacts for each of us. $$$

Get vaccines necessary for us and the kids. $$$$ (this requires 3 separate visits to the travel clinic and several to the pediatrician)

Shopping consignment and off season sales for the next size clothes and shoes for the kids. I figure this will give me some time before I have to brave the open air markets to buy clothes for them. Hopefully by then I will be a little more culturally confident and have few friends who can go with me. I hear we can find crocs in Kenya. Sweet.

Upgrade to Medjet Expatriate. We have had Medjet for years and feel great knowing that a jet from Birmingham will come get us if we get sick and take care of us. Priceless.

Buy extra electronic things we might need: flash drives, portable hard drives, CDs, camera and computer accessories that will be difficult to find or expensive there.

Make "love books" for the kids with pictures of them with all of our loved ones and of them doing fun things with them. I also included pictures of our house and things like school, ballet, the park etc. so they can remember those sorts of things.

Enlarge pictures and mount on foam board. I decided to do this because I love being surrounded by beautiful pictures of our kids and family. Framed pictures would be prohibitive due to the weight of the frames to transport so I came up with this idea. Mpix will print enlargements and mount them on foam board. I can them fix them on the wall with adhesive or sit them on plate stands in our new house. Great way to decorate and keep family members and memories in our life and mind. I got my order today and they are fantastic. I had previously gotten some done at Wolf Camera and the quality was pitiful compared to Mpix. Highly recommend them for prints.

Order duffle bags from This is the best price I could find on big bags. This is a better use of our weight limit since the bags are so lightweight compared to suitcases. Buy 2 get 1 free.

Order Rubbermaid Action Packers from Other places have slightly lower prices but one place wanted $80 for shipping 4 containers. I got FREE super saver shipping with amazon so I got a great deal. These will be for packing items that could be damaged in a suitcase or duffle bag . . . printer, pictures, household items, books etc.

Closing various accounts, setting up turning off our utilities.

Get AAA International Driver's Licenses. We've been told these can come in handy for a variety of reasons.

Getting change of address post cards made from We will send these out to people with our Kenya address and U.S. address when we leave so people don't drop us off their mailing lists (remember how much I love my Christmas cards!). I also got some business cards printed with our information that are handy to pass out quickly when we meet someone who is interested in what we are doing.

Getting an accountant here in the U.S who can handle our taxes for us. Turbo Tax won't cut it this year.

I will do another post on the actual packing process. This list has worn me out and made me start biting my nails again from stress.


The Frazier Family said...

Hi Megan,

I have to admit I've been... ahem... blog stalking you for a few months. We are headed to RVA in June, and so we have found a few blogs to gain some insight from. Thanks for sharing all your preparations and pictures, it has been fun, and congratulations on the newest addition! I have to say this list puts me into a bit of a panic, but it is wonderful... I think I'll print it for a few months from now... keep 'em coming!

Anyway, I figured I should stay silent no more, and I hope we get to meet you in Kenya! We'll be praying for your transition!

Heather Frazier

Family said...

The descriptions of all the things to be done brings to mind the large wall of lists we had up in our house while packing to go to Kenya...lots and lots to do!
I will pray for this time of preperation for your family.
God Bless,

Katharine said...

Have you ordered the contacts? We could help with that! praying for you, k

Julie said...

I'm tired just from READING this post! This is such an exciting time. We can't wait to read your updates from Kenya! We will be praying for you!

jj said...

Oh, that list! So, thankful we are past that point, and you will be too, soon! Although, I'm not sure if we completed quite everything you have down. We did not get great instructions about our visa's so we came without marriage license, birth certificates (no families have been exactly where we are before) and it has been a big hassle. Also, with our marriage license, we were supposed to have it documented at the embassy in the states (which they did not tell us until after it arrived here) so just double check on all that. I'm sure Africa is different. I was in over my head doing everything with just 2 kids so I know you must be overwhelmed at times! Sounds like a blessing with your new housing. We are on a campus so no children here which is hard to not have playdates anymore. I'm wondering if Mallie will be able to get along with kids well when we return. Anyway, I didn't mean to comment this long but we are thinking about you from over here and I know you are very excited!

Stephanie said...

wow!! i am overwhelmed for you... i can't imagine how you feel?!!?!? when i talk casey into starting our own orphanage in Guatemala, i will call you!!! praying always!!! love your family!!

Sarah said...

Oh, I remember those days so well! And everything DOES eventually get done and you DO get on an airplane and you DO actually end up living in Africa. And it is all wonderfully worth it! Can't wait to hear your stories!