Generic Works Sometimes

If your are not concerned with politics, you will be if you ever decide to move to a foreign country.

Republic, democracy, social medicine, border control–it matters when you think about crossing the border for any length of time. My mother called this morning to say a U.S. government shutdown could affect getting a VISA (but I think that is for incoming visitors to the U.S.). I won’t comment on Republic vs. democracy, but I will say there is plenty of bureaucracy when trying to get into another country.

Healthcare is the issue that most concerns me; not from a political perspective, but from a practical one: I need it.

France, of course, has socialized medicine. And whether Americans agree or not is irrelevant to me at this juncture. It may work in my favor. I opted not to get international insurance because the deductibles are so high it doesn’t make sense. Especially after I read that healthcare, even without insurance, is less expensive in France than in the States.

So how do you get your prescriptions filled when you are spending 3 months in another country? You thank God for generic drugs and ask for a 90-day supply before you go. And I always ask for an emergency antibiotic to carry with me, just in case.

It’s just another one of those details.

The Little Things Count

It’s the little things that stump me. Yes, I’m relieved to have the house packed up (mostly). The boxes are in the storage unit. Only my clothes left to sort. But what should I do with the cords and cables to various electronic devices that I collected from numerous hiding places around the house? Or those magazines I saved? And what about the tall vase that won’t fit in a box? Store it? why? Will I ship it? Probably not. It’s too nice to trash. Not worth the time and trouble to sell it on Craigslist. So what, then?

Usually when I move, I throw those extra odd items in the back seat of the car and transport them casually to their new home. But the car isn’t going to France. I’ve moved many times–several times across country. But even then, the odds and ends went into the back seat. Now there’s no back seat. And space is premium, or rather the money it would cost to ship it is premium.

Relocating across the ocean brings up a new moving problem: everything must have a place, plan or purpose. Every item must be carefully considered. Will it fit in a suitcase? And if so, will it occupy a space that a more important item should fill? Can it be shipped? Is it too heavy? Is it worth it?

The best solution I’ve found for making some questionable items disappear is to bestow gifts on my friends. My musical friend gets the song books. The guitar goes to her husband. My roommate gets the piano. (Yes, there is a theme here; and yes, the frenchman is a musician, too). Today, another friend took the 200-lb treadle pottery wheel because her father collects antiques. And what would I have done with it otherwise? I’m not sure there’s a category on Craigslist for over-sized, antique pottery wheel.


By this time next week I will report that the house is packed and empty. Right now, boxes are stacked in every room; a friend is coming Saturday to move them, and then I will have a major hurdle behind me.

The computer is on its way from Apple. The Vital Records office delivered my birth certificate (an important document when moving abroad). Power of Attorney docs are ready to be signed and notarized. The strike-throughs on my list are growing.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ocean, my little frenchman is waiting, not so patiently. For both of us the near future is surreal. After two years of long online conversations and brief visits, we will spend every day together. He’s planning a party in my honor to introduce me to all the friends and family I haven’t yet met. It’s cute, really. He’s so proud to be bringing his American love to France, he really wants to show me off. And I’m anxious to meet them all; but more anxious to see him.