By templedf on Oct 10, 2005
I am now officially an American again. You may have noticed that I haven't posted in about a month. That's because I've been up to my elbows in moving to California. Let me tell you, intercontinental moves are expensive, not to mention a pain in the butt. I went in so many circles trying to get some verdammt movers lined up, I didn't think it was ever going to happen. In the end, my stuff didn't get picked up until the week after I left for the US. Thankfully we had the apartment rented through the end of the month.
I was really surprised at how hard it was to get a quote for movers from Regensburg, Germany to Menlo Park, CA that wasn't outrageous. We had about a two-bedroom apartment's worth of stuff. (Technically, we had a three-bedroom apartment, but there wasn't all that much in it.) Most of the quotes we got were upwards of 6500 Euros, or about $7800! We had one great quote, though. It was $5000 for a full 20' container, but without movers to load or unload it. The company is APX. The only problem was that the agent with whom I was working was a flaming idiot. This person would tell me anything I wanted to hear, regardless of how nonsensical it was. In the end, APX booked my move for a day which was more than a week earlier than they actually could, and the original quote turned out to be about $2000 below reality. In a last, desperate attempt to get our stuff moved before I had to pay another month's rent, I managed to find a moving company in Regensburg who could offer a reasonable quote. In the end, they did the move for about 5400 EUR, or $6600. Not exactly ideal, but certainly better than the alternatives, and at least slightly cheaper than throwing everything away and starting over in California.
After I finished a 1-week packing marathon in Germany, my wife and I flew to California to find a place to rent. The real estate market moves so fast out here that no one wanted to talked to us while we were still in Germany. The first day we arrived, we wandered into an open house and met a fabulous agent. Before we got back to the hotel room, Arti had found us a nice, well-priced rental within two miles of the office! Since we had a rental in hand, we decided to look around a little at houses for sale as well. Two days later, we found a house we wanted. Two days after that, we put in a bid. The next day the sellers accepted our bid. This Friday we close on it. This has got to be the fastest real estate transaction in history. I will have gone from having nothing to owning a home within three weeks of (re)entering the country.
After we put the house under contract, my wife and I flew back to Atlanta to pack up the remaining things we had left with her mother, the stuff that we didn't take with us to Germany. It's amazing how one can forget what one owns. I expected some furniture and thirty to fourty boxes, maximum. A solid week of packing and one hundred twenty-five boxes later, we still have a little more to get packed before the movers come! Where did all this junk come from? Now we have to figure out how to get all that stuff from Atlanta to California without paying an arm and a leg. We're kicking around the idea of renting a truck and doing it ourselves. The big downside to that is it's around a 2500-mile trip (4000km, farther than from Lisbon to Moscow!). With a rental truck with an auto trailer, that's 50-ish hours of driving. Gah! The alternative is to spend a few thousand more dollars on movers. This moving stuff sucks!
We're back in California now. Today was my first day of work at the new office. I had to go through the new hire orientation, even though I've been with Sun for over 8 years. It was a little strange, but not completely useless. If I can just get through the international bureaucracy around trying to get assigned an office and a phone extension, this move might just turn out to be a good thing.