Captain Super Bucks

Zsolt and I are playing a waiting game. Well, at this very moment we are sitting by the lakeside of Balaton – Zsolt on my Acer with the LCD screen half blacked out, me on his tiny Samsung hoping his patience holds out till this is posted – but we are, despite the appearance of beach bumming, waiting.

What for?

Two things.

Moving to a new country involves so many details, there is the visa, the shipping, the accommodation, the job-hunt, the unsettling upheaval, the anticipation of new things . . . and then there is the money.

Six years ago when we first moved to England, Canadian/UK currency exchange was at about two to one. For each two Canadian dollars you’d get one pound. Not a glorious exchange, but it did suggest that when (if) we ever moved back to Canada our one UK pound would be worth a brilliant two Canadian dollars.

Then the recession hit. Whi8ch still wasn’t all that bad, because we reckoned we’d stay in the UK regardless so no exchange was necessary. Then cancer came knocking.

And so plans changed and – as you know – we’re off to Canada at the end of this month. What money we have (used to have far more before one year of treatment plus Zsolt writing his thesis, but nevertheless I think we’ve still managed to get away with a reasonable chunk of savings. Certainly we could have lost far, far more if we’d been studying/treating in say, the US.) is now worth less than it might have been six years ago.

So now we are watching and waiting. First we need the card reader – a nifty device provided by the banks so that secure transactions can be conducted without coming into the branch. The card reader looks like a calculator. But beyond that I know nothing, because while we’ve order the card reader maybe two weeks ago, it still hasn’t arrived.

Card reader is essential. Without this, we cannot move our money to Canada.

Second we are waiting for the exchange to improve. Unfortunately, the only way the UK exchange with Canadian dollars can improve is if Canada puts out some negative reports on the economy, or if the US goes bizerk. I’d rather neither situation happen since we’re moving there. Cause, seriously, with a strong economy we can earn way more than our current savings . . . but nevertheless we are watching the exchange.

It’s like watching a horse race. With every advance of the exchange we cheers. With every drop we groan. Overall I’m still hoping that Canada stays strong strong strong, but when it comes to watching your money shrink or grow, sometimes it’s hard to look beyond the end of my nose (aka bank account) and into the future of ‘potential earnings’.

Maybe this is a bit boring. It’s actually rather exciting, the freaking exchange is high right now, at least, higher than it’s been all year, but our hands are tied until the card reader arrives. Every morning we’re checking the mail box, and ever afternoon we’re looking at the dollar, the business news, and trying to create some make-shift amateur forecast of what the dollar is doing.

Alternative. The exchange could work in our favour not because Canada is suffering, but because the UK is doing great. That would be nice for everyone, except the Canadian exchange students.

Anyhow, enough about money. Things not to talk about during polite conversation: politics and money. But I figured this blog isn’t always so polite, so it wouldn’t be a problem.

Now, back to the horse race. I am, quite honestly, curious to see what happens.

(And back to the grassy beach. Zsolt said to me the other day: “Anyone who wants more than this is crazy. We’ve got a beautiful view, beautiful water, beautiful weather and here we are together. Can’t get any more perfect.” To which my mind began to image how else our lazing on the beach could be more perfect . . . but you know what, all that other stuff is speculation. In that moment Dr Samson was correct. We’d be crazy to want anything more. We’d be crazy to alter that picture with any wishes or wants. It was, as it is right now, a very lovely time on the beach.)

(PPS. Speaking of Zsolt. He is totally hooked on the game ‘hearts’. That’s good news for my Dad. Finally he’ll have someone willing to play round the table after dinner. Add on the fishing to come, and Zsolt’s like the perfect son-in-law.)

(PPPS. Man, I love it here.)

(PPPPS. I realize the title has almost nothing – or rather, entirely nothing – to do with the post. But I thought it was fun.)

Calculating square footage

Lately Zsolt and I have been calculating the square footage of our lives, or rather, our belongings. I’m  in the bad habit of associating my possessions with my ‘life’, which actually can’t be further from the truth. Yesterday we were watching videos of what’s left in the tsunami ruined areas of Japan – you know, the ones where people pick through the damage and hope to find something salvageable? And I thought, yes it’s stressful to move, but what if it was a choice between your goods or your life? What would sheets, pots, and books matter then? I find it’s a bad habit to tightly associate life with possessions. Because, as we’ve seen, everything can be lost in a moment.

Anyhow, it’s something I’m trying to remember.  I would trade everything except the people I love to be guaranteed absolute health. . . and I bet people suffering from the terror of war and natural disasters would do something similar for a little peace of mind.

So, Zsolt and I were calculating the square footage of our possessions the other day, trying to decide whether we can ship our paintings via a tea box or special carton. A tea box  (apparently standard shipping size) would be less expensive. Therefore, we had to revisit grade nine math. Funny how what used to be so easy eventually becomes so easily forgotten. Thank goodness for Wikipedia providing easy to access formulas.

Anyhow, the painting – without the frame – will fit into the tea carton.

Things are starting to look up in the world of moving. We found a company with reasonable prices, and while I’m suspect of the incredibly good deal they offer, I won’t say no. Don’t say no. Gotta say yes . . . Our plan is to order X number of boxes, fill them up with whatever matters most, and sell/give the rest away.

What matters most? Sentimental things go first: the photos, the fridge decorations, the albums, and Christmas ornaments. Next come the clothes: there’s an entire closet of stuff to pick through, but we have time for purging. After that it’s about the kitchen: my pots and pans, everything else can be left. And finally it’s computer related goodies: games, dvds, the computer, the screen (maybe) . . .

Too bad food cannot be easily shipped into Canada. I’d love to bring home some beautiful paprika and kobasz from Hungary. Oh well.

Step one in the moving adventure: find a company for shipping.


So that’s quite a relief.

Packing my suitacase

Today is meant for packing, except I’m a terrible early packer. Last minute is the best way to roll, but this year Zsolt and I will be moving across the Atlantic at some point (whenever the permit is granted . . .),  meaning now would be a great time to take the essentials: wedding photos, breakables, sentimental items I’d hate to lose. All that good stuff.

With that in mind, I’ve pulled down the suitcases and dusted them off.

So far the following has been packed:

DVDs I’ve borrowed and need to return to my parents

My wedding shall

Fake hair and boob

Post card collection (once belonging to my great grandmother)

Winter sweaters

Miska (our man-jug we bought in Budapest during a snowstorm last Christmas)

Our ‘home’ (a paper collage made during the marriage course)

. . .

But looking around our apartment, I don’t really feel like packing the rest of it. It’s hard to imagine the transfer of objects into a new environment. When we finally sort out the international move and pack all the boxes, I bet about half our stuff, if not more, will be left behind; from outdated magazines to little-worn clothing, books now unwanted, tip collected shelving, food that’ll expire, and even the couch – loved though it is – not being worth the cost of shipping.

It’s weird. The past 4.5 years in England we’ve been building a nest, and once we move that nest will be picked apart. Mind you, we arrived here with only three suitcases between us, so maybe it’s fitting to leave with a similar amount (plus the boxes shipped by boat). Our first night in England (back in our previous apartment) dinner was served directly from the one pot I’d ‘borrowed’ from my mother and we slept on jackets spread across a bare mattress.  We had airline cups and take away cutlery.  I remember feeling so damn proud once we’d finally bought spices and arranged them in the kitchen cupboard.

There is something very sad about moving, yet . . . something wonderful about a new home. Packing this weekend gives just a peek of that transition.

Change is quickly coming – I could do with a little change, so long as it’s awesome. And Canada is awesome.