Car issues, cranky cats, and crazy schedules: a life update
It has been a hot minute since my last blog and for that, I apologize. Things have literally been so crazy around here that the week flies by before I realize it’s already Thursday night and we haven’t done anything but work. Anyone else feel the same?! Plus, there has been so much happening behind the travel scene that I thought I would spill the details and fill you in on what has been going on lately.
1. Cars are a pain in the butt. Let me re-phrase…moving your car overseas is a pain in the butt. We both love road trips, and when we found out we were moving to Europe, we made the decision to transport our car to Austria. This would give us the ultimate travel freedom and since the countries are all so close together, it made sense to us. Everyone thought we were crazy (spoiler alert: they were right) but we thought that since the car was fully paid for, it would be more cost effective to ship it rather than buy a brand new vehicle. We also have a 2014 VW Jetta TDI (a German vehicle), so we thought that it wouldn’t be as challenging. After doing our research and calling the embassy, we drove to LA at the beginning of July to drop our car off at a transport company. The initial plan was to have the car ready for pickup when we first arrived in Frankfrut (beginning of September), pay the fees, and drive it to Austria. As things have a way of working out (HA), we couldn’t follow through with that plan since Germany was not our car’s final destination and it would be a mountain of paperwork (and heaps of money) for everyone involved. Instead, we had to pay a different company to move the car to our resident state in Austria and do the rest of the heavy lifting ourselves. After waiting for the transport to confirm our car dropoff, it finally arrived in Austria the beginning of October and we had to find a different company to convert the car to EU standards. This led to another hitch in our plan: since our car was part of the VW scandal, the U.S. company wouldn’t give us the required documents needed for the car conversion. Either the VW dealership lied to us before we decided to ship the car, or they were misinformed. Imagine our frustration! Without the documents, the car is useless–it might as well go to a scrap yard for all the good it does. However, we caught a miraculous break–the person helping us with the car pulled (many) strings and was able to get the documents that we needed from the VW dealership in Vienna! This led to the car’s conversion to EU regulations, and the official paper arrived in the mail at the end of October saying that everything was legal. Can we get a hallelujah!!!!!! All that was left was to pay the import tax, register the vehicle, buy license plates, and turn the keys! On November 6, we were finally able to drive our car…4 months and 3 days after shipping it. So, moral of the story: don’t be like us and ship your car to Europe. Suck it up and just buy a new vehicle.
2. Cat diets make for cranky kitties. This past month, I put Zoe on a diet because she was looking a little chunky and she’s been mad at us ever since. Who knew that when you restrict a cat’s food intake the passive aggressive behavior would intensify?! Needless to say, it’s been a little rough to deal with a lack of kitty cuddles and enduring her threatening death glares, but hopefully that stage will end soon. And I thought I had food issues…
3. Work, work, work. I know that everyone has to do this, but ever since moving to Europe things have only become busier at my job. I picked up a new client (yay!), started to work late hours (due to a US clientele base), and continued to add things on my planner. However, despite being insanely busy, I still feel that there is a better quality of life here. While I work upwards of 9 hours a day, I don’t feel as stressed as I used to. This is because I can adjust my schedule a bit more to match the time change, and in doing so, I work a few hours in the morning (then take a coffee break); work a little more (and take a lunch break); work a few more hours (making sure to take time in-between to workout and eat dinner); and finish off my evening with a little more work and a light reading session. It’s not unusual for us to be in bed at 10:30 PM (if you knew us in the States, that is unheard of), but we still get a solid 8 hours of sleep each night and wake up feeling refreshed. I also make sure to take time for myself on the weekends–whether that’s walking downtown and eating gelato or driving for an hour in the Austrian countryside, I make sure to savor that time away from work because mental health is just as important as financial security.
In the midst of all the chaos in our lives, we still pinch ourselves because sometimes this feels like a dream. Plus, we are also planning a few trips over the next month and even though the weather isn’t cooperating, we are still making the most of it by basking in the beauty of late fall/early winter. However, with the cold weather also comes Christmas time and, in Europe, that is code word for Weihnachtsmarkt! This is my first Christmas in Europe (Andy’s already experienced many of them before), and it’s world famous for a reason. Expect lots of Christmas cheer to come your way in the next few weeks! I’m not even sorry about it.
Side note: we are booking a really exciting trip for January! Any guesses where? Hint: it involves a beach and lots of sunshine because the cold sucks and we need some vitamin D.