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When you are getting ready to move half-way around the world, remember this sage advice:

  • Eat, drink and be merry! Start early eating your way through your kitchen cupboards. What on earth am I going to do with all those dried navy beans?! And why do I even HAVE all those dried navy beans?! Obviously, I cannot take food or any open food packages on this move, so I am working my way through all those goodies I stocked up on because they were on sale or because I expected to use them one day. Well, “one day” has arrived and I am now having to be very creative in my cooking. The same applies to the liquor cabinet. I can’t take open bottles, so I just have to drink up and take one for the team. It’s tough but somebody has to do it.
  • Know your account authorization policies. I spent time over the last couple of weeks calling our utilities, service providers, etc. to notify them of our move and to cancel the accounts. Things were going fine until I tried cancelling our Rogers cable TV (serves me right for having cable in the first place). The account is in Paul’s name but I am authorized to make changes to the account. Changes — but not cancel it. They would not cancel our cable TV account without hearing the request from Paul. No, he could not do it online or by email. This meant that I had to arrange for Paul to phone Rogers from Hong Kong to request the cancellation. It’s just cable TV, for heaven’s sake!! For Paul to accommodate this call with a 12-hour time difference and have to pay the long distance charges seemed ridiculous, so I called back to explain the complications and make my request again. No go. They wouldn’t even put me through to a supervisor to take my complaint higher up. I ended up calling Paul on my land line, getting Rogers to call me back on my cell phone, putting both phones on speaker and holding them “face-to-face” so Paul and the agent could speak to each other!! How ridiculous is that?! And you know what they asked him? His birth date and postal code. That was it. If I had known that was all they needed, I would have had a male friend call Rogers, armed with a little basic information. My point here is to make sure that at least two people have authorization on all your accounts, and that you call your service providers to cancel your accounts earlier than you think you need to (in my case, before Paul left the country) in case you run into similar moronic and inflexible policies.
  • Realize that, in some cases, you really are saying “goodbye”. I have been refusing to say goodbye to anyone partly because, in spite of everything, this move still doesn’t quite feel real to me, and partly because I am still here in Ottawa for another month. I know I will be in regular contact with my family, so with them, it’s a matter of assuring them of that. But with some people in my life, it’s different. The other day, I had cocktails with two colleagues who I also consider friends. I realize now that I was rather cavalier when we parted. “Come visit.” “Follow me on my blog.” “It’s easy to stay in touch,” I said. And while all that may be true, the fact is that I likely will not see them again. So while I don’t want to be maudlin, I do think I need to be more realistic in the way I handle certain goodbyes. I need to let my friends know how important they have been to me and how I will always appreciate the relationships we’ve had. And then say “I really do hope our paths will cross again.”