T-Minus 2 Months

Black Sand

We’re just under 2 months away from the big move to Iceland. The last five have gone by so quickly, but we’ve also managed to do a lot of planning in that time. We hired a lawyer in Iceland to help make sure we’re doing everything properly. That’s been quite a stress relief. We also have contracted with an international shipping company to handle getting a container of our stuff across the sea. We’re not moving everything, though, so that means we also have another moving company contracted to help us with the packing and loading, and to take the remainder of our things down to Charlotte where we’ll store them close by my wife’s family. Our thinking is that when we come to visit we’ll be able to get at that stuff if we need to, or they can do it on our behalf in a pinch.

My son finishes school and I finish my last day in the office on June 14th. After that we’ve got a handful of days to get prepped to pack, pack everything into boxes, merge the contents of our storage unit back into the apartment, move everything going to Iceland onto a container that will travel there via Maine, load the rest onto a moving truck headed to Charlotte (and secure storage in Charlotte), trade in my wife’s lease to the local dealership, sell my car to a friend, rent a car and drive to North Carolina to say goodbyes to my parents and my wife’s family, board a plane in Charlotte and fly to Iceland via Boston. Whew!

Once we arrive we will trade one rush for another. We’ll have started our application for residency online just before we fly there, and after arriving we’ll have to follow up with an in-person visit to the Residency Office to provide the rest of our documents in paper form. I’m still waiting on a few things from both the Pennsylvania State Department (apostilles) and Italy (paper copies of birth and marriage certs). We’ll need to prove we have health insurance coverage for the next 6 months (thanks Cigna) and that we can support ourselves financially (thanks, house sale) and we’ll need to get some health screenings too. That should be it, though, for my residency application, and my son’s.

But that’s not all! My wife is still coming over as a US citizen, not an Italian one, so her immigration is contingent on my residency. Once my part is done we’ll handle hers with more paperwork fun. Also, I should be getting a kennitala (Icelandic social security number) somewhere along the way. With that number I’ll be able to open a local bank account and, most importantly, rent an apartment.

You see, we only have a place to stay for the month of July! Eek! We got a super expensive airbnb rental in the heart of the city for the month and I’m hopeful that it’ll be long enough for us to get through the rush of paperwork and find a long term rental. If not, we have an emergency fallback through housing that our lawyer can help us with, but I really hope it doesn’t come to that.

We don’t know the timing on the shipping of our goods yet, so I’m not sure when that container will arrive at customs or whether we’ll need to be there in person to greet it. And we still need to arrange delivery of the container to our apartment or storage temporarily until we find an apartment.

Then, after we have a place to live and stuff upon which to sleep, we’ll need to figure out my son’s school situation. He’ll be going to public school in the municipality where we move, likely Kópavogur. What are the rules for that, processes, forms, etc? No idea.

My mom laughs about all this work we’re doing. She watches House Hunters International and sees people that just up-and-move to another country. It looks so easy. Similarly, there’s the old chorus of people who chant at protesting crowds, “if you don’t like it, move to another country!” I seriously wish it were so easy to just do it like that. If I didn’t have Italian citizenship already, this process would become incredibly more difficult.

As it is, we’re in pretty good shape with just a few boxes left to check and fees to pay. I won’t lie; this is expensive. Physical moving of “stuff” alone is going to cost over $15k with all the parts considered. Add in airfare, a month-long Airbnb in Reykjavík in July, and so on… yeah, it’s not cheap. Thanks again, house sale!