Monday, January 31, 2011

International banking 101

Throughout the moving process I've become very familiar with setting up wire transfers... international accounts, etc. I'm becoming an international banker! Not really... but it's actually not that complicated. If you need to wire money to another country to pay bills, you need to have a physical presence at a local branch of your bank (in my case Wells Fargo). They require IBAN, BIC, beneficiary information, bank information and a physical signature. And they charge $20 for each wire transfer... Since we are moving to Milan and the nearest Wells Fargo branch is in London, this definitely posed a serious question of "how do we access our US funds while we are living in Milano?" without using ATM's and all of the fees associated. Not to mention... having to pay a $20 fee each time we need to pay a bill through a wire transfer.

So, there is a nice alternative that will allow you to wire money once a month to any bank overseas without the $20 fee! Its called a International Personal Banking account. Two weeks after applying they are getting us all hooked up with this account. We will be able to wire money from our accounts here in the US to an account in Milan so we can pay bills. Very handy for those of us moving abroad :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

My life is dictated by a work visa...

So... who knew that moving over to Italy would be so complicated!? As it turns out... there are many more things to consider than we originally thought (and we thought there would be a lot of considerations). Josh originally applied for his work visa (and my family visa) back at the end of September. They originally told us to allow 4-6 weeks for processing... After 8 weeks they told us to allow 10-12... Then after 13 weeks they said he was denied!! Word to the wise, if you apply for a work visa towards the end of the year, it may be denied! No... we aren't ex-cons. Apparently, Italy had already given out its quota of work visas for 2010, so we had to wait until 2011. We originally planned on moving over on January 2nd, and since his visa wasn't ready yet we decided to push back the move date.

It was a GREAT thing that we didn't move over on January 2nd! As it turns out, we can't get our sea shipment with all of our furniture until the visa is ready. It also turns out that without a work visa we can't get cable or internet installed. So, if we did move over on January 2nd, we would have been sitting in an empty apartment (no light fixtures either- but that’s another story), with no internet and no cable. Luckily our air shipment with the Play Station 3 arrived with some games and movies the week that Josh got there. Since we didn't ship a TV he did have to purchase one, but at least now the poor guy has some entertainment while he is over there in our empty apartment!

Our sea shipment left the east coast right around New Years Day (a few days later than planned because of all of the snow storms), so it should be in Italy around Feb 9th. It may take a couple weeks for our furniture to be delivered to our apartment after it arrives because the work visa may not be ready yet. We are now told that it should be ready by the end of January... but I won't hold my breath. In these types of situations I don't do well if there is not a clear answer. Knowing that I'm flying out on a specific day but I don't have a flight booked yet makes me nervous!! I just have to trust that everything will work out and I'll get there eventually. In the meantime, it’s been like a three ring circus!! I'll just have to get used to how things in Italy are done... at a more leisurely pace than here in the States. Now it has been four months since we originally applied for his work visa, and we are still waiting for a clear answer on when it will be ready.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Home is where the heart is...

The final countdown begins! Josh flew out last Saturday and now I'm counting down the days until I can meet him in Milan. Now that he's gone its crazy how many things remind me of him! It goes to show that he's always on my mind. I was scrolling through the tv guide on our cable tonight and saw "Super Troopers" was on one of the movie channels. That is one of his faves (or at least one that always entertains)! He and all of his buddies dressed up for Halloween one year as the Super Troopers and it was hilarious!! I had a good chuckle from this picture taken in 2006... :) I love the stashes!

Good memories! My mom used to have a picture up in her house that said "Home is where the heart is". Now that Josh is over in Milan and I'm stuck in Minneapolis until the middle of Feb (which is painful considering how cold it is!!!), I find myself dreaming of all of the fun things we will do in Milan. It seems that my heart is there with him already. Hopefully the saying is true- home is where your heart is. If so, then going to Milan will be like coming home. Can wait to see you sweetie!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Holy converters!

Josh ordered some converters last week and they arrived yesterday. You should see the piles of boxes with the enormous converters that we need to bring to Milan! There are only a few converters, but I have no idea how we are going to pack them... This will be interesting! Wouldn't it be nice if there was a worldwide uniform outlet plug??

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Its starting!

So... this is mainly a test to make sure that this is working correctly (this is my first time setting up a blog...). Things are definitely in motion as we prepare for our move! We are officially our of our house and the renters have moved in, and Josh is moving this weekend. My relocation date is still TBD, but we are looking at the middle of February. In the meantime, I'm working and staying with family. We are both SO glad that the renovations on our basement are complete, we are done packing and completely moved out! The end of December was a stressful one! Now we can relax and enjoy our time together before moving to Milan. We just booked our first trip from Milan and we're headed to Marrakesh, Morocco! We'll be there for a week! I'm looking forward to all of the adventures that we get to have while living in Italy. Milan is so central to other parts of the world that I'm sure weekend excursions will be a common occurrence! Assuming that the bank accounts can handle it :)