We've officially gone into singe-digit territory with 7 weeks to go until we touch down in India! This week in NJ we are getting ready for the holiday season which, in our house, starts with Thanksgiving Day this Thursday. Historically, we celebrate by cooking and consuming mass quantities of food, reflecting on all that we have had to be thankful for in the year, then retreating to any location which will be conducive to lounging in a sybaritic, bloated state. It will be interesting to see whether or not I aspire to recreate this holiday in India. I'm not making any predictions, though I think by November I'll start pining for turkey. We'll see!
This year we're hosting my parents, Marc's parents, his brothers, and their significant others. I started prepping yesterday by baking pumpkin and apple pies and after work today I switched gears t in full-on Turkey Day mode! We have a lot of cleaning, cooking, and prepping to do between the two of us, but it's all worth it. I'm really looking forward to spending this holiday with them and can't wait to feast!
As far as relocation updates go, this week we sent our Employment (E) and Entry/Dependent (X) visa applications to BLS for processing and tried to demystify the process of getting Stella into India with us. Once the visas come back to us, we'll book our plane tickets, get Stella's preliminary paperwork, and set a date for the packers to come and load everything into the ocean container.
Finding information on taking Stella to India has been like searching for a needle in a haystack. I had to weed through horror stories of lost and dead pets, years-old information which has since become irrelevant, and discussion groups which were rife with interpersonal bickering, only to end up as confused and as lost as when I began. There is so much stuff on the internet and, as we learned, the regulations regarding pet import change quite often. We ended up calling a bunch of pet relocation companies and piecing together recent blog postings from other expat sites to get information on the paperwork required. We can't afford to have her relocated by a company (the estimates were above $3000), so we're going to do it by ourselves. Once I'm confident we've got everything we need, I'll write a post on it. In the meantime, I'm just going to stay overwhelmed on my own ;-)
One thing we are sure of is that we're flying Lufthansa. They're pet-friendly and Stella will be on our flight as Excess/Accompanied Baggage. Originally we wanted her to be on the plane, but the crate regulations are too small for her. We'll have a connecting flight in Frankfurt, where airline staff will take her to the pet hotel so she can recharge before boarding for the second flight to Mumbai. Hopefully, everything will go smoothly.
So now, we're just waiting on the visas. After that, we're official, and can start getting all the wheels in motion for the relocation. In the meantime, there's a turkey leg with my name on it!