As I sit here in Heathrow for my five hour layover, I remembered that my aunt asked me to post about the annoying bits of moving to another country. Now I can’t complain too much because… well.. I’m moving to another country. But here are a few unknowns that I realized along the way.
Prescriptions: These things were the death of me. Who knew getting an 11 month supply would be such a colossal hassle? For those of you who are like me, and had no clue, I will tell you that it has been a month long process. Yes, I said a month. And although I have probably given Blue Cross Blue Shield eight hours of my life simply speaking to customer service, I will say that an extremely nice agent named Sarah was a godsend and finally figured everything out for me. 11 month supply… check. Thanks Sarah!
Hair: Now you boys might have no clue what I’m talking about (but correct me if I’m wrong. Don’t want to encourage gender stereotypes.) But all the ladies… especially you ladies of color … know exactly what I’m talking about. Not being within a 20 mile proximity of your stylist and/or a ready supply of products can be daunting. My poor stylist, Amber, had an even trickier time due to the unfortunate fact that I had tried to lighten my own hair beforehand with box color. Emphasis on the word ‘tried’. The result was a two-toned mess. Blech! All my friends and family who were privy to seeing this hot mess know how sad it was. But thankfully Amber fixed it right up! And now my hair woes are no more. And then I made sure to buy enough product for a year (and no more self color). Lastly she gave me some great advice for finding another stylist for trims in-between: Find someone’s hair that you love and ask them where they go. This way you’ll already know they do a great job. Perfect.
Toothpaste: This might seem silly. But I’m flipping love/am addicted to Crest 3D Vivid White. And having already been to France, I know that is genius in a bottle does not grace the Carrefour toothpaste aisles. Needless to say my mother will be bringing more of this at Christmas.
That Dang 50 lbs Baggage Rule: There’s no way to get around this. So I’ve had to get strategic on packing. One of my bags is completely devoted to heavy winter and professional clothing. I was dismayed when this alone made 50lbs. 😦 I blame it on sweaters (and not my inability to pare down further). With my next bag I made sure all the toiletries went in first, then the rest of the summer clothes and little stuff. I realized that no jeans or shoes should go in this bag! They’re too heavy. Put all of those into your carry-on with your laptop and call it a day!
*Sometimes I take after my sister and hope my 3D White smile will get me an extra 2-3 lbs.* NOTE: Do not expect this to work. Even Shannon, who is the most smart and beautiful has acknowledged less than positive results. Just cross your fingers real tight.
Phone Plans: Some of you might say, “Uh duh momo.. obviously you would need to change that”. But upon researching I found that there are so many options that I had no clue about. In the beginning people asked, do you really want to have an American phone and a French phone for 11 whole months?? So I considered consolidation. I thought, maybe my current Droid smartphone could work on a French platform?? But that became too complicated and costly on French data plans.
So in the end I decided to keep two phones. Upon my arrival I’ll get a French phone for local call/text for only 9-15€/month. So cheap! I have an old (non-smart)phone I’ll brought to use, which made me so glad I didn’t throw that puppy away. Whichever French provider I choose will just slip in a SIM card and I’m on your way. If you’re in a similar situation and don’t have an old phone, never fear! The providers have them for a small cost or you can ask a friend for their old one… who uses those things anyways.
Here are some helpful sites I found to pick French providers:
For my smartphone, I opted into a simple data plan for $25/month. Verizon told me that if I wanted to stop the phone and texting capabilities to save money each month I would need to “suspend my account”. The drawback of this were that my next phone upgrade would be put on pause as well, meaning I wouldn’t be eligible for a new phone until 2016. Imagine my Galaxy S3 seriously lasting for three years… -_- not likely. Jamarcus, the knowledgeable Verizon man, told me that my other option was “suspending with billing”, meaning I’d still have to pay for phone and text each month (that I won’t be using, whomp), but at least I’m not paying full price on a phone in two years.
Lastly, you can’t call ahead and schedule all these changes. You have to call Verizon Global Support (1.800.922.0204) the day of or you’ll be charged in advance. Poo! O Verizon how complicated art thou?
Before I left, I told my grandma that I had started a blog. She said, “A what?… What’s a blog?” After I explained she was much more excited about it. But I feel like at the end of this post my grandmother would ask me, “But mo, how should I contact you since your American phone isn’t accepting calls?” Thanks for not letting me forget, Grammie. Download Kakao or Whatsapp on your smartphone/iPad/tablet/whatever. I’ll respond as soon as I hit the Wi-Fi network!