In preparation for leaving I began the packing effort last  Tuesday and am continuing it this morning. While the bulk of things will somehow be packed tomorrow afternoon I wanted to get a bit of a head start on some things that I just wouldn’t need here anymore as well as my metal globe as I had to make sure I could fit it somewhere.

As I started packing I realized that I never posted pictures of my second apartment here, the bigger one that I got when I came back from holiday. So I finally took some this morning to share.

Yes Roxie, those are the pictures  you drew for me hanging on the walls. Actually, one of them is from Juliette.

Overall Bela Vista has been a reasonable place to stay. It’s not the best digs I have had, yet also not the worst  (the place I had in London or maybe La Quinta in San Bruno take that honor). While knowing that I was staying there again would not prevent me from coming back (there is not much that would), I am glad to hear that ThoughtWorks has found another building with long term stays that is closer to the trendy neighborhood with restaurants and night life and has more staff members that speak English.

I think the two things I miss most are a couch and a bathtub. Here as you can see the bathroom is quite small and the sink is actually outside of it, not a design that I find very attractive in general. Also, there really isn’t any storage space for the daily products so the counter gets quite cluttered and the maid has to work around all of this stuff daily.

Of course I do also miss having a gym and despite bringing a bunch of my own equipment down here, I really was not motivated enough to work out regularly without a class to go to. Yes there are other creature comforts that I have back home such as a full (still almost new) kitchen and a flat screen TV, but  I don’t miss those that much, I think the excitement of being somewhere different and all of the relationships one makes as well as all of the things one learns make up for a lot of the stuff left behind.

When it comes close to leaving somewhere there is always a large last minute list of things to do, both on the leaving end and on the returning to end. Here there has been no exception.

First up was the “need” to see one more destination before heading stateside. From the beginning I had wanted to go to Iguaçu Falls, however with the short notice of the change to get back early flights there were just too prohibitive, especially after Greece. Instead I went to Gramado which is reachable by bus. I won’t relate the tales of that trip here so stay tuned for a dedicated post.

So yes, second is to finish up the blog entries that are in process and get them posted so that I can concentrate on the remaining Greece posts when I am back in the U.S.

The rest of the things are much more mundane and on the leaving side include

  • packing
  • managing the cash balance
  • managing the food supplies, or at least somewhat attempting to
  • figuring out how much stuff I bought
  • giving away things that I can’t or don’t want to take back
  • buying a few more gifts for folks back home
  • contacting work about getting my new laptop a few weeks earlier than planned

And  those on the destination side include

  • restarting services such as NetFlix, satellite TV, DSL
  • deciding whether or not to restart my land line phone
  • looking for a boat that needs crew for the few weeks left in the season
  • planning for Alumni Band weekend
  • changing some appointments scheduled for immediately after the original return
  • figuring out which French class to register for (if AF-Chicago replies to my email that would help a lot)

Of course there is one more not-so-mundane thing and that is planning and having a good-bye night out. So tomorrow night a bunch of us are going one more time to Z Café as I count the hours until flight time.

There was more that I wanted to include here, pictures of the area around Bela Vista where there are some great buildings, statues, and flowers. I am simply out of time and will just have to hope that I really do get back some day to capture those and to take the trips that I didn’t get to take this time. In addition to Iguaçu I really wanted to get to the Amazon as well as Uruguay and Peru, especially Machu Picchu, and I never did make it up to see the folks from Columbia that I met on the cruise in Greece. I did investigate that and it was just too long of a trip for a weekend, not to mention quite expensive.

OK, I guess I need to get back to that packing and get ready to go to work.