Carl, Isaac and I spent the long weekend visiting family and friends in the Seattle area. Carl’s Grandmom will turn 90 in September, so it was wonderful to spend some time with her before we leave for our trip. Isaac had lots of fun walking around GG’s deck and backyard. Lots of flowers for him to inspect as well as several wind chimes to play with.

GG and Isaac
GG and Isaac

We also had a chance to visit with Carl’s immediate and extended family. His brother, Erik, flew in from Spokane for a couple of days to catch up and say farewell. While there, we heard the good news that his sister, Alexa, and her boyfriend, Nathan, bought a house! Not a small feat in the Seattle market! Isaac also got to spend a little bit of time with some of Carl’s extended family. It was lovely catching up with everyone!

On Sunday we went down to Pike’s Market to meet up with some of Carl’s friends. Neither of us have been down that way in years, so it was fun to explore it again. The flowers were gorgeous! However, we opted to go in the afternoon, which wasn’t the best idea. Way too many people in and around the market to make it fun. However, we did get some super fresh seafood for lunch, so that made up for it.

img_01371.jpg
Pike’s Market

We often joke about how well traveled Isaac is for a one year old because he’s been on a plane at least 8 times (4 trips), including both domestic and international travel. The kid even has a passport! We anticipate him hating us later on in life when we show him pictures of places he visited since he won’t remember any of it.

Pike's
Photobomb! Thanks, dude! Notice the excitement written all over Isaac’s face.

While we were away Jethro got to stay with my brother in the Bucktown area of Chicago. Jethro absolutely adores my brother. Aside from giving him extra long walks, my brother does like to spoil Jethro by putting butter in his food. Yes, you read it correctly… butter. No wonder Jethro doesn’t want to eat when he gets home! J had a tough time though because neighborhood folks set off fireworks every night over the weekend. Apparently, he spent most of his time in a crate with a blanket tossed over it and a loud sound machine next to him drowning out the scary sounds. Every year I feel so bad for him and all of the neighborhood dogs. Too bad we can’t put sound canceling headphones over their ears.

J
Jethro at peace before the fireworks

Upon return, we started back with our planning and packing for the move. Another big obstacle we had to figure out was our banking situation. To our knowledge, there are no US banks that have retail branches in Romania. Citibank has a location, but it’s corporate banking, so we can’t use it. ING is there, but ING sold their US locations to Capital One a few years back and the two banks are no longer affiliated with one other. The reason why this is a problem is because I get paid mostly in US dollars but also in lei (the local currency). Carl is paid in local currency. Getting paid in two different currencies requires two different accounts since you cannot combine the two currencies in one bank account (unless the bank is in both countries). It also means that we will have to wire the money from the US account to the Romanian account to pay our monthly expenses. Wires aren’t cheap.

After quite a bit of research we found that Charles Schwab allows for free international ATM withdrawals and does not charge foreign transaction fees. Charles Schwab seems to be one of the only banks in the US that offers this type of service. Upon arrival, we hope to open a Romanian bank account. Notice I wrote “hope.”  We heard from a number of expats that opening a Romanian bank account can be somewhat difficult because of all of the documentation necessary, but are optimistic that the process will run smoothly.

Otherwise, we plan to pick out our storage unit this weekend and will start bringing stuff there by the car load. We plan to hire movers to help with moving all of our big furniture. I guess we should get on that, huh? 🙂 As our time is quickly running out in Chicago, we are meeting up with our friends and family as much as possible. Our weekends are packed until the end of the month.

Only 3 more weeks to go!