Only when we had the signed renting contract we felt that finally, we were relocating to Switzerland. We had already handed our resignation and we were trying to hand-over everything that we could in the legal notice period.
Meanwhile, we had started to gather around our luggage because we couldn’t take everything with us when leaving Romania. And even though my husband didn’t believe it, we had so many things in our small apartment we couldn’t believe it ourselves, and absolutely everything seemed important and useful.
On the other hand, we decided to rent the apartment while we’re away since it didn’t make any sense for it to not produce something for this year and also if it were to be empty, it would have been an easy target for burglars. So we had to take out a lot of things even if we didn’t take everything with us in the first batch.
I forgot to mention our plan was to leave with our car and everything we could fit in it so that we could have our car with us too.
Alongside the bags, we also had to take care of our fiscal residency change. We had no idea we had to do it but after we found out we didn’t feel good about not doing it. So we went one day at the National Fiscal Administration Agency with all the documents we thought we may need, while on a short break from work.
At the office, everything was very civilized and modern and we didn’t even have to stay in line, which is something quite new to us when it comes to public institutions. And we also had an assigned agent that was really nice and willing to help.
He kindly explained that, unfortunately, he had to call us again because we needed a translation of the work contract from our new employer. Well, not the whole contract, but the company, address, job title, and time limitations.
Probably this happened because I was already a loyal customer of the lady from the translations office. Apparently, you don’t need translations when relocating to Switzerland, but you do need them when leaving Romania.
The guy was also nice and allowed us to be represented by only my husband for the next meeting, and he also let us make my brother-in-law our contact person without going to a notary’s office for that like we were expecting.
And of course it was not comfortable for us to spend to much time on the roads for these sorts of things, the guy was really nice and understanding and he also seemed a little sad because his job shows him how many people are leaving Romania.
The liability insurance
When we talked with our landlords in Basel, they asked us, if it weren’t so much trouble, to also have liability insurance before we moved to Switzerland. This insurance covers the damage that we could make to the apartment without intention or the damage made to the neighbors by mistake (like flooding that would affect the neighbor in the apartment below ours).
We felt that this was a great idea considering my clumsiness. We registered for the insurance policy and mentioned, in a special request field, to not send it by post, but by email, since we were not there yet.
We needed the physical policy so we could pay it because it was null until it was paid, and we had also specified the starting date the first day in Switzerland because we couldn’t create any damage to anything while not present.
Three days later, we haven’t had received any response to these requests apart from the auto-generated email that said we’ll receive the policy by post. So I called them, a little bit scared of the language barrier. A very nice gentleman answered that, to my usual “Do you speak English?” question, answered with “A little bit, yes.” and started to use a Cambridge like English it made me feel ashamed of mine.
I explained the whole thing, I told him we’re not there yet, but we wanted to be sure we’ll have it in time, that we couldn’t pay for the policy if they don’t send us a bill by email, because we couldn’t use the post, but we want to be sure we’re paying everything that needs to be paid.
His solution: he delayed the limitation for the payment until the middle of May because, apparently, it could also take a while for us to create bank accounts and we couldn’t pay in any other way.
I explained that we still had our bank accounts from Romania and we could pay from one of those, but he said there’s no point in us paying for international payment commissions and taxes needed by banks.
And then he told me that even if we couldn’t pay until the 15th of May (we were arriving on the 1st of April), because it may take more for our bank accounts to be ready, or maybe we don’t have money to pay for it (!!!), to just call them and tell them and they will delay our payment due date until July. I still cannot believe the fact that everything got fixed so easy and people were so understanding with us.
Emptying our home
Since we wanted to rent the apartment and we obviously didn’t have time to take care of this, we had to make an official document for my brother-in-law so he could represent us in this process.
Apart from this, we occupied almost every evening by meeting with people to say “Goodbye!”. We tried to see our grandparents, friends, work colleagues and to ensure that no one will find out about our decision from a third party, but I’m not exactly sure we have managed to do this.
Also, we thought about painting the kitchen from our apartment and the doors from a deposit area, to be sure we leave the apartment in the best possible shape to be used by someone else.
Meanwhile, our baggage was starting to take up so much space in our living room and we started to worry we wouldn’t be able to fit them in the car, so we bought some vacuum bags to make our clothes smaller in volume – I totally recommend this approach, it helps a lot, especially when it comes to pillows and blankets.
We started to make decisions about things we still had to throw away or give away to other people that may need them, and also about things we may want after some time, so we had to find options to store them for a while.
Luckily, the house where we were moving in Switzerland had already a very well equipped kitchen so there was no need for us to carry everything, but we still took some cooking things we care about, and some of them were filled with bags with socks, for example.
I forgot to mention that since we began traveling, mostly using low-cost airlines, I became a packing guru, so I can use my Tetris-like skills to fit a lot of stuff in small places, using absolutely every available possibility.
This moving was the supreme test for this skill of mine and I’m not sure I have passed it, to be honest. We also had scheduled a weekend with our parents before leaving, but some snow that appeared from nowhere, after a whole winter without any snow, made us postpone this weekend until the last possible one.
We also went shopping for everything that we thought we may need, like medicine, some clothes and day to day use cosmetics. My husband took the car to a service garage for a check-up, since we had a 2000 km trip ahead of us and we didn’t want any surprises.
Because we knew some things about the medical insurance system in Switzerland (more about this in a future post) we wanted to take some routine check-ups that we do each year, and this year we tried to do everything right before leaving Romania.
The same applied also for the dentist, where I also had to make multiple visits due to some minor problems. And because I had made the anti-Hepatitis A vaccine for our honeymoon I wanted to have the second shot too so I could be safe of this disease for a longer time.
I also had to celebrate my birthday because I couldn’t manage to find another free day for everyone at an earlier moment, and even this activity made me feel like I a waste of my precious time.
I also sent my resignation form for my cell phone subscription since Switzerland is not in the European Union and the costs for calls in here would be the Roaming ones that are not very budget-friendly.
And last, but not least, I had to go to the beauty salon to have a good boost on my hair and nails care because I didn’t know how things like this work in Basel, how expensive are they and I didn’t have any recommendations for good places either.
All of these things were quite difficult to handle for two reasons.
The first one was that both of us worked until almost the last day. Our last day of work was on Wednesday and we left Romania on Friday.
The second reason was that all of these had to be taken care of in Bucharest, and everything in here takes longer than expected. The list contains some things that should take long, but they did just because in Bucharest it takes a huge amount of time to go from A to B.
A possible third reason would be that we started late with everything, but we couldn’t do a lot of things until we had the signed contracts and the renting situation figured out.
My advice would be, for anyone that will ever get ready to leave Romania, to allow a bigger amount of free time between the last day of work and the day of the departure.
We didn’t realize that and even after two weeks in Basel we were still recovering from massive sleep deprivation and we still had things to do by phone, with the help of the coolest brother-in-law ever that we seriously need to threat with a nice dinner for all the help that he has provided for us.
The night before our departure we were still moving things to his apartment and, at 1 AM, when we finished doing that, we took the car to the car wash…