It’s amazing how many layers of connections we have to one place. The longer we stay someplace, the more of those connections we accumulate. They are a lot like roots. And uprooting something is very tough.

When we started planning our Costa Rican adventure, we knew that it would be a lot of work, but I think we also were thinking about it in somewhat idealized terms – kind of like an elaborate vacation. We are coming up on T minus 3 weeks to leaving and it is feeling very much like the final stages of pulling a very large oak tree out of the ground.

There are expected things for anyone moving, like transferring utilities, forwarding mail, finding a renter, telling folks about our new adventure, and saying goodbye (for awhile). Some of these things are more tedious or harder than others of course, but we knew they are coming.

There are unexpected things, like figuring out which services we subscribe to will continue to work in Costa Rica, such as Xbox Live, Netflix, and iTunes (yes, yes and no, by the way). Xbox Live is particularly key since we haven’t had cable TV for years and that’s been the only way to watch a few shows we like on a big screen. Or, learning that in Costa Rica we will be exposed to “a far greater number viruses, Trojan horses, worms, and other nasty things than elsewhere in the world as the ISP there does not do as good a job of filtering them out before they hit your PC.” I have to really up the bar on our anti-virus and internet security software and learn a lot more about this than I had planned.

There are some unique things that we’ve had to deal with since we will be away a year in a foreign country, such as applying for a residency visa or getting a special insurance policy for our stuff. Our current challenge here is getting the right kind of unlocked smart phone to move all four of us to as Costa Rica switches from GSM to 3G technology country-wide. We almost timed that one poorly!

As we start figuring out each detail, sometimes we learn that the “root” is much bigger than we could have imagined. My favorite in this category is getting the documents for the dogs to go. We expected paperwork, and we got that. But, we didn’t expect to have to drive to Tumwater, WA to the USDA office 10 days before we travel so that they can certify that our dogs can leave the country, all the while worrying that the government shutdown will get so strict that they completely close their office and keep us from going altogether. This is still an active concern.

Our roots here in Seattle are pretty deep after almost 18 years. As we continue to cut each root though, it does get easier and easier. The daunting uprooting task that makes it difficult to want to start is almost done now. And, like uprooting a big tree, we feel a great sense of accomplishment and empowerment. We can see a lot better without the tree. In our case what we see are possibilities.