Monday, July 29, 2013

Take your Cat from Canada to Spain

Moving your entire life to Europe is stressful enough as is. Imagine doing it with a cat! The paperwork, the vet appointments, the expense.... I am currently working out the details to move my cat from Canada to Spain, and I hope the following steps help you prepare for your move:
1) First determine if your cat has already been microchipped, and had its rabies shot AFTERWARDS. Having the rabies shot after the microchipping is very important. An alternative to a microchip is if your cat was tattooed, but it had to have been done before July 3rd 2011, before a rabies vaccination, and be readable / easily identifiable.

2) If needed, book an appointment so that the microchip and rabies shot are done 21 days or more before your flight. You cat can enter the EU only after 21 days have passed.
  Note that even if you're getting a microchip now, but your cat has already had a rabies shot, you have to get the shot again after the microchip is implanted. Same day is fine. The type of rabies shot you need is the one that lasts for 1 year.

3) Check the calendar and count 10 days prior to your flight. Within those 10 days, you must go back to the veterinarian, get a tapeworm shot, and have them sign forms from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. For Spain, there is an English and Spanish form. These forms can be emailed to you, just contact your local CFIA; the vet's office may have their phone number. Make an appointment to have the vet sign first, then have an appointment to go to your local CFIA and have them endorse those forms. The fee for endorsement is $20 per pet. After the forms are signed, you have 10 days to enter Spain. The employee at CFIA recommended I get the forms signed around the 7-day mark, because if 10 days passes you have to get new forms.

4) Your pet is good for Spain for 4 months. After, if you wish to leave the country with him/her, you have to get a pet passport from a Spanish veterinarian.

It was reassuring to speak with a knowledgeable person at CFIA. Reading all of the websites on my own was confusing; it's always nice to get the information from a person who knows.


This guy's blog entry defines why I'm moving to Spain:

I'm Not Running Away

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pursue Your Dreams (in 5 steps)

"I hate my job and I don't know what I'm doing with my life. I want to travel/have babies/get married/buy a house/change my career, but I don't know how / I can't / I'm scared."

Sound familiar? I've had thoughts like these many, many times. I have friends who are having these thoughts now. Perhaps you are, too.
We have good-paying jobs yet feel unfulfilled. We feel like we can't get into the housing market. We long to see far-away lands. We long to hold a lover's hand, or a newborn child.
In 2012, when my thoughts reached a boiling point, here's how I solved my crisis:


Just don't sit like this. ha ha
This worked years ago when I couldn't figure out what to major in after high school.  I took a long time-out one afternoon, sat down, and thought about what subjects I liked in high school, what activities I enjoyed doing, and what topics I loved to read about. Answer: I loved Television class! In fact, I loved it so much I took it two years in a row in high school, just because. So I majored in it and became a news Editor.
It worked again last year when I didn't know where to set up a new life, after becoming single. I had all sorts of cities in mind. But one quiet morning during my Italy vacation, I sat having a cigarette and absorbing the ambience around me. In one electrifying moment, it clicked in my head: Europe.
Take an hour or two to sit and think. When the right answer pops into your mind during a moment of silence, you will know. You will feel it in your body, and the answer will stick with you from then on.


Figure out a plan with actual, concrete steps. If you were headed somewhere and needed directions, you'd go on Google Maps, and IT lists steps. So should you.


"Experts" are those who are doing exactly what you want to do, have information to help you, or who are pursuing their dreams.
Interestingly, the first group of people may be the hardest to find, because people pursue dreams similar to yours, but in different ways. They may have a different background or living situation, for example. Seek them out anyway.
The second group, those who have information to help you, may include: financial advisors, relationship experts, psychologists, language teachers, etc. For their help, you might have to pony up a bit of cash. But they are experts, and sometimes you need to make a small investment to make sure you're on the right track to your dream. 
The third group are people who are just like you, albeit with different dreams. These people are important because the energy they are using to pursue their dreams can strongly influence your energy. I believe in surrounding myself with people who have positive qualities I either want or already have. When I see my friends pursue their dreams with a good, focused attitude, it rejeuvenates me.


When I came up with a plan to move to Spain, my original idea was to apply for a youth work holiday visa, clear out my apartment, pack my bags, and leave -- all within the span of a few months. My Spain friends talked sense into me (see what I mean about experts?), reminding me that there was una crisis, and trying to find work once in Spain would probably be fruitless.
I accepted that I could not leave Canada as quickly as I'd hoped. I slowed my plan down, went to school to make my CV look better, found three employment programs online (including NALCA), and my plan stretched from a few months to a year. But financially and stress-wise, it's been worth it.


Don't worry if you end up dropping your dream. My goals in life used to change all the time - Bodybuilding competition! Fluent in French! Work for the Canadian government! Move to Mexico! Move to Hawaii! Then I'd lose interest after a few months. With the Spain plan, I noticed I stuck to it and my passion to do it never waivered. That's when I knew it was the plan for me. If it's meant to be your dream, you will keep pursuing it, even if it means sacrifices - saving money, losing money, moving away from loved ones. If it's meant to be your dream, you will gladly accept these sacrifices.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Death by a Thousand Choices

 I've been experiencing a mental paralysis the last few months. As blessed as I am to enjoy a free, choice-filled life, sometimes it's a curse. I often become paralyzed by the fear of making a wrong decision, due to over-analysis of every choice available. I become afraid of missing out on 6,262 other possibilities, so I think, think, and over-think each one. Fear of making a "bad" choice has been fueling an unquenchable desire to read about Spain and my region on the Internet, and endless worry about Vcar vs. Úbeda for my apartment.
When it all becomes too much to decide, perhaps the best thing to do is go with what's easiest, choose it, and roll with it. Choose "the easy way out". Obviously, Vcar is the easiest choice, because my work is located there. If I can't stand living there, I'll find a way to live in Úbeda. Ahora, no me preocupa.