Feeling for Ukraine and Crimea

Friends are asking how the Crimea crisis feels from Moldova. Certainly it is strange to suddenly see a map showing Moldova on the first page of international newspapers. We are geographically squeezed between the EU and Ukraine. Ukraine had initialised the EU agreement, and was supposed to sign it in November (the protests started when it did not) – Moldova is now in a somehow similar place, with an EU agreement initialised but not yet signed. Now the way Russia is intervening in Crimea has some echoes with the Transnistrian situation – and discussions on ethnic minorities and majorities and language dynamics reminds a lot of Moldova.
So yes, we feel for Ukraine and for Crimea.

To-do list – if you are moving to another country

moving boxes
In a few days we are finally moving to Chisinau (we packed our stuff in Brussels some weeks ago already, but then we had a nice long holiday). My to-do list is now cleared, but was pretty long. Since this is the third time I move to a new country, I feel I have it quite covered. When chatting with a friend about it, she said: you should share it with X, who’s going to go through exactly the same procedure in a few weeks! So here it is, for everybody’s benefit and contributions – what am I forgetting? And how did YOU do it?


1. Current job: get informed about terms for resigning, unpaid leave etc.; inform your superiors and closest colleagues (make sure YOU are the one informing your boss, and not somebody else)
2. Current flat or house: give notice/identify options for selling/renting/subrenting
3. Utilities: get information about any possible notice period to interrupt ongoing contracts (telephones, satellite or cable TV, water/electricity, but also car insurance, gym etc)
4. Car: think about the need to sell/buy one
5. Get rid of the crap: start identifying things you will not need in your new location and decide if you are selling them/giving them away/throwing them away/keeping them somewhere (this one is really key!)
6. Schools: in case of children, get information about schooling possibilities (this may have implications for moving dates); inform current school
7. Pets: check if all is in order according to the rules of the country you are moving to: vaccinations, passport, microchip etc.
8. Moving firms: get information about who is going to pay and which are the conditions
9. Test the ground: if you can, organise an exploratory trip to your new destination to look for houses, meet business contacts, check out schools etc.
10. Papers: check if you need to get or renew any passports, visas, driving licenses, vaccinations etc.

1. Bank: see bank to change address, close account or discuss any variation
2. Utilities: stop all contracts (telephone, TV, electricity, water etc.)
3. Back-up: save all important documents you keep at work or on any computer you’ll loose access to; save all your important passwords since you may not use them for a while and risk forgetting them
4. Purchases: buy whatever may be difficult to find in your new place or whatever you want to send away with the moving firm (this time I bought a new bed for the kids room to match the one we already had, and a stock of coffee capsules)
5. Plants: give away your plants to friends and friendly neighbours
6. City hall: inform the public authorities that you are leaving the country
7. Redirect post: go to the post office and set redirection of mail to your new address, if possible
8. Health: get a copy of medical records from your doctors, if possible, and get all the vaccinations you may need
9. Cleaning: arrange a thourough, professional cleaning of the house/flat you are leaving (I actually did not focus on this one and had to pay a heavy penalty when giving back the keys to the owner!)
10: Say goodbye: organise a nice farewell party and/or say your goodbyes to all those you care for, and find ways to stay in touch.

Cleaning up the office

all my notebooks in the trashbin

Cleaning up the office after 4 years.

I threw away loads of documents and folders today, including 4 years of notes from meetings, to-do lists, sketched wireframes, project plans, budget calculations, and the occasional doodle.
Do you do the same when you change jobs, or do you keep your old notebooks?