Goodbye San Francisco, Part 2

I’ve been in Saigon for nearly a month now, just moved into our new apartment Friday night. This is the first chance that I’ve had to sit down and follow up on my previous post: Goodbye San Francisco, Chao Saigon.  Before I report on anything new I need to recap the solutions or at least the state of the issues mentioned before.

  1. Paperwork/logistics
    1. Taxes — I ended up doing my taxes in both Turbo Tax Online and TaxAct. I wasn’t sure about TaxAct as I had always used an offline version of TurboTax in the past, but the numbers worked out just fine. TaxAct was significantly cheaper so I ended up filing with it.
    2. Procure necessary travel documents — this was way too hard and deserves its own post.
    3. Book airplane tickets — if you’re coming from SFO the best itinerary and price is with Cathay Pacific.
    4. Find a shipping company — I didn’t end up using a shipping company. Instead we brought six check in suit cases (each exactly 50 lbs, the maximum limit), three roll-ons (each at 50+ lbs, each well over the limit), three backpacks (way too large to be considered hand luggage), two strollers, and a car seat. I still wonder how we managed to make it here with all of these bags and only two able bodied adults to move them. Some social engineering was necessary to hack airline representatives along the way…In the end some of the items arrived a bit damaged (ironically everything in the double corrugated cardboard box was fine but some of the items in the hardshell roll-ons collapsed under the weight of 50 lbs of books). It was such a hassle getting through security with so many bags and a child, that I will more seriously consider shipping the next time I do a big move.
  2. Books — Green Apple Books in the Richmond district of San Francisco boasts “top dollar for quality used books in every subject area”. This is true, I brought about 200 books to them, they only took 20, but they payed me well for them. It would be nice if you could read their mind so that you don’t have to haul in stuff they’re not going to take. I put a few select books with inscription into storage, send some reference manuals to Vietnam in my luggage, and put the rest on Fulfillment by Amazon using their Easy Sell program. Thumbs up to Amazon so far. Here are the book that I brought with me:
    1. The Elements of Style by Strunk and White
    2. Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunetomo translated by William Scott Wilson
    3. Tao Te Ching (the version I highlighted in Ziporyn’s class) translated by D.C. Lau
    4. The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti translated by Robert A. F. Thurman
    5. The 4-Hour Work-week by Timothy Ferriss, with an inscription from my father
    6. The Sword & The Mind translated by Hiroaki Sato
    7. An Introduction to Zen Training by Omori Sogen
    8. Fudochi Shimmyo Roku by Takuan Soho, translated by Tenshin Tanouye
    9. Zen & Budo by Omori Sogen, translated by Tenshin Tanouye
    10. Tao of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee
    11. Crucial Conversations given to me by my friend Marco to help me with my new management job
    12. Being and Ambiguity by Brook Ziporyn
    13. Real-Time Cameras by Haigh Hutchinson
    14. A few Haruki Murakami books leant to me by my friend Marco which I hadn’t read before leaving
    15. I would have brought a few Edward Tufte books and pamphlets that I was borrowing from David Sirlin but fortunately he left his hermit cave of game design to attend my farewell party 🙂
  3. CDs / DVDs / Vinyl — I sold all of my DVD’s to Amoeba Records, with the exception of my Ghibli collection. I was happy they took them all but I felt a bit raped by the price they gave me. This event left such an unpleasant aftertaste that I resolved to figure out Fulfillment by Amazon. If I had to do it over, 100% of my collection would have been packed up and shipped off to Amazon. Vinyl ended up in the capable hands of Dave Siska as I ran out of time to deal with anyone on Craigslist anymore.
  4. Electronics and Baby Gear — Ebay and Craigslist. I need to write a post dedicated to how sub-optimal selling things for less than $1000 on Craigslist is. Ebay is the way to go if you have time, which I did not. A lot of my stuff went into storage or was given away to friends. Some of my more sentimental gear did find new homes with paying customers but it was a slow trickel and responding to low ball emails or requests for additional pictures of a $5 item was a real distraction from the gargantuan task of packing.
  5. Game Consoles and Games — reference quality games took up half a large suitcase. The rest were sent to Fulfillment by Amazon. I did not ship any non-portable consoles since it turns out that Vietnam uses 240V electricity and all of my systems were only rated for 120v and power transformers seem unecological to me. Attempts to sell my like-new consoles on Craigslist was a complete disaster and they all ended up in storage, much to my chagrin. I will need to buy locally.
  6. Cloths — we brought a ton to Goodwill, and visited a few consignment stores to sell our nicer items, 95% of which was rejected. If you have the time it is worth brining your nicer items to more than one place since the buyers do have different tastes. The lesson learned is that if you want to sell cloths, they need to either be 6 months old or 30 years old. All in all it wasn’t worth the time it took for us.
  7. Sentimental Items — went into storage.
  8. Kitchen Items — most went into storage but we did bring our three most used pots and our three most used knives. Probably silly since you can get everything in Vietnam.
  9. Road Bicycle — no option was clearly the winner, I ended up putting it in storage.
  10. Going Away Party — it was the best ever. Phear Lotek.
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