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Okay, I expected to be writing about snow and ice and below freezing temperatures once I arrived in Lithuania — but I didn’t expect to be doing so before I left Seattle!  We typically have fairly mild winters here.  It might snow in the city once or twice during the winter — and even then I rarely get snow in my neighborhood because we are close to the water.

But in the past week in Seattle we’ve had three snow storms and high temperatures below freezing.  We had 8″ in my neighborhood between Saturday night and Monday morning.  Now, for those of you from places with real winters, this might not seem like much, but in Seattle it means everything is shut down.  I dug the car out of the snow but figured it’s better to stay safely inside than to brave the roads.  Instead I’ll get to work on that list of things I need to do to get ready to leave — after all it’s still three pages long.

Bob the cat checks out the snow-covered front yard.  He decided he'd rather stay inside too!

Bob the cat checks out the snow-covered front yard.

I’ve been working on a LONG to-do list for six weeks to get ready for my trip.  Which makes me wonder — how do criminals manage to just flee the country after committing a crime?  I figure that either their departure is pre-meditated as well as their crime — or they don’t care about getting all their affairs in order here before they flee.

Here’s a partial list of all the things I have to do before I leave for Lithuania:

* Get a one-year visa to live in Lithuania.

* Find someone to sublet my apartment.

* Find someone to take my car.

* Find someone to take care of my cat.

* Find someone to do my taxes.

* Figure out what clothes to pack for nine months and three seasons with only three suitcases allowed.

* Decide how many of my (heavy) reference books and dictionaries I really need with me.

* Figure out how to access my money here in Seattle from Lithuania with the least amount of foreign transaction fees.

And the list goes on and on…

My mom will be taking care of her furry, four-legged grandkitty, Bob, while I'm in Lithuania.

My mom will be taking care of her furry, four-legged grandkitty, Bob, while I'm in Lithuania.

Testing out my winter gear in Seattle.

Testing out my winter gear in Seattle.

I am busy preparing to leave for Lithuania on January 5 — and apparently Seattle has decided to help me get ready by giving me a preview of real winter weather.  We had snow last Saturday night and are expecting more on Wednesday.  The high temperatures are supposed to stay below freezing throughout the week.  Actually, this week’s weather forecast in Seattle is almost identical to the forecast for Vilnius, Lithuania!  Brrrrrr! Yesterday and today I was able to practice walking on icy sidewalks in my new winter boots.   I may have to break out the long underwear that is sitting in my suitcase.