The first time you get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom in a new place can be rather disconcerting. It's not only a question of 'Where am I?' but also 'How do I stumble my way there when half asleep and the light's on the other side of the room?' (Aha! A flashlight by the bed.)
There are the basics, of course. A key to the apartment. How does the stove operate? Did we remember toothpaste and toothbrushes? A trip to the grocery store. Oh, yeah, what's the WiFi code? Probably the most essential piece of information anywhere we are.
But a few wrinkles as well: the electric outlets are all 3-round-prong Swiss, and with the exception of our new computers, most of our electronics have either 2-round-prong European or 2-square-prong American. So before I can even turn on the computer on which most of my files are stored, a trip to FNAC to pick up a couple of adapter plugs.
Hmmm. No toaster in the kitchen. And we really like toast every other day or so. Picked one up at Co-Op. Along with an electric tea kettle - tea's pretty much an everyday thing.
As we've been alternating between a couple of friend/guest-type accommodations in Switzerland, we also move clothes back and forth (and to/from our place(s) in Argeles-sur-mer, France) - so there's the unpacking and organizing of drawers and hanging stuff.
There's often a search for something, whether Switzerland or France, and the conclusion that we left it in the other country. For example, couldn't find D-L's phone in Argeles ... because she'd left it in Geneva. Still can't find the (detachable) car radio, though we did get the broken antenna repaired.
It takes Donna-Lane about an hour to get settled into a new place. She always gets right to it. Wants everything organized and neat as soon as possible. I'm usually content if I get things put away within the first three days. (She's become more tolerant of my 'transition' pile as time goes on.)
At some point, we plan to get a permanent apartment in Geneva, ideally in the Carouge or Plainpalais area of the city. Nothing very big. Enough room to sleep, eat, and both work at the same time. Walk to the grocery and restaurants. Take the bus around town. The train back and forth to Argeles. No car necessary in Geneva.
The goal is to slim down from two living places to one each in Argeles and Geneva. One set of winter clothes and one of summer in each place. Pots and pans, etc. Pictures representing memories on the wall and magnets of where we've been on the frigo door. And two sets of bed warmers - probably the second most essential item on our list, especially the next few months.