Packing. It has taken over my life. Okay, not so much my life as my mind. I may not be spending hours carefully wrapping ethno-plunder and figuring out how to take apart my treadmill, but I am spending that same amount of time thinking about wrapping, disassembling and general moving-related uncertainties. (One perk to being with the State Department is that they send movers in to do all of the actual packing and hauling of boxes. One downside to being with the State Department is that they send movers in to do all of the actual packing and shoving of random items into boxes that make no logical sense, but are at least hopefully well-swaddled in packing material.)
After several sleepless nights during the week, last weekend it was time to kick off some actual moving prep on my end. Two lovely ladies, Stephanie and Kristen, came over to help get the ball rolling. We sent Thad to the consulate to work on his end-of-tour cables and EER while we dug through drawers, closets and cabinets.
To make organization easier, I made signs for each of the spare bedroom doors, labeling the intended destination for the piles within. One bedroom became UAB (this is the stuff that goes by plane and arrives first, but has a very low weight limit, so it will be mostly clothing), one became HHE (this is the bulk of household goods, goes by ship and can take months, but has a ridiculously high weight limit that we don’t come close to touching) and then a final room was labeled DC (these are things going back to permanent storage, like my collection of winter coats!). Thad may have made fun of my (admittedly dorky) signs, but they made the process much easier, since everyone knew at a glance where those items were headed. Plus, who doesn’t love a good sign or two? (I only wished I had better markers at home to make them cuter!)
For a few hours on Saturday afternoon, my apartment became a flurry of movement. Everything we’ve had on our walls had to come down (leaving me with a million ugly nails sticking out of the cement walls), the china cabinet had to be emptied of the souvenirs we’ve picked up over the years (everything from an Argentinian mate cup to a Chinese china tea set to a huge platter from the Maldives to Athena’s owl from Greece) and drawers that have been home to random electronics cords and hair ties had to be sorted (it is amazing how fast a “junk drawer” manifests itself in a new home, no matter what continent we are living on!).
Now, after that whirlwind of work on Saturday, I’ve got three rooms with overflowing piles, a semblance of organization (it totally works in my mind!) and I owe a favor or two to the lovely ladies who helped make it all happen.
But, we’re not out of the woods yet. I’ve still got a lot of small, odds and ends tasks to be done before the movers come next week. (We’ve got a pack out survey tomorrow and then the real deal is a week later- May 20.)
*Nail polish- I figure I should probably spend a bit of time and sort out my 70-some bottles of nail polish. I am sure there are a few of those that are getting old and gross, some that just aren’t colors I will ever wear again and some that are nearly gone and not worth shipping on to KL.
*Clothes-They need to be sorted into piles that will go in the suitcase (which I will be living out of for two months), what will go UAB and what will come later. It’s hard to think through what I might possibly need in the coming weeks- definitely casual summer clothes for Idaho, but then some summer work clothes in case I do get a job in KL (keep your fingers crossed for some movement on that front) and then shoes and accessories to go with it all. It really is too much to think about! (The winter stuff is already sorted, as I couldn’t wait to get rid of coats and scarves and gloves for a few years. No winter- yay!!)
*Electronics- These will be the last things to go, as I’ll want blog access until the very last day, which will be easy, but sometime between now and then there needs to be some major cord organization. I think I’m going to bust out my box of Ziploc baggies and start sorting cords by type- camera, iPad, laptop, MP3, etc.
*Paperwork- State recommends that we hand-carry a variety of papers with us, everything from medical records to employment records. To that end, I ran across the road to the stationery store this morning and picked up a variety of plastic organizing folders so all of these documents make it from Chengdu to Nampa to Washington DC to Kuala Lumpur in one piece. I got one folder for my personal papers (teaching certificate, State job evaluations, etc.) one for Thad’s work documents, (he hasn’t seen his adorable bunny-covered folder yet, but I am sure he is going to be thrilled when he does!) and then one for all of our travel-papers, like airline tickets, hotel reservations and rental car registrations.
As I am living in the world of denial when it comes to the impending goodbyes, I can focus my energy on these more mundane t asks, the ones that need to be completed but don’t have the emotional baggage that will come next week as I have to say goodbye to some fabulous friends, a boss and coworkers who have been incredibly wonderful to work for and a job that not only kept me busy and on my toes, but gave me a solid foundation in the ways of the Foreign Service, for which I will always be grateful. So, while I continue to float in my canoe on that famed African river, I’ll go sort a few more dishes, clean out the overflowing sock drawer and finish deciding which books get to go to KL and which must suffer the hardship of being boxed for a few years.