I used to think of moving as a simple (but annoying) process where you threw everything you had into boxes, stuffed them into a Uhaul, drove across town and then unloaded those same boxes into your new place. Oh how I LONG for a move like that…. alas, never again. What I didn’t realize when we signed on for this Foreign Service Life was that we were agreeing to partake in the most complicated move process imaginable. And seriously, I ENJOY planning and organizing things but THIS stretches my limits.
An Outline of the Challenges
1. Our stuff is being sent to 4 different locations (MN, DC, Lima and MD) – and that’s not including any stuff we give away here.
2. Our things travel by suitcase (hand carry), boat and air and must be separated accordingly. Warning: If you mess up and send something by boat that you needed in DC, you’ll be buying a new one in DC. So go slowly…
3. Anything we need to access in the next YEAR must fit within a 550 pound limit, which is made up of two 50-pound suitcases we hand-carry and 450 pounds that we get to ship by air to DC. To put it a different way, anything I send by boat I will not see until August of 2012 in Lima, but I must carefully pick and choose what we *need* for the next year since we are not allowed to go over the air freight weight restrictions (without a major fee). Just for fun, try imagining that you were moving to furnished housing but that you could only take 550 pounds of your personal items with you. What would you pick?
4. Some other fun restrictions include:
- No small electronics or jewelry or liquids in air freight.
- There must be a minimum of 200 pounds of stuff to go into Permanent Storage in MD (and by permanent storage I mean we will not have access to these items for at least 3 years) if you want to use that option. Note: We do want the option, since Nick’s sub-par box labeling from our first move meant that we ended up with some lovely, completely unnecessary things in Manila like momentos from my dead Grandma, my childhood artwork and our snow clothes! :) The current challenge is that these absurd things do not total 200 pounds, so unless we come up with some additional items, they’ll be going to Lima too!
- No perishables/boxed food in any of the shipments (it attracts bugs) – Fun story: We found maggots all over an exploded 12 pack of Progresso Soup we had shipped to Manila from DC on our very first move. It was not pretty.
To prevent my head from imploding over the next 2 weeks as we complete the packout, I created a handy-dandy little Flow Chart to ensure that everything ends up in the right place! I’m pretty proud of it, so feel free to customize if for your FS move, if it would help!
So there you have it folks! Try not to be jealous of the fun we have planned for the next two weeks…