Saturday, May 28, 2011


I've avoided blogging about our pack-out mostly because we've been counting down to these dates for months now. It's been on my mind too much to want to write about. My to-do lists started as far back as February when I started going through all the closets and drawers to find items to give or throw away. Then came the lists for what stuff should go in what shipment. I'm a list kind of gal but I have a friend who made a flow chart diagram to use as her decision making authority for packing. It was pretty impressive.

It's not quite as simple as letting the moving company come in on the day of pack-out and just box it all up. For our family, it takes quite a bit of forethought into what we will need at different points during the next 8 months. There is three separate shipments.

1. Our large shipment contains the majority of our household and all the furniture. This shipment takes multiple days to pack and move. Everything going into this shipment will be loaded onto crates that will go by sea to a storage facility and then again by sea to a port in Africa. When we arrive in Addis Ababa in December 2011 this shipment will be allowed to start it's final voyage by air to Ethiopa for custom's approval. We should expect to see our things again sometime in February or March of 2012, aproximately 2-3 months after we arrive to our new home in Addis Ababa. It's a long time to be without our things. It's especially tough to settle into a new home while still waiting for everything to arrive.

2. Our small air freight shipment is 700 lbs. and will travel by air to the United States and wait to be received at our temporary housing in August 2011. This shipment must contain items that we will need for the final week in Manila when our large shipment has already been packed as well as things that we want to have for our four months of living in the States (August-December 2011). The tricky thing is that we will also have a 700 lb air freight shipment that will be packed in DC right before we move to Ethiopia. The items that we bring back to the States in this air freight shipment will also likely have to be in the air freight shipment to Africa. Thus, I have to think ahead to what we will need in our air freight shipment for Africa; which will get us through those 2 months in our new home in Addis Ababa before our large household shipment arrives. Throw in the fact that we are expecting a new baby in October and any of our baby things I want to use for the first four months of our third child's life, need to be in this 700 lb air freight shipment. Needless to say, we will be borrowing lots of things from friends and family while we are at home.

3. Our accompanied air baggage is essentially our luggage and items we can take on the airplane with us back to the States. These will be the only items we will have for the next 9 weeks until we get our air freight in August. The other tough thing is that all our important paper work and documents or valuables all have to come with us on the airplane. Most of it in our carry-on luggage. You can't trust putting your original Social Security cards and birth certificates in your checked luggage. Other random things that will go in our luggage is our address books, title to the car, shot records, valuable jewelry, the dog's health records. Everything important. The list goes on and on. Amazingly, we are planning to fit everyone's clothes and personal items in 5 suitcases and two small bags. One devoted to toys, books, fancy ball gowns, princess wands, sparkly shoes, night lights, white noise machines, and all of Bella's 37 must-have bedtime friends. Blankie, lovie, nana, and Bop Bop will go in on of our 4 carry-ons. Don't laugh when I tell you that we'll also be bringing two car seats a stroller and the dog on the plane with us too. I'm already scheming how to cut a hole in a pull-up diaper to put on Lucy's butt. Flying with the girls is tough enough, you better believe I will not be cleaning up after our dog too.

This past week we had movers in our house packing and moving our large sea shipment Tuesday through Thursday. They threatened to push some of the work into Friday but I pushed back some. Instead of the four packers we had on Tuesday and Wednesday; 9 guys arrived on Thursday to finish the job. We had roughly 6,400 lbs of stuff. I was most sad to see our mattress packed up knowing Justin and I won't sleep in our own bed again until 2012. I was also sad to see the toys go because so many of those things the girls use on a daily basis. I guess it will be like Christmas again when it all gets unpacked in Africa.
I thought I'd be more wistful about all of our things getting put in boxes and loaded onto crates to weather a long boat ride over the ocean. In the end I was relieved to see it all gone. After months preparing for pack-out it was finally over.

Tomorrow our air freight gets packed. This is the ugly pile of stuff that we will see again in August. When we separated out what went into our suitcases we have very little air freight. Probably half our allowable limit. This bodes well for the inevitable shopping and stuff-accumulation that will happen during the 6 months we are in the States.

We're ready to head home now. The house feels like a shell of our home now.


The Gunning Family said...

We're ready to have you all home - even if its only for a little while!

Bfiles said...

wow, didn't realize it was time for you to move on! good luck! can't believe you're fitting it all into 5 suitcases...wishing you safe and easy travels!

Terry said...

For the next few months where ever you are as a family will be home. Safe travels.

Blagoevski-Trazoff said...

Hi, my family is moving to ADD this summer, adn we're associated with the Embassy as well. Let's connect! My email is, drop me a note...