Anatomy of an international move part one: coordinating with the movers and shakers

Ok, everyone everywhere must apply the following caveat to anything I say or write that is Germany/relocation related over the next few months/years: “I am humbly grateful for this amazing opportunity and recognize how  lucky we are to be having this adventure via Larry’s work. I know how unbelievable this is and how incredible it will be for our family. I am super excited for it all and am going into it eyes and arms and attitude towards the universe wide open.”  #blessed #firstworldproblems and all those other social media epigrams.

That being said:  Oh boy, some parts of this are really, really hard.

Today’s example is the conference call we had with the representative from the moving company. She was delightful, helpful, knowledgable, and seemingly quite capable.  And she dropped some wisdom on me that I am desperately trying to process (hence my return to writing).

We get to send 500 pounds of an air shipment for near immediate needed items which will take approximately 16-25 days door to door and we have a larger shipping container for our household goods that will take approximately 6-8 weeks. So she asked, reasonably, “In light of those timelines, when would you like to have us collect your items?” It breaks down to where we would like to live without things: here or there?  Ordinarily, this would be a no brainer and I would live without it here, except we have three major events (Thanksgiving, Iron Chef, and Christmas) between then and now.  And I am desperately working to ensure that my kids’ transitions are as smooth and seamless as possible.  One last normal holiday season before we are off. And it’s likely the last holiday season Elliot will have in this house before he goes to college. And it’s Merrie’s last before she comes home to start high school.  That’s right: it might be her last year believing in Santa (until she comes around again like her mama to always believe in the magic of the season).

So, I am wrestling with scheduling the transportation of our stuff.  But I am also wrestling with the stuff itself. Firstly in that department, I am struggling with the stuff we *can* bring.  We don’t yet know what we will need because we don’t yet know if we will be in a furnished or an unfurnished home.  Keep in mind that the German definition of unfurnished means there are no light fixtures, no sinks, cabinets, appliances, and sometimes no flooring. [For realz: go ahead and Google it if you don’t believe me]. So first we need to secure housing in order to understand what we are bringing. Then we need to understand of what we are not bringing what we will leave in the home for use while we are away. Then we need to understand of what is left what we wish to pack and store for the three years we are gone. Then we need to figure out what to do with everything else (yard sale? food pantry? Good will?).

Another part of the wisdom dropped on me by our representative was the list of stuff that we cannot bring. No plants (which I kind of knew but it still bums me out), nothing edible, no alcohol, nothing flammable.  All seems straight forward till I realize that “nothing edible” means none of the homemade jams and jellies and pickles that I laid in this year and none of the dry goods overflowing in our cabinets.  Nothing flammable means none of the cleaning supplies and many of the toiletries that are jammed packed in our bathrooms.  And no alcohol seems just mean.

So that’s where my head is currently. Trying to coordinate a lot of moving parts in the next 80 days. Time is not on our side with this one. Can I get an extra month for Christmas, Santa? I really do believe.


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