Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Dealing with baggage

No, I'm not talking about making peace with my emotional baggage (that's still on my ToDo list, along with making a will and reading the Quran). No, I'm talking Heavy Baggage.

When you get posted overseas by the Foreign Office your belongings go in three different groups:-
  • Personal luggage - this is your regular luggage that you take with you; stuff you need in the first two weeks
  • Unaccompanied Air Freight (UAF) - a larger amount of luggage (the rest of your clothes and other short-term items) that go by air with a courier company like DHL - this takes about ten working days. In here you pack the stuff you need for the first couple of months
  • Heavy Baggage = everything else (apart from furniture, which doesn't go at all). So in other words, all the rest of your personal effects, which are loaded onto a container and sent by sea to Dammam, then by road to Riyadh. The Heavy Baggage left our house in Langley on January 3rd, and we only took delivery of it last Saturday, March 11.
So there I am, just back from a relaxing weekend full of massages, mudbaths, gin & tonics and fillet steaks, feeling really chilled out, when there's a "ding dong" on the doorbell, signalling the arrival of 91 - yes, 91! - cartons of our stuff.

I'm making a bit of a meal of this story because I didn't have to physically unload any of it myself, but I did have the challenging task of standing by the truck and marking off the carton number on a sheet of paper each time one was carried into the house, and I got writer's cramp so it was no picnic I can tell you!

I had them put all the boxes in the lounge (we have a big lounge) and when the delivery men had left I must've stood there staring at this mountain of boxes for a good ten minutes, wondering where the heck to start.

Next time we're going to travel a LOT lighter. All the stuff is ours and it's things we want, but to be honest there is a good proportion that could have stayed in UK in storage somewhere, as we really don't need it here.

  • Stuff I do need though, and am glad to be re-united with:-
  • Computers (the big ones, we brought a couple of laptops with us)
  • Plasma TV and DVD recorder

  • Bose Acoustic Wave CD player
  • My mountain bike

  • Music CDs, books, board games, video games
  • Pictures (hanging on the wall type, family photos etc.)
  • Toolbox
  • My "magic" remote control!!

Karen and the children got stuff they'd been missing too; for Karen it's her craft materials (she makes fantastic greetings cards), and for the children it's musical instruments; keyboard for Abigail and Elliot's electric bass guitar.

One of several casualties :-(

So you can see from the pictures the jungle of cardboard we're currently living in, but the place feels more like home with every box we open.

No comments: