Moving to Egypt, at first blush, sounds glamorous, exotic and most of all FUN!
Don’t be fooled!! When I got the 15 page instruction packet on how to organize, pack, list, value, label for customs, and finally ship my freight I was a little intimidated. I don’t have that much freight–a small box of books, probably a couple of larger plastic tubs of clothes, but that’s it! Everything else I can fit in my suitcase. Even then, I might only need a small carry on. However, to follow all the rules, you have to have 2 separate lists for each container–one for durables like clothes and such, and one for consumables like make-up or food. They can be in the same container, just on two separate lists. Those lists have to be tabulated separately, but then combined in some magic way near the end of the process. On top of all that, each list has to have 15-20 pieces of information to identify the list, the container, the person and the belongings. Then I have to transfer much of that information to the label for the container, while including my shipment number and addressing it to the right person on the right end of the shipment.
Janet and Kathleen have been extremely helpful–they understand that everyone is ignorant of getting personal freight through customs in any country.
A process like this can only foster personal growth, so the last few evenings I’ve been organizing and packing and here’s what I’ve learned:
- Books are expensive! I undervalued most of them, which was painful, and even a small box of books is like $500
- While my stuff isn’t really that valuable, monetarily I’m still scared to lose my belongings in transit–I can replace it all, but it’s a bit of a comfort zone for me, so I hope I don’t have to replace it!
- I really don’t have THAT much stuff. Outside of kitchen stuff and books, all of my clothes could fit into two-three large (32 gallon) plastic bins I got at Wal-Mart. Nice to know if I ever have to pack and leave in a hurry, Michael Weston style.
- I’m a meticulous list-maker. I already knew that.
- I am leaving in 3 weeks–I’m nervous! Packing is helping me to mentally prepare to leave though, but emotionally I don’t think I’ll be ready any time soon
In the end, I think I should get some kind of diploma for a successful packing job. Sure, I’ll make mistakes, but at the end of it all I’m mastering a useful skill for later in life and I deserve some recognition in the form of a ceremony and piece of paper. I suppose I’ll just take getting all of my things delievered to my door in Cairo upon my arrival. Can’t wait!!