This past week we finally got serious about packing out for our move back to the States. I’ve been in a bit of a shopping mode the past month as I try to collect final European souvenirs that I always meant to buy during “normal” life and now feel compelled that I “have to buy” since we’re leaving. Included in this list:
- quaint German pottery houses that smoke when you add fragrance to the chimney;
- a riddling rack for our wine collection;
- new personalized signage completed by my friend Paige;
- wine (lots of wine to ship back home);
- Kathe Wolfhart glass Bavarian ornaments;
- Polish, Italian and French pottery
- Reisenthal shopping basket (traditional Germany basket for grocery shopping)
One of the dreaded pre-move jobs is the task of sorting, tossing and collecting like-kind items: plastic Tupperware bowls with their lids, fancy china plates with the cherry-red chargers we use for holiday meals, stuffed animals with the assorted clothes used to dress them. Although military packers will come and put everything in boxes for you, it just seems to make good housekeeping sense to get items together so that they can be unloaded together at the next place. Our movers were scheduled for 3 days, the first 2 days typically spent boxing items and the final day, filling the crates and nailing them shut. This time, the move was just different enough to throw us off our grove. For 8 moves, our beds and bedding have been the VERY LAST items readied for the crate. We were expecting to use our beds right up until the big truck came, so we were in a quandary when on day 2 around noon, I noticed that all the rooms appeared very empty. The beds were not only dismantled, but had been wrapped in foam and readied for the crate. Since our temporary furniture wasn’t going to arrive until day 3, and we didn’t want to unwrap all that foam, we simply improvised and laid the wrapped mattresses on the floor and carefully slept on top of them. Lilly was sure that the crinkling sound was going to drive her nuts. But, she fell asleep and had a good night’s rest.
Our German packing team was friendly and finished the job before dinner on day 3. As is US military move tradition, we fed our packers lunch on two of the days. Sandwiches, chips, soda and candy bars were appreciated. As we were reviewing the final pack list with the team leader, I chuckled when he slowly went over the “high value items” list. As he checked off the stereo receiver and TVs, I kept thinking, “I don’t care about those things. Did you get the wine safely packed and on the truck?” Apparently, the term high value is in the eye of the beholder. As the truck drove away, we commented that the time here passed so quickly. Just a little more than 2 years ago, we eagerly waited for our household goods to arrive and be unloaded and unpacked in our new home in Lupburg. The newness of living overseas allowed us to overlook the fact that we didn’t have lamps, proper cookware or even enough blankets for our beds. We spent 8 weeks cobbling together a suitable assortment of 220 voltage appliances and took our first foray into European travel. And now we sit and wait in a very empty living space with a single, physical reminder of all that we experienced over the past 2 years.