November 25th, Dad and I went to the US Post Office with 10, perfectly wrapped and labeled boxes. Inside were some clothes, my CDs, household stuff and many of the gifts I received from my friends in Japan. We anticipated sending the boxes via surface mail, which usually takes a couple of months. But upon arrival at the post office, we were told that that surface has been canceled. So we opted for the cheapest – 10 day priority mail. And paid on average $130 per box. Ouch.
I don’t have much in life – in terms of ‘things’ anyway. In fact, aside from what you see in this photo, I have an antique dresser and table, and 8 plastic bins in storage, mostly filled with childhood mementos and oodles of photos. Oh – and I refuse to throw away my high school and college formal dresses. Just can’t do it! But that’s it. Before I left for Japan, I had a huge yard sale and felt so liberated in getting rid of my ‘stuff’. And I lived pretty simply in Japan. I like to keep it that way. I did manage to collect a few things in Japan, and certainly was given a number of beautiful gifts upon my departure. I also packed up keepsakes from my travels, college and more. The items in the boxes are my favorite treasures.
In the suitcases were all of the things I felt that I would need sooner rather than later. And I packed so that all of my business clothes and shoes were in the blue suitcase, so that I could have easy access. Good plan. The suitcase system has worked out well, since in my dinky hotel room, I have no space to open all three suitcases.
As I am moving into my new apartment later this week – I am looking forward to spreading out and unpacking. Except that my boxes have still not arrived. It’s been nearly a month. And I am trying to stay calm and not panic, but I’ve heard too many horror stories now. A large part of me will be devastated (not to mention angry) if I never see these boxes, if the contents have been invasively examined/unwrapped, stolen or damaged. I am also afraid of what taxes I may have to pay, simply because it’s a good chance to make some money, not because I am actually brining anything new or valuable to the country. I also have to laugh because I hope they don’t open the two vacuum bags of clothes – won’t that be a shock for them when the stack magically poofs up to 4x the size! How will they get those clothes back in the box?
I’m not holding my breath, but I will hold out hope that these boxes arrive soon. I’m having Dad check with the US Post Office to see if they were logged in in Vietnam. After that, there’s really nothing else for me to do but wait. Patiently. Please. Toto, we are SO not in Kansas anymore!
My worldly possessions – My suitcases and boxes, safe and sound in my parents’ living room. Can you guess which four items have made it to Vietnam and which ten haven’t?
On the Bright Side,
Here I am with my 10 boxes, three check-ins and one carry-on. Not sure if it’s good or bad that my life is so compact! Of course, we can’t see my 8 bins in the storage shed! This photo was taken yesterday, just before my dad and I hauled all those boxes to the Post Office.
While I have often commented that everything in life is negotiable, I can confidently inform you that that rule does not apply to shipping fees. I tried my best to get a “well prepared” discount, as some dude didn’t even have his boxes taped up. I pleaded for a holiday discount. I posed a “good helper” discount, as my dad and I helped stamp documents and put stickers on boxes. Discount for 10 boxes? Cuz we’re nice? Pretty please? Veronica just smiled and shook her head. Not negotiable. Bummer! I just hope that the staff member I get at the airline counter in two days will be more lenient with baggage fees. Fingers crossed.
Two more days. In between today and my departure is Thanksgiving. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and enjoy time spent with your loved ones. I’m especially thinking of my friends Bobby and Jeff…I hope they know how much they are loved, how many people are supporting them, are thinking about them and are thankful for them. They are two incredibly special people.
The next time you hear from me, I will have landed in Hanoi, started my exciting and already-busy, new job and hopefully will be settled into an apartment or house. Let the adventurous blogging resume!
Safe, healthy and happy holidays to you!
On the Bright Side,