From Cross-Country to Intercontinental

I’m fighting a bit of a cold due to the hectic schedule of late. David left on Sunday and Maggie left today. I took six days off from work to guide her around the city. It was a great time and so nice to see an old friend again. The apartment is quiet and I am sipping on green tea to soothe my sore throat. Thus commences the conclusion of my own time here in NY/NJ. With only two weeks before I head to DC, I am beginning to look around the apartment and assess the workload. Since I’ve been working full time and entertaining a house guest, I haven’t been able to really consider a “To Do” list for a pack-out and move – not only to DC, but to Saudi Arabia as well. I’ve been given a large PDF file to study regarding Foreign Service moves abroad, but up until this point, I haven’t given it much thought or energy. Suffice it to say: it’s cram time.

David has devised a color-coded system of stickers that identifies our household items for the movers as either “Long Term Storage,” “Unaccompanied Air Baggage,” or “Household Effects.” A yellow sticker means that we will keep the item here in a storage facility; a green sticker means we will be shipping the item by boat (shipment will take several months before we receive it); and a pink sticker denotes a faster-paced shipment by air (received in a few weeks). Since David is already in DC and has far fewer things than me *and* is much less particular than me, he has already completed his inventory list, so when I look at the apartment and see the majority of it is unstickered, I know that I have a lot to get done.

It’s easier to consider the apartment in terms of individual compartments like bedroom, living room, and kitchen rather than the space as a whole. When I think of each area specifically and of what it contains, I can analyze the details a little more easily. For instance, since our home in Saudi Arabia will be furnished, I know that I can pack up all the furniture for long term storage, therefore, everything in both bedrooms can get a yellow sticker except for our clothes which will come with us and should get a pink sticker. Looking at the kitchen, I know that I cannot live two years without all my cooking and baking equipment, so I will consider everything in it worth a green sticker. Finally, the living room is fairly barren, nothing I couldn’t be apart from, so everything except the TV will get a yellow sticker.

I suppose I have the bulk of it mapped out in my head, but I know once I begin stickering, I will come across sentimental items that will leave me torn – ship it or pack it? Say, for example, our framed wedding pictures and holiday decorations. Most of our belongings are replaceable if they get lost or damaged in transit, but I couldn’t replace unique Christmas gifts that were given to me or the beautiful frames that hold images of the most special day of our lives, yet I cannot imagine the holiday seasons without recreating the traditions we do every year with our decorations, or not seeing some element that represents a symbol of home. These are considerations I have to figure out. Soon.

And then there is the element of disposal. Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia is a dry nation, so I cannot bring my collection of liquor that I use for baking and cooking. I will try to take most (if not all) to DC and use it up before we leave, but no doubt, it will be painful to get rid of any and all food items that can’t be shipped. I think I will take my spices at least. Thankfully, we just moved, so there shouldn’t be too much to purge once I begin organizing. Still. How many people do you know that make a cross-country move one year, and an intercontinental move the next? If I only had a Mary Poppins bag, this would be so much easier.

My last two weeks here will be busy as I head back to work tomorrow, but I am very excited and anxious to join David in DC. We have a wonderful surprise waiting for us at our next destination…

For now, a couple pictures of NY in the spring:

Cherry Blossoms in Central Park.


Tulips in Washington Square Park.


Ellis Island where I was able to find several of my ancestors on the registry. Actually quite a surprise since I know they immigrated before 1892 when Ellis Island began operating, but apparently they kept records of travelers too.


2 thoughts on “From Cross-Country to Intercontinental

  1. Nerissa

    Hi Sara. Hope you are feeling better. What a task indeed to sort out household and personal items for the next move.
    The photos were terrific. Glad you were able to see Ellis Island. I am sure your mom would be happy to hear about your visit.

  2. Pingback: Packing for the Unknown | Chintzy

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