Today the shipment arrived from Texas. What a lot of stuff! While it was nice to see some things from home, a part of me wanted to send the big truck right back to the warehouse and tell them to give it all away! The irony of Foreign Service life is that they arrange it so you live with next to nothing for 4 months while you are at training and until your things arrive in country, so you get used to living with very little. Then, all your stuff comes and you wonder why on earth you decided to pack so much stuff and how on earth you will fit it all into your assigned house! It also reminded me strongly how much of a consumer society we are in American. I mean, I have 4 wardrobe boxes of hanging clothes and 3 large boxes of regular clothes and shoes. I mean, I'm not even a socialite! I have been getting along fine all these months with the clothes I bought in Washington and the few things I packed in my suitcases from Texas. I think I will do what other FS classmates have suggested...give a lot of my clothes away to needy Africans.
A recommendation to Foreign Service people who might be packing up for their first assignment. "Take half of what you think you will need." Literally, living a simple life is much easier. We go on assignment to meet people and work hard. We don't spend much time at home and having to manage a bunch of American stuff just seems silly. Bring what you really love and leave the rest behind. Here are a few funny stories about what arrived today:
*My bike is here! It still has my racing number on it from the last sprint triathlon. I would dearly love to ride it...but it's not a possibility here in Freetown. The streets are crowded with people, dogs, kids, chickens, broken down trucks, pot holes, street vendors. Smooth is not a part of the road structure and there are no shoulders or sidewalks. My bike will probably become a patio decoration!
*Somehow I ended up with the coffee table that matches the German furniture that I did NOT bring! That reminds me that moving day in Texas was so chaotic that some things got in the wrong shipment. The table was supposed to go into storage. Oh well. Not a big deal.
*I ended up with the mattress for the German bed that I also did NOT bring. I even got the sheets for that bed; which are double and I don't have a double bed here. Oh well. Maybe I will make a curtain out of the sheets!
*I brought my massive oak desk at the last minute because my first apartment was so crappy that the desk was inadequate. Now I have a nice State Department desk in my new apartment and a huge monster desk from Texas. Well, it could be worse, I could have no desk, right?
*I only had one thing arrive damaged and that was a metal candle stand that I bought at a garage sale. It says Made in China on the bottom, so that explains it. Not a problem.
I can't wait to unpack my kitchen things and start baking. I didn't have any measuring cups in the "Welcome kit" and I miss my banana bread! I also can't wait to unpack my own dishes. I think I have a "dish" fetish. I really like my colorful polish pottery and my china. Eating off white Corelle just does not make meal times interesting; much less fun for entertaining.
Enough about moving. I have boxes to unpack!
Hope all is well in your corner of the world,