Packing is one of my least favorite things in the world. What to bring for the trip, what to leave home. Who knows? So, I usually end up throwing everything in the bag to give myself maximum options when I arrive at my destination. That strategy has generally served me well for weekend getaways and summer vacations. Moving overseas for two years? Not so much.
Packing for our move was divided into four categories. In late November, we did an AIR SHIPMENT of about 1,000 pounds - which is not as much as it seems - of household goods that we would need immediately. This arrived right before New Year's, just a day ahead of me and The Lads. Top of the list of things I would need right away were my Mac, Bose, some clothes and shoes. Same for The Lads and The Husband, plus the DVD player and our Wii. All the best Egyptian cotton is exported, so we also had to repatriate our sheets and towels. The embassy hooked us up with some basic pots, pans, flatware, dishes, etc. until the rest of our household goods - everything from trashcans to soccer balls to wine glasses and shower curtains - will arrive by SEA SHIPMENT on the very slow boat to Cairo in late February or early March. Please cross your fingers for me for late February. I really miss those wine glasses.
Our apartment in Cairo is fully furnished in the finest government-issued furniture, so, with the exception of our king-sized marital bed and mattress (standard issue is queen, and The Husband and I long ago discovered that a big bed was one of the secrets of a long marriage), all of our furniture went into STORAGE.
The rest, The Lads and I CARRIED to Cairo ourselves in 7 pieces of luggage that just barely met the maximum size and weight (my father carefully weighed each bag and helped us strategically reallocate kilos) allowed by the airlines and a backpack each with enough DVDs, ipods, ipads, travel-sized games, neck pillows, eyemasks, earplugs and Christmas candy to keep ourselves entertained, cozy and hopped up on sugar for a trip to the moon and back.
Families fly Coach to their overseas postings. However - because in the frenzy of leaving my job, packing up and renting my house, preparing for Christmas, flying to Alabama to meet my new niece and nephew, and saying goodbye to family and friends I either put their plane tickets on the slow boat to Cairo or into long-term storage - our cats Kitty O'Shea and Banshee flew First Class. On my dime. Merry Christmas, kitties.
To break up the trip, O, A and I stopped over in Frankfurt. There, we got some much-needed, if off-hour sleep, then hit the town for some German culture (pretzels, Käsekrainers and the purchasing and wearing of faux-alpine caps for the boys; a nice Pilsner for me), followed by more sleep, waking up at 3AM in the morning, hanging out in our Gemütlichkeit robes and watching the highly inappropriate (or as O says, inappro-pro) for children Little Fockers until early morning breakfast at the hotel and back to the airport for our flight to Cairo.
/lkm in Cairo