Why, yes! Yes, I have….thank you for noticing! No seriously….it turns out we did lose a lot of weight here in Brazil – about 1000 pounds of stuff.
Last you heard from me, we were in the midst of preparing for pack-out and I was trying to figure out how to break the news to Luca that his toys will be embarking on a journey in the very near future – without him. Last Wednesday, the movers arrived (on Brazilian time, of course, an hour late) and while I had initial doubts that the move would be completed in the estimated two days, our apartment was more or less empty by Thursday afternoon (fortunately, we still have post furniture and our ‘welcome kit’ consisting of basic kitchenware and linens….very unfortunately, that kit did not include a much-needed corkscrew – federal budget cuts, I guess, right?).
Where were we? Right – back to our weight. Packing logistics in FS life are quite “exciting” and one is always and eternally concerned with how much weight one has sitting at home that one is supposed to be schlepping around the globe as we are only allotted certain weights per move. Household goods, for example, can go up to 7,200 pounds (which yes, sounds like a lot but you have to figure in packaging as well which can add pounds much like those pesty cameras do when you see yourself on photos/film). We were never really concerned about having too much weight as we arrived with about 5,000 pounds of goods and did not buy anything heavy here (I did mention how freaking expensive everything is here, right?) and we finally upgraded our in-home electronics (hello, kindle!) so that we were able to get rid of literally hundreds of pounds of books (if you have an interest in sociology/psychology and microfinance/MBA, I might suggest you visit the consulate library for some insightful reading). We also cleaned out the kids’ stuff (good-bye crib, baby toys, and baby clothes) so that was another couple of hundred pounds that rolled right off. All in all – our household effects going to Vienna are less than 3,000 pounds (about 500 additional ones are each going into storage and by airfreight to DC) – not bad, right?
How did the kids fare seeing their goods packed up in boxes? Well, it’s a lot for them to digest, of course. Juliana doesn’t seem to mind one bit – considering she’s a year old, that’s not too surprising. It’s been a bit tougher for Luca although we prepared him as best as we could but then again, we often think we have rational and perhaps even insightful conversations with him only to find out a few minutes later that he is really, barely 3 years old and really doesn’t quite understand the world like we do. Fortunately, we held onto a favorite book illustrating various modes of transportation including a picture of a container ship with containers so when he asks where his toys or stuffed animals are, we turn to the book and talk about his toys going on a journey (turns out his stuffed monkey is hanging out on his snack table, riding his scooter car, and reading “Moo Baa Lalala” while looking out the window….who knew?). Now that the initial frustration, sadness, and tears (and tantrums) are starting to wane, he is really coping well with the limited toys we have at home and embracing our more creative endeavors like building playhouses and making a mess with finger paint. (Fine, I am actually more surprised with how much more creative I have gotten!).
Who needs train tracks, streets, or garages when you can draw and color them yourself?