Monday, August 4, 2014

Wrapping Things Up

First, an update on our tandem bidding situation. Paul recently got a Washington, D.C.–based job, which we are told he would be able to do out of Addis Ababa, my next post. We don’t have all the details about his job yet but are majorly relieved that we may actually be together!

Otherwise, our summer has been as hectic as ever. Before we knew it, we found ourselves with less than a month left in India. Someone definitely hit the fast-forward button on us. I am not ready to go. I haven’t seen enough of India, I haven’t experienced enough, I haven’t tasted enough, and I certainly haven’t shopped enough (and there’s not enough time left to rectify that.) So thinking about leaving is hard for me. Though I have to say some of us are readier than others.

In any case, we have been down-sizing. We sold our car, which is great because we won’t have to worry about having someone else sell it for us after we leave but now we don’t have a car, which is a pain in the hiney and is really getting in the way of my shopping.

We had a sale last weekend and it was nuts. I have been pretty good of getting rid of things throughout our tour – especially kids clothes, shoes, toys and books. I gave tons of stuff to our household help as well as other people’s help, and friends and neighbors, with kids younger than ours. We also made a donation of clothes and books to a school in Uttar Pradesh.

What we hadn’t been good about  was getting rid of my and Paul’s older clothes and some housey-things that we had been lugging around since before we left Florida. We  decided to do a sale a couple of months ago and spent the time since combing through our stuff deciding what we truly need. There were a lot of things that we brought to India but never used. I realized that I had clothes, which sat unworn in space bags under our beds since we came here. Those were clothes that I love but had unfortunately “outgrown.” India has not been good for my waistline and I need to do something about it but there was no point in sitting on a bunch of those clothes for leaner times, which should come but may not.

Then there were a bunch of tools – drills and saws, sanders, and all kinds of other crazy stuff you accumulate when you own a home, which we didn’t use any longer, since we are really not supposed to do house maintenance on the government housing we get to live in.

Last but not least, there were boxes and bags of paper – documents about things we no longer own, tax records, school records, bills paid and all kinds of other stuff that we didn’t need to keep anymore.

All of that stuff was dead weight, which is not ideal to keep under any circumstances but when you have a home and some storage, you get lazy and don’t worry about hanging on to stuff like that. Now, however, we are getting ready to leave post. We have two shipments out of Delhi but only one into Addis Ababa because Paul’s job is D.C.-based and he won’t get a weight allowance for Addis. So we had a monster shred weekend (and we are still shredding) and we sold a bunch of stuff last weekend. And it feels good – cathartic and liberating in a way but also a little sad to go through all your old things, reminisce about the good (and not so good) old times but find a way let go and move on…

For our sale we worked with a lady, who had helped some of our friends lighten their loads before. She has a list of folks outside the embassy community, who I guess are very interested in things embassy folks have because let me tell you when the sale started, it was out of control. It was supposed to be an auction but for the first hour or so it was utter chaos. We had an issue with folks getting in on the Embassy Enclave and the lady who helped us with the sale was trying to work it out with the security guards, while I was trying to keep customers at bay. It was impossible. Everyone wanted everything all at once and it was insane to try to do it in an orderly fashion. The electronics went very fast – we had a bunch of things we weren’t using any more – a surround sound system, a laptop, a tablet, several cameras, a GPS and a few other things. People snapped those up in no time. Then went the books. A couple of people were all over the books and bought them all in two big lots. The toys, kids clothes and bedding were also hot and so were the tools. We had a couple of older tents  and a few lawn chairs that went fairly quickly too. I had to bargain really hard for some things but others totally surprised me. We got $12 for a zip-lock bag of old nail polish! People also bid like crazy on lots of odds and ends that I thought we’d have a hard time getting rid of. Men’s clothes were popular too – I am guessing that’s because most of our buyers were men. Women’s clothes, not so much. I did sell most of my “outgrown” clothes but I practically gave them away because people were just not that interested. I guess they didn’t like my style. We weren’t able to sell most of our old shoes though. I think it was the timing. By the time we got to them, it was late and most of the buyers had left. We are also left with a few 110 V appliances but that’s OK. Those didn’t absolutely have to go. All in all, we are very happy with the sale – we lightened our weight considerably and made a few rupees in the process.

Now, we can focus on the rest of the pre-departure stuff. Our tickets have been purchased (we are told). Our furniture inspection is today. Our pre-packout survey and the pack-out itself have been scheduled. Everyone except me is up-to-date on their vaccinations. I have one more shot to go. Housing in Virginia is reserved. Nia is signed up for school in Falls Church for the first semester. We still need to sign her up for school in Ethiopia for the second semester. We still have our check-out lists to fight with but we’ll get there.

Just thinking about all that makes me tired but we have one last trip in India ahead of us. We are going to Ladakh (up in the Himalayas) in mid-August and we are beyond excited.


  1. Glad to hear things are at least mostly coming together with the posting stuff. Hopefully it continues to go go smoothly and the worst is behind you! Will you be in training for a bit, or is Nia staying with Paul for a while? Enjoy those last delicious meals while you can! Though there's some good stuff waiting in Addis too.

  2. That is amazing news about Paul's job! I've never heard of that happening in the FS (why on earth not?) and I'm so happy for you! Great job on the yard sale- sounds crazy!


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