Friday, August 3, 2012

We're Movin' Out

Despite packing and organizing bit by bit for about a week in advance, we found ourselves scrambling on the last day to get everything in order and out the door. To be fair, this is because everything we own has to go on our backs or in our hands, and it was hard to know exactly what that amount looked like until we started packing. I had also put off a large scanning job until, oh, you know, the night before/morning of the move, and I spent a good 8 hours scanning and shredding when I should have been folding and packing.

I know that most people, when moving overseas, do something like pack a suitcase or two and then mail a box or two or seven. When I moved to Japan, I had a big suitcase and a small carry on, and then I shipped a huge box of winter clothes surface mail, so they arrived right when the weather started to turn. We decided not to go that route for two reasons- money and money. As it turns out, it costs about $700 to ship a slim 10 pounds from America to Albania. That's the first money issue- shipping is just obscene. The other money issue is that our entire apartment was furnished for a little over $200 thanks to local thrift stores, and we aren't knick-knack people, and most of our clothes were old and kind of full of holes- well loved hoodies with elbow vents, or well worn jeans patched all over. Basically, it would be cheaper to just give everything back to Goodwill, toss the hole filled clothes and old shoes, and start over in Albania. Once I had given away 75% of my closet, things were looking like this:

That's all seasons, all occasions, from snow pants and winter jackets to workout clothes and jeans, work slacks to cocktail dresses. That's also all the shoes/bras/underwear/swimsuits/socks/you get the picture. I thought this looked pretty lean. Once I started packing my backpack, I quickly realized I would have to get rid of about 50% more.

In the end, with the exception of a little trunk, a small filing box, and two small boxes of keepsakes (all living at our parents' houses for now) we gave away everything except clothes/electronics/camping supplies (we love to hike and camp, and our gear was expensive, and we thought it might come in handy if a fun opportunity presents itself). This is me with everything we own in the world:

I'd been on a train for 2+ days and hadn't had a shower in almost 3- focus on the luggage.
We each carry a hiking backpack, pull a rolling suitcase, and carry an odd bag/extra small backpack. I think my pack weighs about 50 pounds, which is about average for carrying a pack, so it's not too bad.

From everything I've read, Albania has tons of stores to get everything you might need or want, sartorially speaking, so we'll just fill in the blanks of clothes/shoes when we get there. For now, everything we actually need we have, and a lot of people can't say the same, so we're not complaining.

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