Singapore Adventure

Thursday, May 26, 2005

packing out (venitha)
by jima

Packing, moving, unpacking! We're in the midst of a week of insane activity: we packed out our air and sea shipments to Singapore on Monday, and Marilyn (Jim's mom) is moving into our house today. The timing of all of the moving has worked out great so far, but it's left all three of us pretty exhausted and feeling a bit ungrounded. It's wonderful that we've still got two weeks (only two weeks!) left, so we don't have to leave Marilyn with a big mess!

On Monday, three wiry Hispanic guys packed and moved our belongings destined for Singapore, making us wonder what ethnicity the guys who do the unpacking will be. At least we speak enough Spanish to be polite; we're going to have to get busy listening to the Pimsleur Mandarin class I just got, although Jim's bet is that the unpackers will be Malay. If that's the case, all I know is "tida apa", meaning "it doesn't matter" (though to a degree far more apathetic than is indicated by this literal translation), which I would hope isn't a phrase I'll have to use as they unpack broken dish after broken dish.

I'll be very surprised if anything is broken, though, because they used a shocking amount of paper and tape, wrapping absolutely everything VERY well, making us wonder if moving our belongings like this can possibly be cost-effective. We're actually taking up very little of our allowed space: the truck they brought had the 20-foot container that we're allowed, and it was laughable how empty it was. We get this same amount of space on the way back, so I guess we just get to shop a lot while we're there. Shopping is a favorite pasttime of Singaporeans, so if this passion infects us, we're likely to return after two years with a full container and a lot of debt. This would require quite a transformation on both of our parts: neither one of us likes to shop.

We're taking almost no electronics (our stuff won't work there) and for furniture just a bed, two recliners, and three end tables. I've read that one of the top complaints of expats in Singapore is mildew, so hopefully it will all survive the weather. We're not taking any pictures that can't be easily replaced, but thanks to digital photography, lots of all the great photos of family and friends that we had up in our house here will go with us and help turn our apartment into a home.

We have yet to stumble across any huge cache of our belongings that we forgot to ship, so now we just have to hope that it all gets there safely and that everything we're intending to carry with us will fit in our suitcases. And, of course, that Marilyn's belongings will all fit into our house now so we aren't out renting a storage locker this afternoon! (I'm currently at my house, awaiting the arrival of the full moving van from Marilyn's house.) All of this really does make me think that we all have waaaay too much stuff, and hopefully I'll manage to make this attitude last for a while in Singapore.