Moving Matters

After a couple busy weeks of getting everything in order to move overseas (think government passports, sorting orders, a few briefings, microchipping Kaia, medical clearance, etc.), John left for training in Dallas and then St. Louis on April 6th. We tried to motivate ourselves to pack as much as possible before he left, but there’s only so much you can do until right before the movers arrive. It’s also pretty un-homey to live among boxes and sad, bare walls for weeks. Kaia seemed to know exactly what was going on and made a point of climbing into empty boxes to ensure she couldn’t be forgotten.

We were miserably unprepared to leave Los Angeles. I think we might’ve started packing the night before our movers arrived. While our apartment was quite small and we didn’t have much stuff, that’s not a strategy I’d recommend to anyone! This time around, we were in a much better place with a few key “lessons learned” to keep in mind:

Yes, the military moves us (unless we elect to do so ourselves). And the company they contract will pack our stuff. But….

1. Your idea of “packed” and the movers’ definition might be quite different.

When we unpacked in Columbus, we discovered that my wedding dress had been crumpled beneath John’s skis and our outdoor equipment. Our kitchen drawers had haphazardly been emptied into boxes.  Our nice knives were “packed” totally unwrapped- just tossed into a box with all of our flatware and several (consequently ruined) books.


2. The more organized you are before a move, the better. 

This is certainly an ongoing process, one I’m sure is just about perfected by the seasoned military family. We’ll get there in time… 

3. Never underestimate the power of fresh snickerdoodles. 

They may have considerable influence over your movers’ motivation to do their job well. Also helpful are tunes. Lots of tunes.

4. Accept help. 

…maybe especially if you happen to be pregnant and otherwise alone.

I was incredibly humbled by my friends in Columbus who gave so much of their time and energy to help me prep the house for our final inspection. It takes a special someone to be willing to scrub your bathroom or detail your buggy window tracks. Looking back now, I can’t imagine having done it without them!

5. Simplify. Always. 

Since we’re going to be doing this fairly often, we want to use each move as an opportunity to reevaluate our stuff. We’d like to live by this adage:

With an overseas move, this is a bit more clear-cut in some ways. For example, it didn’t make sense to hold on to several appliances we know we’d have to store in Germany due to the electrical incompatibility. Some things are fine with adapters and transformers, but other things just aren’t worth the risk.We sold and donated quite a bit before packing up and now that we’re here, we’re thankful! German homes really don’t have storage, period. 

6. In the end, it’s all just stuff. 

Things will be lost and damaged. It’s inevitable. We actually heard an account of one person’s shipment which was lost at sea…twice. He lost all of his belongings both en route to an overseas assignment and again on the way back! Obviously his is an unusual case; if nothing else, it makes for a really crazy story! 
Our stuff certainly helps to make a new place more homey, but it does not define us. Home is wherever we are together and, ultimately, we know that heaven is our home. I wonder if one advantage to a transient, military life is the reminder that we are but sojourners on this earth. 
—–Wrapping up this post several months after our initial move from Mississippi, we’re finally sitting among the last of the mostly-unpacked boxes. There’s nothing like sleeping in your own bed again and preparing meals in your own kitchen! We’re thankful that our stuff arrived intact and that we are able to so quickly settle here-all things considered, we couldn’t ask for a much smoother process. We are incredibly relieved to see the pieces falling into place as we figure out our new life here in Germany. Discovering and dusting off this post has been a helpful reminder of how far we have come and of the Lord’s abundant goodness to us each step of the way!

Goodbye, 4119 Mississippi. It’s been quite a year!

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