Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Goodness Our Move

We have come full circle in the move process. Of course it must be documented on both ends - the coming and the going. Moving from the USA to Brussels was perhaps the most stressful month of my life. And I try to pride myself on being relatively calm and organized. But with so many moving pieces the blur of ends and the beginnings make my head spin. This time things were a little bit more orderly, but still crazy! There just is no graceful way to make an international move.

We left our apartment 6 weeks ago. Thankfully we connected with another expat family moving to Brussels and looking to furnish a home. We were able to sell our IKEA furniture to them - talk about a win/win! We rented a truck and reserved a parking spot in front of our building to load. Only hiccup - after spending $175 to reserve the spot for the day (highway robbery) there were 2 cars parked smack dab in between our reserved posts. How typical! I felt like a bad guy calling the police and then having them towed, but what's a moving girl to do? The recovery fees are rumored to be $400-500. I am sorry whoever owns this car!The movers were a whirling dervish of packing mayhem. It was almost relaxing to turn our mess over to them to box away and deliver. They were pros and seemed to have a special box for every type of item - wardrobe boxes, mattress box, and book boxes. Our entire apartment was boxed up within a few hours! 108 boxes. How did we have so much stuff?!? The method for getting stuff down and into our sea storage carton was incredible. They open our windows, jerry-rig this supersized conveyor and up, down, up, down the platform carries all our stuff down the 4 flights. Connor and I watched as bit by bit everything made it down the conveyor.Down she goes!And into the boat carton. I had often seen these cartons stacked on boats in ports, but never thought twice about what was inside. Now I know!Connor charmed the movers. They thought she was pretty cute and kept flashing their muscles at her. I thought we might lose out on the cute factor when they had to pack up all of her toys. It took a lot of explaining but she finally caught on.
Lisa brought us lunch. The girls had a fun time playing amongst the boxses. It made for a terrific send off.Each box was labeled and documented. We are spoiled with such exact and precise movers. Connor attempted to nap but after an hour of unrest I just pulled her crib into the main room so she could watch the action. There was no napping on this day!We couldn't believe it when everything was gone. It started to feel real that we were leaving. Very bittersweet. This apartment has been good to us - many memories here. It was hard not to feel sad and nostalgic about the life we were leaving behind.We got out and bid goodbye to our street too...On Rue Des Poissonniers our most friendly neighbor is Michel the hairdresser. They cut our hair, but more importantly they were good neighbors. Every time we passed they stopped and waved and smiled with a hearty "Bonjour" - this could happen 10 times a day and they always seemed genuinely happy to see us.Michel speaks not a lick of English, but was always patient with my French. He gave Connor a going away gift and I know I will miss his kindness. I always felt safer knowing Michel was nearby.I will also miss Gracine the grocer, the lady who fed the birds every morning and the kind young pharmacist down the road. And oh the Restaurant de la Bourse...the best mussels and frites in town!We passed the Whittamer chocolate window display too...springtime in chocolate. I will miss you wonderful Whittamer!Returning home we assessed our remaining stuff for our upcoming adventure. A month around Europe in the warmest climates and the coldest too. On budget airlines. Therefore this was all we had for 30 days for three of us! I think we deserve a packing award.Packing is an all out exhausting, emotional process. We survived!


Dallas said...

This is a sad post. When I walk by your building near Place Catherine, it will always be your building in my mind. Hope your things all arrive safe and sound. I don't look forward to packing to move overseas again -- what a task!

Jenna said...

This sounds like quite the ordeal! Kind of cool that they took everything out the window! :D Our movers just came today so I can really relate to this! How so very sad to have to say "goodbye" to everything and everyone! We are in the midst of doing all of this and I don't really like it but I am so thankful that we even had this opportunity and were able to say "Hello!".

Kelley said...

Having just moved during the past 2 days, and just spent the past month or so packing - I am QUITE jealous of your pack-all, move-all service! Whew! What a luxury!