What would you ship home from your life overseas?
We packed up our stuff in India on 5 December – remember this picture? Twelve weeks later everything has been unpacked on the distant drumlin.
The packers from Crown Relocations did a great job at both ends of the move, from wrapping each item in plenty of paper, numbering and (creatively) labelling the cardboard boxes, and carrying the heavy furniture out of an Indian villa and into an Irish farmhouse.
What happened between Palm Meadows and the distant drumlin? After our shipment was cleared by Customs authorities in India, a wooden crate was built around the boxes, and the crate was loaded inside a container for shipping. The ship was delayed at least once by port congestion in Sri Lanka, but it finally arrived in the port of Felixstowe in England, ready to face UK Customs.
Crown Relocations dismantled the wooden crate in the south of England, and waited for the wind and rain to stop. When they spotted a gap in the weather, they sent the boxes in a van by road to Scotland, by ferry across the Irish Sea to Belfast, and by road again up to the top of the drumlin.
We had one heavy item in its own crate – everything else was just in cardboard.
Here are some packing lessons, from the collective wisdom (from our foolish past experiences) of my expat friends and me.
1. If the waste-paper baskets around your home are full of rubbish on moving day, don’t pack the trash and cart it halfway round the world.
2. If you are eating breakfast when the packers come, don’t let them pack the toast inside the toaster.
3. If your serviced apartment is full of items thoughtfully provided by the letting company, don’t steal them! (This is the only one that actually happened to us. We were leaving Shanghai, and opened the boxes back in London to find coat-hangers, hairdryers and umbrellas all labelled with the landlord’s name).
4. Don’t let the movers pack your passport just before your international move.
5. Do clean the BBQ. If insects have crawled in there to explore the crumbs of meat, you may end up fumigating your new house.
6. Do bring the beautiful statue that you bought in India. Will it still look good without the backdrop of sunshine and bougainvillea? Yes of course it will.