Presents from our former selves…

Our shipment from the States arrived today! After numerous headaches and back-and-forth between California and Bremen, we FINALLY have our stuff! It’s like Christmas in Julaugust (as Kevin has said). It’s really nice being surrounded by familiar things—it makes the apartment feel much more like a home.

I was APPALLED by the condition of the boxes we shipped. Just take a look! It looks like they carefully stacked all the boxes up, then knocked the whole thing over onto its side and jumped on it a few times. These were U-Haul boxes, so they weren’t cheap ones, were supposed to be sturdy—but most of them broke open to some extent, and several items were damaged (not enough, of course, to deal with insurance, as my deductible was $400).

The extent of the damage:

  • My rolling laundry rack lost 3 casters and one bar clip—I was able to contact the manufacturer, and get replacements sent to me for a total of about $9.
  • One of my sweaters was ruined when the box broke and oil, grease, or something got all over it (it looked like it rubbed up against something greasy/dirty).
  • Several of our boardgames got slightly crushed—damage to the boxes only, not the contents, thank goodness!
  • One or two books were slightly bent, but nothing serious.

All in all, not too bad, but aggravating. We were just glad to have our stuff back!

As it turns out, I was smarter in packing than I knew. Besides the obvious (dissertation books and electronica, comfy leather chair, winter clothes), here are a few examples of my brilliance in packing:

  • My iron skillet: I’ve had it about 15 years, used it all the time in Athens, and can’t imagine cooking without it. I also bought a roll for my knives, and shipped them. I figure I’m just bringing them back home (they’re Wusthof).
  • US measuring cups / spoons: I’d forgotten I’d packed these, but boy was I glad when I opened the box! They’re impossible to find here, and I was facing ordering them from the US.
  • Staple foods: things like peanut butter, Apriva (Splenda), Jittery Joe’s coffee, and the Balance Bars I love so much. I knew we couldn’t find these things easily (if at all), so we shipped some with. Peanut butter is a gourmet item here, very expensive. Splenda I can’t find at all, and I have yet to find a German coffee I like as well as the Joe.
  • Power converters and a Squid: My sister’s brother-in-law (does that make him my in-law once removed?) invented the Power Squid, a marvel of power technology. I love this thing, and I wasn’t about to leave it behind. I have it plugged into a converter, and our US electronics plugged into it.
  • DVDs: We bought a couple Case Logic DVD cases which hold 400 DVDs each, which was enough to store our entire DVD collection after taking them out of their cases—a bunch of plastic we didn’t need to carry around. We were able to keep the inserts, though.
  • PS2: Besides being one of our two major game consoles (the other being the Wii, which also plays Gamecube games), the PS2 is a DVD player, complete with remote control! Works great for all our Region 1 movies, and we’re planning to buy a German DVD player for the Region 2 movies we already have and plan to buy in Germany. I have a region-free DVD player in storage back in GA, but there was no point in bringing it since I was fairly certain it wouldn’t work here (not only is the voltage different—220 vs. 110—but the cycles as well—50 vs. 60 Hz.).
  • Sewing Kit: I knew there was no point bringing my machine—it’s in storage—but the rest of my sewing kit came with me. I have a great rolling case I bought from Hancock Fabrics, which holds my machine and all the paraphernalia that goes along with it. I simply left the machine and put the rest of the case pieces inside the main case, then stuck it all in a shipping box. That means I have all my sewing stuff, and Sheridan has her quilting and such as well—we just need a machine. Maybe I’ll find a used one.
  • Posters: Last but not least, I rolled up every poster and art print I had at home and at school into a large tube and stuck it in the wardrobe box—now we have stuff to put on the walls!

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