Monday, June 6, 2016

1 1/2 days later

Fastest packout ever. By 1 p.m. on Thursday all our belongings (save what fits in our suitcases) was wrapped, boxed, crated, and driven away. It's a liberating feeling. Stuff is nice to have, but when it's not around, we realize how little of it means anything. The house echoes, there's more dust lingering that I could have imagined, and the borrowed bed linens are far from comfortable, but it's all easy when there's no office to go to and we can spend our time checking out and saying our goodbyes.

Ramadan begins today, and so there's a new layer to our "empty" lives. Our regular morning walk to Starbucks is canceled. The market around the corner doesn't open until 11 a.m. which meant being, ahem, judicious with the toilet paper until we could buy more. No more drinking and eating in public. If we smoked we'd have to give that up too. In public at least.

This afternoon we wait for the inventory check of household furnishings. As we echo through the rooms, each item will be ticked off and the condition it's in. I wasn't as organized as I should have been, I didn't keep the receipts each time an item was picked up (way too many wing chairs and lamps) or dropped off (new washing machines and bunk beds). And after 4 years, 4 kids, and 3-4 cats, some of the furniture has simply seen better days, primarily the items in our den where we spent our family time watching TV, eating pizza, helping with homework, hanging out on the computers, playing board games, or rollicking through the worlds of Minecraft or Lego Dimensions. Some items invariably go missing (I sure hope that transformer didn't get packed).  And some are irreparable (sorry, patio furniture, the wind in this city is unforgiving sometimes).

And so we complete our finishing touches. A box stands in the kitchen waiting for random items that were neglected during packout but certainly don't need to travel with us to the U.S. (work gloves, chopsticks). Other boxes waits for foodstuffs as donations to our housekeeper and our neighbors. Mail keys are gathered to return to the DPO. Suitcases are open and flowing with clothes to be sifted and repacked. Meals are still holding together... Saturday night pasta. Chicken and veggies on Sunday night.  Tonight is a chicken and rice dish. Tomorrow is more chicken... OK, I buy a lot of chicken. I don't like lamb, the kids don't like fish, beef is expensive, so chicken it is.

All in all, we're in a good place as we steadily work on our formal checkout list for the Embassy and our informal list of goodbyes.

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