Assuming that everything happens as planned, we'll be on a plane out of the country in just about a month. I had been ignoring the massive amount of work that an international pack-out tends to entail, telling myself I couldn't even begin to plan until we had our housing assignment. Well, we got that on Friday (thank you, GSO Moscow!), and received our top choice - an apartment on the compound in the city! Yay!
So, that's really exciting, except ... now I can't put off packing anymore.
If you know what packing entails when you're in the Foreign Service, you might wonder why I'm complaining. After all, they send movers to actually put things in the boxes and lug all the heavy stuff out. It's a far cry from December 2002, when I packed up my apartment in Hartford, CT, to move to Juneau, AK. Whatever fit in and on top of my car went with me. Everything else went to Goodwill.
Now that I'm married (to a major packrat) and have a baby (who requires a lot more stuff than I initially thought), life isn't quite that simple. We need to make a list of things-we-can't-live-without-and-that-aren't-easily-or-inexpensively-available-in-Moscow. Things like, I'm guessing, additive-free laundry detergent, brown sugar, fajita seasoning, chipotle flavor Tabasco sauce, whole-wheat flour, Oxyclean, baby food and infant Tylenol, just to name a few. Then we have to go out and buy these things in bulk so that they can be packed out with the rest of our stuff.
Then we have to sort our belongings into four categories: 1) stuff we will want immediately (to fit in suitcases and lug on the plane); 2) stuff we will want almost immediately (not to exceed 650 lbs and to be sent via air a week or two after we arrive in country); 3) stuff we will want eventually (to be sent by sea, which usually takes about three months to arrive); and 4) stuff we won't need in Moscow (to be put into storage here).
In the past, I've actually divided up all my belongings into separate rooms - one for air freight, one for sea freight, one for storage. But the amount of things we own, plus the existence of our close-to-seven-month-old, makes that a bit difficult at the moment. Maybe we'll try post-it notes? Wish us luck.