We’re in Spain, not Austria, but we share a sentiment this week with Maria von Trapp. We love our favorite things! Our 29-box shipment has arrived from the US. As a consequence, we now have full bookshelves (see picture), great kitchen knives, and all of the seasons of the original – read, best – Star Trek DVDs. Life was good before, but now it’s even better.
As you know if you’ve read previous blog posts, we’ve been waiting for some time for this shipment to arrive. Last December, movers came and picked up our boxes in Texas. Tracking was spotty at first, and we arrived in Europe well before our belongings did. Having hauled bags that were stuffed to the gills, we’ve done fine on clothes and shoes, and because our apartment has been in a rental pool, we’ve had plenty of furniture, kitchen goods, linens, and the like. But we’ve been missing some of our domestic treasures, and getting word about our things finally embarking on their transatlantic voyage was a great relief. About three weeks ago, we were notified that we and our stuff were at last on the same continent. We happily filled out the shipper’s form, giving dates when we’d be out of Torrevieja and unable to receive the boxes. Then came radio silence. Zilch, zip, nada came our way, despite repeated inquiries on our part. Patience may be a virtue, but for me it’s a virtue that requires a glass of wine here or there to summon.
The wait began to come to an end, if that makes any sense, while we were in Valencia, on one of the days that we’d blocked out with the shipping company. A call to my cell came early one morning to tell us that the movers would be at our apartment later that week but while we were still in Valencia. Mark told the driver that this was impossible because we were in Valencia until Friday. The driver hung up, leaving us wondering if we’d find 29 boxes in the hall of our apartment building when we got home. Two days later, while we were still in Valencia, another driver called to say he was delivering our shipment THAT AFTERNOON. Since stress improves our Spanish so much, I think we told the driver that today was impossible. Apparently not being the philosophical sort who’d argue that today was indeed possible because we were all experiencing it, the driver did the next best thing. He hung up. Calls to the shipping company ensued, and we were assured that delivery was now set for next Tuesday. Happiness reigned, and we blocked out all day Tuesday to receive our 29 babies.
Monday morning, then, found us at a lovely little outdoor cafe, ordering breakfast and ready to dawdle over cafes con leche. And, of course, my cell rang. It was the movers, who announced in no uncertain terms that they would be at our apartment in 20 minutes. They presumably had learned from experience with us, because they didn’t wait to hear what was impossible this time. They just hung up. After a hurried spousal consultation, I ran back to the apartment. That left Mark to deal with a very confused waiter, whose impression that all Americans are crazy had just been heavily reinforced. But being a good sport, he packed Mark’s full English breakfast into one container and my fried eggs and toast into another. Mark raced home to find the movers on our doorstep. So slightly worse for the wear repasts and two young Spanish guys with more tattoos than I can count en Español arrived 25 minutes after the call, and in no time at all we had 29 boxes in the guest room and a wad of shipping paperwork in hand.
The unpacking process went smoothly, partly because we’d left lots of spaces empty in anticipation of getting our things. The dressers are now full, the closets are full but not jammed, and, most importantly, the bookshelves are stocked with favorites old and new. About the only item without a home is the knife set, but we’ll get there. The apartment feels cozier than ever, and we’ve done a fair bit of self-congratulating over the last couple of days.
That isn’t to say, of course, that there haven’t been some puzzles in the unpacking process. For example, we currently have in Spain five fingernail clippers. I assume that one’s down to me. While we were packing, I probably ran across said clippers and tossed them into a waiting receptacle. Rinse, lather, repeat – five times. But I’m not the only one who developed a wee case of packing amnesia. Mark appears to have shipped four pairs of binoculars and two monoculars. You can do your own math to determine whether four plus two equals five or six. Conversely, why didn’t I pack my nice set of hangers for the dresses and blouses in our shipment? And why did we ship the case to “Roger and Me” with no DVD in it? Life’s just full of little mysteries.
For now, I’m content to gaze adoringly at out old friends in a new place and let the comfort of familiarity seep into my bones. We are having the proverbial ball exploring new places. But having a bit of home here now with us feels mighty good.