The Home Stretch

At looong last – after over 4 month since they picked up our stuff in Phoenix, our only worldly possessions have cleared customs in Rotterdam and are making their way to the moving company’s storage in Alicante. That’s only two hours from us. It hardly seems real.

When I reached out to our shipper in late April asking for an update, they told me our stuff would be here in Valencia by May 23rd. But I just found out that it didn’t leave the US until May 3rd, so it would have been a miracle if it had. Then when they missed that by a week and I asked for another ETA they said June 12th. On the 12th, they emailed me and said it would reach Rotterdam on the 19th. It did but with some hiccups and holds.

In my typical fashion, our stuff had been ‘randomly selected’ by customs (or the Universe, I swear it!) and we had to pay $450 to get it out of ‘on hold status’. Making this payment proved a challenge since our US shipper (agent of origin) is a complete bunch of nincompoops (always wanted to use that word and, in this case it’s too appropriate not to). It took them two days to figure it out. Eventually, I just paid the customs clearance guy in Holland and got it done.

I can hardly believe that our things are on European soil. Sure they’re several countries away but they are making their way south, across the continent. I’m crossing my fingers that bandits don’t hijack the truck, it doesn’t catch fire in a lightening storm, it doesn’t roll off the mountainside in the Pyrenees (why they would go that way I have no idea), or one of the other disaster scenarios that keep me awake at night.

It sounds far fetched. I mean, how could any or all of that happen to one little shipment, for one little person – me? It’s because I’m me, that’s why. If all our stuff has been invaded by the dreaded ocean going water termite (yes, I made that up) it wouldn’t shock me in the least. So now we have other stuff to concern ourselves with.

Once the stuff gets to Alicante, they will call me and arrange a date of delivery in early July. I will then reach out to a guy I know here in Valencia who will – crossing my fingers – go with me to the town hall and arrange for a permit where I block off the sidewalk of cars for 48 hours in preparation for my delivery. I will not yet arrange for the crane until the couch is actually here. We will put it in our parking space in the garage, measure it 10 times. Then measure our living room window on the 7th floor 11 times, and then either call the crane company, or locate some storage and move it there.

What will I be happy to see in all those little boxes? Well, all my summer clothes that I thought would be here (yes, they promised me they would be) two months ago. I’d like some variety and some other shoes. Jeff is looking forward to wearing more than just the two pairs of shorts he currently enjoys. He wears one, I wash one. Ugh.

I’m looking forward to pictures. Photos and a couple of paintings. We may have actual art on our walls. Towels and summer sheets. Our bikes and sports equipment – golf clubs. An omelet pan! It’s all coming! It will be like Christmas in July – literally JULY!! I’m chewing a little glass over that.

But we’re in the home stretch and our focus will shift to the one final thing we need to tackle before winter. Getting our driving licenses. But Jeff is on the case – I can only worry about so many things myself. And he’s located a couple of schools in English in the area so we can investigate further and get legal before October 31st rolls around.

But before that, I’ll be unpacking boxes soon. Hugging my precious shoes and handbags, saying a lot of ‘Oh yeah, I forgot I had this’ and ‘Why the hell did I bring this?!’. But it’s all good. I figure it’s a lot like having a baby. Once it’s here, you forget about the pain, the swelling and bloating and just enjoy your 325 square feet of joy. And with any luck, I’ll be sitting on part of it in my living room enjoying a cold glass of sangria very soon.

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