I am an experienced mover. By my calculation I have moved no less than 15 times in my life, not counting all the toing and froing from college dorms. So far. Granted, for many of those I was just a kid and for the majority of them I was not the main responsible party. But I am certainly not unfamiliar with the process of packing up, picking up, and starting over somewhere else. I like to think I am pretty good at it by now.
You might think it gets easier with practice. You might also think that moving State-style would be a piece of cake. After all, there are people to arrange all the packing and shipping and ticket-buying for you. You don’t have to pay for any of it. At packout time you don’t even have to lift a finger to put a single item into a single box; you can just sit back in a lounge chair with a nice cold lemonade while the moving company does all the work. How tough can it be?
First of all, it may well get easier with practice, but moving is never less than a giant pain in the ass. And yes, State has does people who will arrange some things for you. But who arranges the arranging? You, the person moving. It is your job to track down who exactly is responsible for processing your travel orders and calling up the movers and booking your plane tickets, and then to make sure that the people who are supposed to do these things actually do them, correctly, and in a timely fashion. It is not always entirely obvious who is in charge of what and how you can reach them. Things also have to be done in the proper order, but it’s up to you to figure out what that order is. Sometimes it seems like it would be easier to just do it all yourself.
And packing? On a lounge chair with lemonade? Not unless you don’t care if all of your stuff goes to the right place or gets there in decent condition. In real life there are hours and hours devoted to packout before the movers arrive, prepacking some of your stuff and dividing your earthly possessions into piles depending on which shipment it’s going in, or if you’re bringing it along in a suitcase. And then once the movers arrive it’s bedlam, as you rush around trying to keep an eye on three people at once, making sure the movers don’t pack your wine glasses under your rock collection or throw any embassy-owned furniture into the mix. (The exact same stuff will be there waiting for you in the next place.) I was pretty impressed with the movers though; those guys rolled through my house like Katamaris, packing everything in sight, but it looks like things are well wrapped and should survive the voyage. I hope.
Now that the insanity is over my house feels weirdly empty. I think it’s worse than when I moved in before my stuff arrived because then the house was just another new place and now it’s home. Home, but stripped of everything that’s mine except three suitcases and a few upgrades I’m leaving for the next occupant. And the cat of course, who spent two days hiding under the bed while the moving was going on, but seems to have recovered now that his ordeal is over. Little does he know this is only Stage 1.