Suitcases and sea freight

I find that it doesn’t seem to matter how organised you think you are ahead of time, the week before the packers come is manic. All of a sudden, everything needs to be done right now. Time disappears faster than the kids at homework time and you can always rely on the school to come up with an event that you simply can’t miss.

So when the packers delivered some empty boxes last week, I was filled with that sudden sense of dread that comes when you know you have to fill them. I stared at them for a long while – then put the kettle on and started doing what I do best: procrastinating.

I always feel a little overwhelmed by the fact that I’m responsible for what we have to take with us for immediate use. Holidays I don’t mind so much, you can always make do unless you’ve left a swimsuit behind but packing for six weeks in two different countries until the sea freight arrives is a nightmare. Throw in two weeks of school and a swim carnival and the list of what we need before we get remotely close to the airport is astounding.

Every suitcase we own is lined up against the wall of our bedroom and that’s just the start to get us through two weeks in a serviced apartment here, and another four weeks in a Melbourne apartment.

Walk a little further and you get to the spare room. It looks like a little Minecraft village of randomly-stacked brown boxes and yes – I feel like I’m the zombie, walking around in a daze trying to figure out what we’ll need in the airfreight. Currently I’ve packed winter/spring clothing, an estimate of what the kids will need to start at their new school and some random kitchen items that’ll make my life easier at the serviced apartment. The kids have been tasked with sorting out their entertainment needs so I’m hoping they’ve got the balance right or it’ll be a long few weeks until the sea freight arrives.

I’ve resorted to lists – and lots of them – to try and provide some structure to the random thoughts bouncing around my head and they go something like this:

  1. For the serviced apartment in Singapore
    – school uniforms/lunch boxes/sports gear (to be donated the minute they’re done with them)
    – summer clothes/swimmers/goggles/sunscreen for Singapore
    – travel bags with toys/books/games for the aeroplane
    – chargers/computers/adaptors/cameras
  2. For the serviced apartment in Melbourne
    – mini coffee plunger (for everyone’s health and well-being)
    – jeans/jumpers/jackets/covered shoes for Melbourne
    – toys/books/games for the aeroplane
    – sharp knives(ever noticed how blunt the knives are in rental accommodation?)
    – stick blender and Tupperware turbo chopper (a gadget I just can’t live without!)
  3. Air freight
    – Rest of winter clothes and shoes…but some summer stuff (I’m ever the optimist that Melbourne will turn on a heat wave when we get there)
    – Basic kitchen items
    – A few more toys/books/games/pencils – it can be a long month for the kids without some games to keep them occupied. The trick is trying not to take too much!
    – Bedding/towels/sheets so we can wash it and have it ready when the sea freight turns up
  4. The rest – sea freight, which will include a fair amount of stuff that I should have included in the air-freight but completely forgot.

Now, after re-reading my lists, I’ve just realised something important – so far I’ve only packed for the kids and the kitchen. Better throw in a change of clothes for me too, before the packers come on Monday. I’ll do that in between cake baking and party planning for H’s birthday which is tomorrow.  I think it’s time to put the kettle on again!

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