Thursday, January 16, 2014

(Unaccompanied) Baggage

The movers arrived for the first time yesterday to pack up our unaccompanied baggage shipment.  In military circles this smaller shipment of the items you will live off of until all of your household items arrives is often called an express shipment. Express as in it arrives quickly or at a minimum quicker than   the crates of your furniture, electronics, and other worldly items.  I stopped calling it an express shipment after our move to Albania when the said "express" shipment arrived one full day prior to the rest of our household goods.  So much for express!  Now I am calling it by its other name, "unaccompanied baggage" or UAB.  UAB is perhaps the most important shipment a military family will have when moving since these are the items, all 1,000 pounds of them, that with the exception of the luggage will bring onto the plane with us, we are expected to live off of for the foreseeable future. In our case we are planning on the foreseeable future being three or so months in a hotel room so careful packing is essential.

So what does one pack for three people for three months when everything that goes into those boxes must be stored in our small hotel room?  What can we live without for so many months?  These are questions I pondered for some time.  Although Belgium's weather experiences none of the extreme highs and lows that we have here in Albania, we will be transitioning from winter into spring and perhaps even a bit of summer before we see our household goods again.  With that in mind, rain gear is a given in.  But add in the myriad of Glenn's required uniforms plus off duty clothing and clothes for Sidney and myself and our tiny allotted closet space is sure to be filled to capacity.  Each and every item was selected with care keeping dual purposes in mind.  (I also have no idea what our laundry situation will be but I suspect it will mean my spending many hours in a laundry mat).

Anyone whose read this blog knows I like food so the prospective cooking situation concerns me.  I've been assured that our room has a kitchenette but I am unclear as to what this actually means.  I have heard a refrigerator and dishwasher are a part of the deal but other details are vague.  I'm assuming there is a stove of some sort and hopefully there is an oven as well.  I haven't been able to get any clarity so I don't know what I'll be dealing with.  My crock pot and set of knives were the first item to get packed into the UAB but multi-purpose pots and pans were selected with great care.  I have no idea if I packed the right items but it is too late to change my mind now.

So now I sit and wait.  I've been told that our boxes will arrive in Belgium in about ten days but I've heard that line before.  I'm hopeful that this time it will arrive on time.  If they do, I may go back to calling this shipment express.

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