March 27, 2013

Packing up and Cleaning out

One of the most exciting aspects of a career as a Foreign Service Officer is that you get to travel the world and every two or three years you move to another country. There is never time to become bored or complacent. Yet, that is also one of the hardest aspects too. People you have learned to love you have to say goodbye to, and every time you move you have to literally pack up everything you have and clean out!

As you all know, I came back to Manila to do our “pack out” and officially get ready for our next tour. For a week straight I was running around like a crazy person trying to get signatures, tie loose ends and finish projects. Then I would go home and clean, sort, throw away and/or give away stuff in the house in preparation for the movers to come. It was a LONG week! There were a few times that I just went and sat by the pool in the sunshine completely exhausted. 

Thankfully, Apple created Facetime and the credit card “points” provided us with Ipads because whatever I was doing I put Lady Hiva on Facetime and she was there with me. Kind of a fun experience.

The big day for pack out arrived and I was ready. The house looked like it was in shambles, but the reality was I had sorted everything: Dining room: Air shipment. Living room and Office: Sea shipment. Guest room: suitcase stuff.

The movers arrived and all four of them stood about 5 foot ZERO. I think that I made them nervous at first because I could speak Tagalog and therefore be able to listen to everything they were saying. (By the end of the day they were joking and having a good time with me though.) As we were starting to box the items and the large scale was used to weigh the boxes they all took turns standing on the scale. They ranged from 90-100lbs! YIKES! I could not help but think how these little guys were going to have to pack all our heavy boxes. I then had the sobering thought that all week I did not buy much food because I wanted to use what we had left in the cupboards and sadly what little I did have left was most likely more than these guys had in their homes to feed their families. I sent them home with most of the food remaining as they left.

I told the guy that the Tapa mats are the most important thing to my wife (not really true, but close) so to take EXTRA care of them. He said, "OK, sir...I will wrap them in bubbles too!"

The day was LONG and for the most part it went ok—I was only annoyed twice! HAHA. I talked with them, joked with them, and found ways to try and help because we are not allowed to help pack for liability reasons. I did have to pull all the stuff down from top shelves because they could neither reach nor see the stuff that was up there. Now, I thought that the people in the stores put A LOT of tape on the should have seen how much tape these movers used! THEY went through a WHOLE CASE!

So they day ended and the house is EMPTY! I don’t even have a tie to wear to work tomorrow…I have a meeting with the Ambassador I hope I can borrow one from somebody.

I went over to eat dinner with some neighbors and when I arrived it was a surprise party! That was really fun. I was really surprised too! I missed having Lady Hiva there with us, but we had a wonderful time with some great food! I am starting to realize how much I like Manila and the people that I have become friends with. 


  1. All the best to you and Lady Hiva. Can't wait to meet you in person when I come to DC/Maryland to see Pam, Greg, Wm, Patch and Ian.

  2. Did you find a tie? That's pretty funny! We learned after the first move to keep one suit in the suitcase pile, just in case.