Wrap and Pack Day

Wow. For three months we have been preparing, planning, packing, labeling, selling, giving, disposing, pausing, taking deep breaths, and escaping. Today is the day when our “Household Goods” get efficiently and neatly packed away in brown boxes. A two man team has worked for under two hours and has 80% of our goods already packed. It is utterly amazing to me! I am also relieved, because now it means that I can STOP shuffling items around and fretting over what to ship via air or sea. It means that when Sophie and Hollis come home today they will be in for a big shock. I will remind them that their precious toys and books and tiny treasures are safe and will be arriving soon in our new home in Beijing. In the meantime, thank goodness for the local library!

Its been a last minute scramble this week to get insurance inventories complete and forms done properly for customs. The guidelines are important to follow and every sentence needs to be read carefully. We are still awaiting visas, but are expecting them any day. 

I’m really looking forward to my 2 hour yoga class tonight at Moving Mantra Yoga. 

Gazing at the Horizon

We are here in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We arrived almost a week ago as guests of honor at my brother’s Change of Command ceremony at White Sands Missile Range in Las Cruces. He was finishing up as Battalion Commander there. If you aren’t familiar with the military, he was 10th in command under President Obama. It was amazing to visit the base, and to see the exemplary discipline and dedication of his troops. Three hundred were present; two hundred are serving in Afghanistan.

This is the third time I have been to New Mexico. The first time I was here, I was serving as a volunteer in AmeriCorps. At that time I was drawn by this beautiful state. I camped in a wildlife refuge, harvested cottonwood trees, built shelters and trails, and put up barbed wire fences. That was in 1997. The next time I visited was in 2001 with Brian to ski Taos. This current trip, we brought my mother and family. The girls loved jumping and rolling in the sand at White Sands National Monument. We visited Taos Pueblo and learned about how the native people still live there.

Its hard to put into words what it is about this state that draws me here again and again. I think that part of it is the BIG SKY and the open horizon. An acupuncturist once told me that we should gaze at the horizon for 15 minutes everyday to calm our mind and heart. I can’t do this from my home in Raleigh. In New Mexico it is always visible. It is amazingly beautiful.

This morning I practiced yoga from my hotel room, looking out the window at the horizon and adobe homes built into the hillside. It was the perfect way to welcome the desert sun.
DSC_0360Santa Fe Horizon

Household Goods: pared away.

A forty foot sea container and 1200 lbs of air freight is a lot of “stuff”. We can bring that much to Beijing, but we aren’t.  When I met with the movers last week and showed him what we plan to bring, I think he was a little disappointed! We won’t fill a forty foot sea container. We won’t even fill a twenty foot sea container. He suggested a sea crate. Yes, we are taking the minimalist approach. It feels good. I think about life in Beijing and that there will be less mess to clean up, less to organize, and more time to live. I held a yard sale two weeks ago and got rid of a lot of things that had accumulated. My excess is someone else’s treasure. I’ve been taking a hard look at everything. Do I love it? Did I use it in the last year? Does it still fit? Would I miss it if it was gone? If the answer is no, the stuff is gone. Durham Rescue Mission picked up the remainders of the yard sale on Friday. Those things are going to good homes. 

We’ve also started our family vaccination schedule. This is serious business. Measles boosters for Hollis, Brian, and I. Brian and I got re-vaccinated for Polio, Tetanus, Hep A/B. Hollis got the Typhoid vaccine. The rest of us will start the oral Typhoid pills this week. Japanese Encephalitis #1 last Friday. Also the first of three Rabies shots for the girls on Friday.

We’ve also got our family prescriptions filled. Letters from doctors to accompany them to get through customs. Over the counter meds. Image

In the midst of all this preparation, we take moments to meet with friends, to do things we can only do in the US, to visit favorite spots in Raleigh. We travelled to Charlottesville, VA for Memorial weekend. Brian planned the entire trip, and it was so much fun! Caverns, hiking, architecture, history, and a good old back roads trip.