Life in a Box

It’s funny how you convince yourself that you can’t do without certain things only to find that you never really needed them in the first place. Our shipment of 22 boxes that we sent from our apartment in New York City arrived yesterday. You would think it would be a much anticipated, glorious day when we would be reunited once more with all of our belongings. But after moving into an apartment about half the size of the one we had in New York and after two months of living with only what we brought on the plane, I was beginning to enjoy the freedom of not being burdened down with stuff and really beginning to dread the boxes that have been traveling by land and by water to find their way to us.

The truth of the matter is that I have an aversion to stuff. Just ask my college friends and they’ll testify to the fact that I can move away for a year of college and only bring 2 check in bags and one carry-on (and still fit a rice cooker). More impressive than that even, I can pack up my room at the end of the year and still manage to fit everything into 2 check in bags and one carry-on. Or ask David and he’ll clearly remember the argument we had in New York City over buying things for the apartment. David wanted to decorate the living room to make it feel more like home. Meanwhile, the last thing I wanted was to buy more stuff in case the day came when we needed to leave our home. (Time revealed who was right in that argument!)

However, as much as I wished and hoped and enjoyed the feeling of not having stuff, the dreaded news of the arrival of our boxes arrived in text format. David received a text on Friday saying that they would call on Saturday to deliver on Sunday. We should have followed up when no call came on Saturday, but since I wasn’t too eager to receive our stuff, I really didn’t want to follow up. Meanwhile, everyone was telling us, “This is Spain. No one works on Sundays. Surely, it will be delivered on Monday, not Sunday.”

Spaniards might not work on Sundays, but, as it turned out, the delivery guy was from Holland and he works on Sundays. And not only does he work on Sundays but he gets up bright and early to get the job done. At 8:30 yesterday morning, the phone rang. Unfortunately, we had gone to bed at about 4 am on Saturday night and were completely out of it. The phone kept ringing and David kept turning it off, mistaking it for the alarm. Unfortunately, the extra sleep we got by not answering the phone cost us because by the time we came to our senses, the delivery guy was no longer in front of our place with our boxes but parked on the side of the road in a neighboring coastal town called La Mata. To make matters worse, he could no longer deliver right to our door because he was in a 59 foot long truck and couldn’t access our apartment in his truck (supposedly, when he had tried to deliver earlier, he had transferred all our boxes to a smaller car which he no longer had access to). After many calls back and forth, each time calling Holland because it was a company in Holland dealing with this part of the delivery, we finally understood that the delivery guy was on a forced 24 hour rest period and would be parked on the side of the road until noon today. If we could come in a car, we could pick up our belongings which were now frustratingly close but still just out of reach.

So there we were, presented with the logistical problem of how to collect 22 boxes that I didn’t even want from a 59 foot truck parked on the side of the road outside of Torrevieja. I tried to explain to the guy that we didn’t have a car and that all we had was a scooter and two bikes – which were in the boxes. He didn’t care. So we started brainstorming. And after 2 minutes, we were done. There was only one solution. David’s aunt and uncle who work in the markets drive a van for their business. It just so happened that they were in Torrevieja for the day to go to the beach and to see my mother-in-law, Luisa, before she leaves. They were our only hope. We called and, because they’re extremely nice, they agreed to take us after the beach.

So at 7:30 last night, we set out to collect our boxes. And after some detours and maneuvers down small streets and more calls to the driver’s cell phone in Holland, we found him and his 59 foot truck on the side of the road. And the first thing that he showed me when we arrived was the paper that we had filled out where we had checked yes next to the question, “Is the apartment accessible by a large truck”. It is accessible by a large truck but not accessible by a 59 footer. To that, I had two questions, “Why in the world didn’t they specify what they meant by a ‘large truck'” and “Why did they need a 59 footer to deliver our small shipment of 22 boxes?”

Though we were frustrated, the guy was nice enough. He was also cute, so while David and I (well, David really) got to work transferring the boxes from his 59 footer to our van, Luisa flirted and I helped translate. We commented on his nice smile and found out he is 49 years old. Unfortunately, we also found out that he is married and has three kids. Shoot. It would have been nice to have a father-in-law who does international moves for a living.

We got back to our apartment building and with help from Luisa and David’s aunt and uncle, we got everything into the apartment. (Thank goodness for elevators!) And while we really could have done without all of this, when David opened one of the bike boxes and pulled out a blanket that Sushi, our cat, used to go crazy over in New York City, it brought back a flood of memories. Sure, the blanket is way too warm and probably useless in Spain, but Sushi used to love it and we used to wrap up in it on very cold winter nights. Also, in one of the boxes are Sushi’s toys. Sushi’s a simple cat and would find pleasure in playing with the rings on milk caps. They don’t use the same rings to seal milk over here, so we have been waiting for those to arrive. To put it simply, our life – especially our life in New York City – is in those boxes. And while stuff can be burdensome, it can also be the keeper of memories. So I guess there was a reason why we shipped 22 boxes here. But I’m still not looking forward to unpacking.

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3 responses to “Life in a Box

  1. If there is anything I have I learned over the past 5 years and 4 moves its a lot of “stuff” is unnecessary and can even become expendable when trying to fit it in the back of a small u-haul. Thank god for cameras! You seem like a good photo taker so at least you will always have those visual memories. I have to say nothing has been easy in this move, has it?!

  2. So THIS is what you have been busy with! A good excuse for disappearing – you more than had your hands full! I, too, have been dreading the arrival of those boxes! But it turned out to be more dreadful than I even imagined! It will be nice to have some things – the bikes, the milk caps, the charger! Any books in there? What, no books? So I suppose MY room is now flooded with boxes! I expect them to be cleared out before I need a place to sleep! 🙂

  3. Hi!
    Your blog is so fun to read! Even when horrible thigs happen you make it fun. Such resilience! Wish we could help ! But we know how strong and energetic Daaveed is when it comes to moving!
    Not in our room!

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