We're still here, but all our worldly belongings are now on their way to Bahrain. We had our pack-out last Friday...not an easy task because we had a very complicated situation. Because I was hired from London, we've already had one pack-out...with all our stuff going to some warehouse in Belgium! We also had stuff in storage here in the DC area. To make it even more complicated, our stuff was stored in the attic of our old house. But due to liability issues, the movers refused to move our stuff. So a day before our pack-out, I recruited (in return for free beer) some A-100 friends to help carry all our stuff from the attic to the living room.
Our pack-out was divided into three parts. Part 1 is HHE, or House-Hold Effects. This represents the bulk of our belongings that will be sent to post by ship. Our movers called it 'sea shipment' and could take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to sail around the world. Part 2 is UAB, or Unaccompanied Air Baggage. This is stuff we need relatively fast, like extra clothing, kitchenware, etc. We were allowed 450 pounds of UAB. As I write this, our UAB is already on an airplane, halfway to Bahrain! Part 3 is Storage, stuff that will remain in the DC area in government storage.
So then a few days later, I get an e-mail from our travel technician: they can't find an available ship anytime this summer to take our HHE! Now there's talk of dividing our HHE into smaller parcels and sending it to Bahrain by air! The good news is we'll get our stuff within 3 weeks. The bad news is all our stuff now has to be completely unpacked and re-packed, and anything that isn't air-worthy might be removed from our shipment! Go figure.
Meanwhile, life goes on at the Foreign Service Institute. Since graduating from A-100, I've taken a variety of courses including Political/Economic Tradecraft, Security Overseas Seminar, and am currently enrolled in NENA: Near-East and North Africa Area studies. It's probably one of the best history classes I've ever taken, despite being just two weeks long. Our classes cover topics such as the history of Islam and several in-depth lectures on the history and roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (contrary to popular opinion, it has little to do with religion).
In between classes, we're struggling to finish all the necessary tasks that come with an overseas move. Things like dentist and doctor appointments (FSO Tip: BUY MET-LIFE DENTAL INSURANCE! Kicking ourselves now), last-minute shopping runs, signing out of FSI, writing letters of introduction to my Ambassador, and of course, visiting with friends and family. I'm feeling quite guilty because we simply aren't going to have time to visit everyone we want to see before we go. Next up: a trip to Houston to visit my sister!
T-minus 11 days to Bahrain!