Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
What did I forget ? Snacks for plane, one last load of laundry, ride to airport, passport, cash. I can't shake the nagging feeling that I am forgetting something.
Monday, July 26, 2010
I am also a great admirer of small antique tables you can put knick knacks on. I LOVE small wooden tables and have about 7 of them. I also have a HUGE wooden farmhouse table that weighs @ 500 lbs and a dining table that weighs @ 800 lbs so I was a bit shocked when the mover labeled them ALL as "wooden table". So, which one do I mark as Export ? I also know that my guitar crazy son has a 12 string classical somewhere in storage but it is not listed anywhere on my inventory list. But, panic really set in when Craig called from the Hagerstown storage facility to tell me that a few unmarked boxes mysteriously appeared from the movers after the original shipment. I have no idea what's in them. I can only assume that they are the things that the movers packed up and loaded while I was picking kids up from school and left them packers unsupervised. Darn it.
So, I gassed up the little Audi and drove the 1.5 hours to Hagerstown at 6:30am. You have to be there before 10am to get in to see your stuff. I arrived at 8. Sheepishly, I announced myself and my reasons for being there.
I cannot compliment the workers there enough. The went out of their way to help me decipher the movers' notes on my inventory list. I was able to open a few crates to look at the questionable items and sneaked peeks at other things at the same time. While I wasn't able to open boxes, I was able to differentiate between the wooden tables, paintings and unmarked items. In just over an hour, I found my son's guitar and was able to stop shipment of my farmhouse table and duck posters to NZ. They had his guitar labeled as "pillows" and my farmhouse table as a coffee table. Yikes.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Having the boys share a room hasn't been bad. There are moments of hostility but for the most part, they are getting along. There is a row of bar b que grills on the patio - very convenient, and a convenience store- even more convenient. The activities center organizes events for kids and there is always someone outside to play with the boys. We have a dry cleaner on site that offers very fair rates, an outside hose for washing your car and the best part-you don't have to calculate your per diem or turn in receipts, they do it all for you directly with the USG. That's one less thing I have to worry about. Perhaps if we were going to be in DC for say 10 months of language training, I may feel differently. The kitchen is small and there isn't anywhere you can go to be alone in the apartment. I like the comraderie that I feel here with the other residents. It has helped my oldest son (13) converse with other kids his age and feel a bit more comfortable about the lifestyle.
There is a grocery store within a couple of miles (Shoppers) and every other shop you could think of. Ther is a great Chinese Restaurant a few blocks away that delivers for a reasonable price.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The most popular opportunity to choose a good behavior over bad is in traffic. It takes about one second to let someone onto the highway. Is it really, really going to kill you to lose one second out of your day?
Another good example was this weekend when we took our kids to a restaurant (ok, it was a bar that also served food) to watch the world cup final and someone pulled their chair right in front of my less than 5 foot tall child and blocked his view. I was annoyed but before I could say anything my friend ripped the guy a new one. While she got what she wanted, she made everyone a little uncomfortable with her confrontation. A better option would have been to politely speak to the guy and say something like " You probably didn't realize there was a little guy behind you when you moved your chair, would you mind terribly just shifting to the left a bit so he can see? Thanks." Why is everyone so angry all the time?
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Now that we've been in it for a a bit, I have gotten to know some of the spouses as well. I can usually slide right into a community, make awesome friends and contribute to meaningful conversations. Now I find myself doing more listening. Yes, I am scared. I'm afraid that if I open my mouth they will know that I only have a Bachelor's degree in (gasp) communications. So, I sit quietly and listen to the stories of these insanely young spouses who have been doctors, lawyers, opera singers and, oh yeah, speak several languages.
They don't seem particularly impressed by my 10 year old's soccer career or the fact that my 13 year old got straight A's AGAIN! Yawn....their kids have been doing that their entire lives. So, I am going to step up my game and whip us all into State Department worthy shape.
Time to brush off the Rosetta Stone, I'm learning Spanish but perhaps I should perfect English first.
By Ann LaPorta
As for a career in the theater our shining example would be Joy Zinoman. While
a trailing spouse in Malaysia in the '70s and raising 2 young children she
became involved in directing at the university and brought the Malay theater
into the 20th Century. She came home to complete a combined undergrad and
graduate degree in theater and to found the Studio Theater, one of Washington's
best. Joy retires this year and will be honored by DACOR with a dinner this
On a less professional level my husband and I have either founded or been active
in little theater groups in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Ankara, Medan, Ulanbaatar and
Naples, Italy. We found it a fun and enjoyable way to bring the English
speaking community together.
Ann La Porta, whose husband acted for Joy in Kuala Lumpur.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Ok, so I knew we would have to repack before heading out to New Zealand but I really thought it would be easy. I mean, they have people for this right? Some guys come, pack up your stuff, put it on a ship and send it to our new house. That apparently is the easy part. Getting someone in the transportation department to answer the phone is another story. I started on Tuesday. It is now Friday afternoon. Uh, I have 3 weeks to get my stuff organized, moved, sorted and shipped but first I need an appointment. I guess my advice is to all new comers; make your appointment for your pack out as soon as you arrive J. And, don't forget to give your temporary living manager a 30 day notice when you move out otherwise you could get kicked out early or have to pay for your additional days.