Oh, how I’ve missed all of it! 3+ months apart, but we’ve finally been reunited. And I think this finally makes my move complete.
I wouldn’t recommend having furniture and boxes shipped for a short-term stay in another country. And technically, I’m only supposed to be here for a year and a half. So I was prepared (though perhaps a bit sad) to leave everything in storage for that long. But as you may remember, shortly after I arrived, seeing the short-term potential of my apartment and long-term potential of my life here, I wanted my stuff. Although I felt the need to justify the move constantly, I think my reasons made sense. And now that everything is here, I’m sure I made the right decision.
The apartment surprised me with the amount of space it provided. And with only a twin bed, a table, two chairs, and a desk lamp provided, I saw room for (almost) everything I had in storage. Not only room – I saw the need for everything I had in storage. I hadn’t slept on a twin-sized bed since 1998. I believe in the importance of a couch. And bare walls bore me. The place may have been practical, providing the essentials for a functional student life, but it wasn’t comfortable…for a grown-up, which, as you know, is what I am – a grown-up. So I’ve been feeling pretty uncomfortable for the past few months, waiting for my stuff to come to the rescue.
And I know it’s just stuff. But it all means a lot to me. As a relatively transient person, it’s not easy to feel at home anywhere. But with the pictures, art, books, even furniture I’ve accumulated over time coming along for the ride, it feels like I’m creating a feeling of home no matter where I am. A familiarity of a painting and a mirror can feel quite comforting. So no matter what, I was going to see my stuff again – whether it would be in Amsterdam or upon my return to the States was initially unknown. Getting rid of everything and ‘starting over’ in either place was never an option.
Living in Amsterdam long-term quickly became an option. Even if it’s not forever, I feel pretty certain that I’ll want to stay for longer than my academic program will last. And since my immigration status will allow me to stay for at least a year after finishing school, that’s at least one more year I’ll plan to be here (plenty of time to find a job and/or husband that will allow me to stay for even longer). So why plan to leave stuff in storage for 2 or 3 years? I may as well benefit from having it now, sparing myself the expense of purchasing things I already own, and enjoying the comforts of home.
There was the expense of it. It was really expensive. The price quote I received at the beginning of the process was a fraction of what I ended up spending. Every step of the process resulted in more fees. $250 here, 300 euros there. I eventually stopped fighting it. Because once my stuff was on the ship, there was no turning back. Although I wish I could do some things differently, no sense in dwelling on it. I’m just glad it’s here.
And my stuff is happy to be here as well. Okay, so here’s something to know about me: I have a habit of personifying most objects around me. Kind of in a crazy way. So when I locked everything in that dark storage locker, I imagined everything looking around in the tight space, assessing who was missing, who was among them, and who had been chosen to go with me (too many pixar movies, perhaps). Saddened by their rejection and imprisonment, they wondered if they had been left for good – never again to experience the joys of the life with me. How sad is that?! (the emotion of my stuff – not the fact that I’m thinking about it)
So when the mysterious movers barged into the locker, packed them all into another truck, which led to an incredibly long boat ride, which led to a customs inspection in an unknown language in some far away land called Rotterdam, and then another truck… Happy to be together, I’m sure…but I imagine my stuff was terrified.
Everything arrived at 7:30 on Friday morning. We all cheered – the couch, the cat, everyone. Zora had packed away some toys and a couple of bags of catnip. So she had some big wins in the unpacking process. I was particularly happy to sit on the couch and sleep on the bed. And over the past couple of days, rediscovering everything that mattered enough to me to be packed away has been quite nice. Paintings I can’t wait to hang (as soon as I find the hammer), pots and pans, even some lotions and soaps I knew my future self would be happy to see.
So now it’s just a matter of unpacking everything and organizing in an apartment that has a serious lack of closet space. I’m determined to do it as quickly as possible. Everything will have a place soon. And I’ll let you know how it turns out. Until then, it’s a mess.