Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Return from Carolina!

                                                                Oh …. Ship!

There’s an old Dionne Warwick song entitled, “What do you get when you fall in love?  You only get lies and pain and sorrow – so for at least until tomorrow, I’ll never fall in love again! ” And don’t forget the chorus:  “Don’t tell me what it’s all about, “cause” I’ve been there and I’m glad I’m out…”
Well now…in a way we felt that way about shipping a container.  What do you get when you ship a container?  You only get … so for at least until tomorrow, we’ll never ship again!   And … don’t tell us what it’s all about, “cause” we’ve been there and we’re glad it’s HERE!?!

We left for the USA towards the end of March after a long season of visa/cedula problems.  For an entire season of expats, we all enjoyed an extended, suspenseful anticipation of censos and cedulas due to administration difficulties in Quito.  However, we are so grateful for the Cuencanos who assisted in the lengthy process.  Our cedula was issued the day we flew out of Quito for NC.

So what about the container?  If it were not for friends in Asheville, we would still be wandering about the warehouse.   Although we had our household items in tubs and boxes stored in two storage units, we still had to open every one and inventory each item.   It required repacking over two hundred boxes and furnishings to be able to make the shipment.

At one dear friend’s insistence, we were able to ship our furniture in boxes made for chairs.  My sister-in-law works for Ethan Allen, so we received many boxes to pack our furniture adequately.
Friends came to the storage unit and helped us pack and repack.  So on the big day for our container to ship, ten of us staged boxes on the dock.  We waited to pack the container.

Finally, our moment for container arrival at 2 pm … 2:30 we started making phone calls to Miami … 3:00 more calls ... then at 3:45 the answer. The truck with the container was not coming for at least a week.  We were all shocked and confused.  So, we had to reload everything back into the storage units.  Our four hour task for friends lasted until 7pm.

Here we go… new decisions to make now.  We already had our tickets to fly back to Cuenca.  Our friend said she’d be happy to be in charge of packing the newly scheduled container.

We finally concluded Gary would return to Cuenca to begin condo remodeling; Sue would stay behind to handle the container dilemma.  As it turned out, she stayed for nine more days, handling all the details of the container.

On the day the truck arrived, we had the same dear friends volunteer to pack the container. Our friend, Diana was in charge of the arranging of the items.  She is an interior decorator, drew a design, and managed the packing.  What a friend!

There were other issues we had to straighten out with the container inventory sheets, but
one by one, they were solved. On April 25th, the container shipped from Asheville, North
Carolina to Charleston, SC to Guayaquil, for a final truck ride up the Andes to our new “departmento” in Cuenca.

We received news a week after Sue’s arrival in Cuenca that our container was to be in Guayaquil on Sunday, May 8th – Mother’s Day! Only two weeks in transit. Now after a
couple of days in customs, the container should arrive in Cuenca, safe and sound.

Now it’s Wednesday, May 18th and no container!  No explanation. No timetable. 
During the time we’ve waited for our container, we’ve been renovating our newly purchased apartment located 10 minutes walking distance from historic downtown “Centro” Cuenca.   The former owners were kind enough to lend us a sleeper sofa with sheets.  However, it was somewhat difficult for us both to sleep on a single bed for 10 days!

From old

                                                                              To new
Another well-timed miracle!  Although we are very sad our friends, Mike and Patty Grimm had to return to Arizona for Mike to have back surgery, they were kind enough to offer for us to stay in their apartment during their absence.  Fortunately, they live about 5 blocks from us – an easy walk.  We did not know what a huge blessing this was going to be until we started spending our nights there.

It has been wonderful to get away from the paint fumes, the empty abode with a small apartment refrigerator (our friends Jack & Claudia also lent us with a table and two chairs).  We’ve been able to get good rest at night and eat well by cooking in Patty’s great kitchen!

Realistically speaking, no move is ever easy – even moving within your home country.  Make it an
international move and you have stresses and decisions beyond the “norm.”

You have to “weigh” the pros and cons of having your own things or buying them here in Cuenca. 
We tallied it up and decided we would come out “cheaper” to ship the container.  The plus of shipping the container is that Sue will have her piano – a  40-year old upright William Knabe special.   It belonged to her mother and Sue acquired it over a decade ago. 

So the end result of our decision had to do with bringing things that were “us” to make our apartment “Home Sweet Home!”

                                   To be continued ………………….