Here’s a little status report. For those of you who read this blog for something other than the minutia of (my) Foreign Service life, feel free to skip.
We finally received the keys to our house last Friday. On Saturday, the movers came with our air shipment (“UAB” or unaccompanied baggage). None FS people – we get a small portion of our stuff moved from destination to destination by air – since it takes so long to get the rest of the stuff, but more on that later.
Our air shipment was packed in our absence, but a lovely friend was kind enough to oversee the packing. I asked for a toddler bed or crib mattress and my beloved BOB stroller, but neither fit in the puny boxes they used in Cairo, so instead we got oodles of duplos (the boys are so happy), my espresso maker (I’m so happy) and Captain Jack’s entire work wardrobe. (Captain Jack was so happy to be reunited with his ties.)
We have not seen our belongings since June, so I can’t tell you how nice it was! I have not a single picture of all the boxes arriving as we were so eager to open them – it was Christmas in February!
Following my own advice, I have tried to settle in immediately. We are all sleeping in our own sheets, using our own towels, and have our own coffee mugs! We have eaten our meals at home, and I’m cooking from scratch every night. The boxes are all gone. The boys’ bedroom has been decorated with a variety of wall decals from target, purchased just for this occasion almost six months ago.
Our house is lovely and airy with beautiful light. Where the builders couldn’t fit a window, they put in a skylight. The last place I saw this much glass is Iceland, so I’m a little nervous about what this means for winter here. Lima is covered in heavy mist or fog for a large part of the year, so we have been warned to enjoy the sunshine now. The boys do enjoy every minute in our small yard and pool. I’m itching to get a few plants in, but that will have to wait for next summer.
Lima is a critical crime level post, so all our lovely windows are covered in metal safety gates. We also live in a secure neighborhood, with all kinds of patrols and alarms. In some ways, I feel like I’m back in South Africa. I have certainly heard of more petty crimes while in Egypt than I have here to date, but since I’ve been living in a hotel I may be a little out of the loop.
Of course there are the inevitable snags. We still don’t have internet access, so I’ll be uploading this using my phone as a wifi spot. (If you’re reading, it worked.) Our brand new oven doesn’t work, and the replacement they brought didn’t work either. I think they told me it was a factory defect (they speak Spanish, I ask questions in English, we mime and nod a lot.) We don’t have enough power allotted to this house to run the air conditioners and washer and dryer simultaneously, so I run around cycling things on and off every few hours. I know, all of these are such “first world problems” as my friend Jackie would say.
There aren’t many sidewalks here, and the horrible temporary stroller is none too maneuverable. Public service notice: do not buy a Safety First double umbrella stroller. Ours is 8 months old and held together with duct tape. Oh, how I miss my BOB!
Which brings me back to the rest of our stuff. Our HHE (house hold effects shipment) has finally left Cairo, and is on its way to Miami, along with our car. Maybe end of March, but I’m thinking April or May. While there are certainly things I miss (the BOB, art for our walls, some of my cookbooks, for example) we have managed to live with very little for eight months now, and it is pretty liberating.
There was a birthday here this week, I have made some excellent meals, and I have my sewing machine back. There won’t be any pictures until the internet connection is up though, so more later.