Pajama Days

We are allowed 2 50-pound checked bags and 2 carry-ons (one small bag and one "personal item") each. In lieu of suitcases for our checked luggage allotment, we are packing everything in large-ish totes. Most of them are 18-22 gallons. Several reasons: plastic totes weigh substantially less than a suitcase of equivalent space; 10 of them will stack very neatly on those luggage carts...it will take a few luggage carts; totes are relatively cheap; once moved in, stacked totes, minus the lids, can be scooted into a closet. Hmmm, hopefully we will have an extra closet for them. Wait, I hope we have a closet. Period.

That's all we're taking.

What about our furniture? Staying with the house. Dishes? Pots and pans? Bathroom linens? TV? Home decor? All staying. Either it won't fit in a tote or it's not worth the space or weight allotment. I'm not particularly attached to any of those things, and they will eventually be replaced as we set up our new home.

The few sentimental items we own are being stored or loaned long-term to friends and family.

So, what are we taking exactly? The bare necessities of clothing and shoes, plus a plethora of accessories because 1) they take up very little space, 2) will give me some sense of normalcy, and 3) are just plain fun. After my last closet purge, Keith solemnly came to me and asked if everything was okay, meaning between us. He said it looked like I was moving out. Why did I need 12 pair of jeans when I generally choose one from my 3 favorites. I mean, as long as I don't pee my pants for more than 2 days in a row, I'll be okay.

Even if my bladder does give out more frequently, I can throw on a skirt and some leggings to cover my bare knees. And, if I'm really in a pinch, I can declare a "PJ Day." The kids love when I do that. Declare a "PJ Day," not wet my pants.

So that the kids feel at home, we are taking many of their toys. Mostly sets of things: blocks, Barbies, cars, Legos, games, and puzzles.

Many of our belongings are still being debated upon. Although we can't ship anything over, we can send things with traveling families and hope they find their way to us. It's what we have done on all of our trips. Pack our belongings in carry-ons and save checked baggage for donations or care packages for American families. If you'd like to send us some essentials, they can be shipped to a designated address in the US. Coconut oil, Samoas, Burt's Bees lip balm, Mini Cadburry Eggs. Excedrin and Peter Pan creamy...for Keith. Essentials.

Why can't we ship stuff? If it won't fit in a PO box, it's subject to heavy taxation. As in, we'd be paying for the item as it entered the country so we may as well save on shipping and just buy it there. Most of what can be purchased in Ethiopia is of very poor quality and generally overpriced anyway. One non-necessity I've packed to bring is a set of sheets per bed. I may even re-think that and bring 2 sets each.

Oh, I do love me some high-thread-count sheets. I won't even tell you how high. It's embarrassing.

Where will we live? Will we have a house when we arrive? Does it come with a washtub and clothesline? Will we have electricity and indoor plumbing? How will we get to and fro? Language? School for the kids? Ahh!!! Those are either unknown or will have to wait until the next update. I need to return to my packing. I've worked for 3 days in my bathroom and am determined to finish today.


The Exit Plan

One week ago today, Keith authoritatively slapped a fancy piece of paper down in front of me. The colorful document, which looked more like a spreadsheet tracking the market status, was labeled along the left-hand side:

"Exit Plan A" and "Exit Plan B."

This was no strategy as to how we'd leave a burning building. Nor was it a plan of escape suppose we fell into the hands of spies, a terrorist or, in general, some mad man.

I soon realized what I held in my hands was a schedule of our last days in the States. Two versions of a 2-month horizontal calendar. All those colors and bars? The different places we are committed to and for what length of time plus important dates like birthdays to celebrate and Keith's last day of work. Gasp! That event denotes so many things I am frightened of losing. Stability. Security. Familiarity. Insurance. Bigger gasp!

I was equally impressed and appalled. I am wowed by any color-coded document whipped up in a program I've probably never used. The reason for my offense? I was presented with a schedule and not consulted regarding such matters.

But then I remembered my role in a process like this and withheld my complaints. My only duty is to pack up myself and the kids. Oh, and the contents of our home. Let's not forget about that little ole task. However, I've been told we are renting the house furnished, so I'll probably receive a color-coded list of items I am allowed to pack, simplifying my job even more.

I'll keep my job, although it is daunting at the moment with empty boxes stacked as far as the eye can see. All I ask is that I am allowed a good look at my boarding pass so that I'll know the gate for which I am headed.

March 25th is the day we plan to leave Georgia, but that fancy schedule says we'll be here for about another 4 weeks visiting family and ministry partners. The cities officially listed are Birmingham, Seattle, Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City, and Poteau (our hometown). If you are in or near any of the listed destinations and would like to visit with us, PLEASE contact us.