In the early afternoon of May 3rd at 1:00 PM Central and 2:00 PM Eastern, we will land in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Once through immigration, we hope to find our belongings in baggage claim. Then, the terrifying part: Customs. Dun, dun, dunnn. This is when you start praying.
The 5 of us with 10 carry-ons and 17 totes (22 gallons each) will attempt to make our way through a procedure that has no rhyme or reason. If the employee on duty sees fit, he/she can open all of our bags and totes, label items as he/she sees fit, then look to a computer that seems to arbitrarily assign values to one's personal property and tax us X amount. You got that right. We hope to not pay duty on those things we already own, but that's the way the cookie crumbles in customs line in Ethiopia.
On a positive note, every piece of clothing, shoes, accessories, and whatnot I am taking fits neatly in one tote, weighing in at 45 pounds. Wait, I didn't even use those space saver bags where you vacuum the air out of hole after zipping it up. Nope. From socks to scarves, it fits in a single Sterillite container with a handy locking lid. Wow. Let me pause a moment while I pat myself on the back. Again.
We automatically get those 2 checked pieces each, and Keith graciously called the airline and requested an extra baggage allowance. Turns out with the number of tickets we purchased and the fact that Keith made that phone call, we get 2 extra bags for free "if there's room." So, that makes hopefully 12, but at least 10. We've got 17, remember.
Long ago, we talked of a moving budget that allowed for extra bags. During that discussion, we were thinking more like 2 extra totes, not 5. But, we got the humanitarian rate on our airline tickets, saving us $1,000, which will cover the cost exactly.
We found out yesterday that our power of attorney in Ethiopia is signing on a lease for our house today. Zippity doo da! And, some furniture on loan is being moved in tomorrow. Possibly. Well, who knows when. I did hear Keith say on the phone that all we need when we arrive is a mattress. I think he may have forgotten his family when he made that request. Bottom line is we have a house. And, it's not even made of dirt and grass. It'll have real walls and windows. And a kitchen. With a bathroom. Hopefully I'll be able to locate a shower curtain. This is so exciting. I must end here before I pee my pants.
And, then I need to finish packing. We leave for the airport at noon.