Way before arriving in Indonesia, newly hired international teachers receive an email from a company that requests that you let them know when you’d like them to come and pack up your things. This happens when the idea of moving is still a date . . . an anticipated experience . . . a curiosity.

But then the day arrives. You’ve sorted through your things. You’ve carefully considered what you will regret leaving behind. You’ve decided what you will store, but should have taken to GoodWill in the most recent haul. Then, three men come to your house and methodically wrap, label and box things up. Even in retrospect, packing tape ripping, constantly tearing away from itself and then scraping against metal grooves remains unmistakable, constant.

You know that you will not be reunited with your things until you’ve survived at least 2 months in your new adopted country. Then about the end of September, people you know start getting their shipment. They quietly slip away for the day–sanctioned by your new employer. You wonder when your time will come. You hear rumors about the reason for delays. Bribes. KITAS complications. Random piles at the port.

My parents told me that it was like Christmas when their shipment came–back in Korea, many years ago. But then they wondered why they had packed certain items. They realized they had made it on a lot less and questioned if they truly needed what had arrived.

When I received the news that my shipment would be delivered in less than 2 days, I was surprised by mixed feelings. I had been looking forward to my yoga mat, silverware, replenished cleanser and moisturizer, eye medication, plush towels, the Bed Bath and Beyond duvet cover . . . but there was a nagging sense that the shipment represented something.

Everything I was anticipating came. Yes. But what came also were pictures. Pictures of family and friends. Paintings by my dear nieces.

Before I was feeling like I was playing. Just spending time in a temporary tree house in the backyard. The window of Skype like a tin can and string telephone.

But now, the familiar has invaded my “temporary.” I am here. I have arrived. It means I am going to stay. No more pretending. It’s for real.


About jaclynfre

Tech integration specialist, recipe adventurer, fast walker, sporadic writer, aunt, sister and daughter
This entry was posted in family, friends, transitions and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to shipment!

  1. Kathy A says:

    sigh, the comforts of home.

  2. Deb Larson says:

    jackie; your posting brought back memories of my semester in Wales. You articulated part of what I felt but didn’t understand. I can remember sitting on the windowsill the night my sister played her senior solo, wishing I could hear it. I didn’t receive a shipment and my stay was three months. I loved the country, the landscape, the people — everything about where I was. But there was tangible pain too. I wouldn’t call it feeling homesick, because I was in college by then. Maybe it’s like the “transplant shock” that plants experience! Different light or water or air. Not bad but different.

  3. Nancy Staal says:

    Jackie, You nailed it! Tim and I received our shipment about 3 weeks ago. Before our shipment came, we called our apartment our “college dorm.” It was like we were 20 again, but we were pretending. Now our shipment is here and I want to build a nest—an oasis in this city of pollution and dirt and crowds and traffic and noise.

    Thank you for posting pictures. They helped me picture YOUR oasis.

  4. isbergamanda says:

    You did a wonderful job putting into words exactly how I felt when I got my box here. I didn’t try to ship myself anything at while teaching in other countries, but I shipped stuff this year. Then we heard that stuff wasn’t making it through customs, that it was getting stolen or sent back to the states. Then it finally arrives and you are so excited, but realize that it is just that much longer before you will be back to your original home….

    -Amanda at

    • jaclynfre says:

      I’m so curious about what people bring that they are so glad they did and what they wished they hadn”t. I can’t believe I brought my giant stainless steel trash can. which took up a lot of space. I did this because I hate the smell of garbage (who does?) and I wanted to manage my trash here. Well, in America the trash goes out once a week. Here it goes out daily. Not only that my helper manages my trash–which is so so so amazing. I never smell it. And my giant trash can is completely unnecessary because we use a small can for daily use and disposal. That is one of many crazy things I brought . . . I won’t get into the big plastic tubs of zip lock bags and Peel and Press storage wrap. ::shaking my head:: 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s