Monday, February 27, 2006

Home at last, home at last!

Yes, it's official! I have arrived in Poland, and now I can blog about what I really wanted to blog about all along--living in Poland.

Krakovian is SO good...he had the internet up and running the exact same day we arrived in Poland. Isn't he remarkable? I believe dependence upon any other substance would be considered addiction, but addiction to the internet? Naah...not possible. I'd worry about him if it weren't so convenient for me.

We had the most horrendous snafu at the airport. It's beyond anything I could have imagined, because I have done this before, and I can imagine a lot of things that can go wrong. I made very, very sure none of the things I imagined would happen...but I didn't imagine this! It really was one of those "traveler's worst nightmare" kind of scenarios, and since the whole thing happened when we arrived at the airport in the first place, it tainted the entire trip.

I don't mind (much) schlepping through the airport with four kids, a stroller, and too-much carry-on luggage. (Our "carry on" luggage required two carts to navigate through the airport!) I don't mind (much) trying to sleep in an airplane seat and eating airline food. I don't mind (much) sitting around bored to tears waiting for the next flight. I can stand a lot...but this little glitch sort of through me over the edge.

Picture me leaning my head against my stacked-three-high trunks and praying, "Thank you, Lord, that you are in control of everything and not THESE PEOPLE." Picture me making phone calls from the airport on the cell phone, and arguing (fruitlessly) with the airline agent. Picture my kids sitting on the floor, getting a little frantic because they don't understand what's going on. That's kind of the tip of the iceberg, but I'm just not up to sharing all the details. It was too awful. It has taken me literally days to get over being sick about the whole thing--you know--the sick-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach feeling that you get when something is very wrong. The one there is no medicine to treat--except the aforementioned prayer.

It was a tough thing to get through, but Praise the Lord, we did. And we are in Poland.

Which is exactly where I want to be.

Monday, February 13, 2006

"I've been everywhere!"

If you can sing, not say, that line, then you have probably heard the commericial for Choice Hotels. We heard it, too, at some point, and signed up for their "stay two nights and get one free" plan. It worked, too, and we stayed for free on several occasions.

I stumbled across a site which lets you show all the states you've been in, so I filled it out. These are all the states I've been in...just in 2005. It was a busy year.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled packing.

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

It's time to pack...

I might post a picture or two of this process, but...who would really want to see this?

When a missionary family of six spends one year in the states, they accumulate stuff. A lot of stuff. A whole, great big lot of STUFF.

We can get pretty much everything we need in Poland, so, unlike missionaries who genuinely need to take things with them to remote locations in the African bush or Amazon basin, we just take things we "want" back to Poland. Of course, we do need to take homeschooling materials for the kids, and since we use the literature-based Ambleside Online curriculum, that means we take a lot of books. Piles of books. Heaps and heaps of books, actually.

Apart from the school books, we also take books for pleasure reading, since we don't have much access to books in English over there. So, aside from books, which really fall into the "need" category, and a minimal amount of necessary clothing, most of our luggage will contain the things we "want."

So, what do we want to take back to Poland?

Among other things, the piles contain stainless tableware that matches what we already have in Poland, so we can have more people and the table will look nicer. There are magazines on different topics--computers, legoes, model railroading, crochet, and Christmas ideas. There are 1,001 (give or take) mini stuffed animals, each and every one of which is precious, has a name and personality, and is necessary to the continued existence of some member of the family (but not me, in case that isn't obvious). There are knitting needles, crochet hooks, tatting shuttles, and thread. There are scrapbooks, stickers, craft paper and glue. I think there is a knife sharpener, a nebulizer, some model trains and track, and a home-made afghan. There are bookends, enough cables to stretch from here to Poland, and a small plastic dump truck. There're a couple bottles of Karo syrup, some peanut butter chips, and 112 packets (removed from the boxes) of sugar-free gelatin. There are stacking blocks, pipe-cleaners, legoes, air-soft guns, a latch-hook kit, and a round canopy to hang above a bed. There are baking sheets, bed sheets, and miscellaneous sheets of paper.

There is more than that, of course, but you get the idea. Since we are a family of six, we are entitled to take twelve pieces of luggage with us when we fly. Every other time we've flown, each piece of luggage could weigh 70 pounds, and ours always did. Rules have changed, and now the allowance has been reduced to 50 pounds. That means we can take 240 pounds less of our "stuff." Unless we pay a little extra for each piece of luggage that weighs 70 pounds, of course. We are already trying to figure out how many pieces are going to be overweight, because it's a certainty that some of them will be.

If you are flying overseas and the weight limit is a concern, take note! Thirty gallon Sterilite containers (got 'em at Walmart) are exactly the maximum dimensions allowed by the airline, and they only weigh about 6 pounds. Heavy trunks or suitcases eat up too much of the weight allowance just for the container. If you drill holes through the snap-down handles, you can thread little plastic zip-closures through them to hold the lids on firmly. We have a few trunks leftover from our last trip (to the US), and those weigh 13 pounds each, and slightly exceed the size limit, although they will be allowed. We figure those will be the ones that go over the weight allowance.

Well, I suppose I should go do some more actual packing, sorting, and discarding. If I post pictures, I'll add a warning, because this is not a sight for the faint of heart.