Packing Diary

Sept. 28
Dear my friends,

The arrangement we thought we had with the ministry to take over our house while we are in Malaysia will not happen after all, and I am beyond frustrated and upset for a number of reasons, some of them obvious, some of them water under the bridge. I would not have cleaned out the house and gotten rid of things I have gotten rid of if I had known. It was like a thousand tiny amputations, a few hundred episodes of decision fatigue and grief every day, and I sense the disapproval and distaste of a hundred pack-rat ancestors who went before me. My children are thrilled, of course. It’s like Swedish death cleaning. I also did all this cleaning, sorting, and purging because I thought I had to have it done by this month. I had made several other plans for the use of my last few months in the U.S. and I could not do any of those things at all, for no good reason. I will adjust and accept this in time, but today I am grieving. I also realized that this was really the first time I was facing empty nest stuff. Since our son went off to college while we still lived in the PHilippines, it wasn’t the same. I wasn’t facing that until I was back in this house sorting old school papers and books and the detritus of over a decade in this house.

October 10th:
We’ve been going crazy over our airline tickets. We bought our airline tickets over a month ago. 2 days ago the agency canceled our tickets and told us they would refund in 30 days. DH spent 3 hours on hold and then a couple more hours with a woman trying to reschedule our flight. They turned a 25 hr flight into a 40 hr flight but it was done. Today they canceled again. DH has been on hold or talking in circles to ticketing agent for 3 hours. The only flight they will give us causes us to miss our connection from Kuala Lampur to K.K, our final destination. The agent just admitted to out loud on the phone that the reason is that tickets are more expensive now than when we paid. And just when we thought we had new arrangements, the phone just died before that was finalized. Flights are still up in the air. We can’t buy a new set of tickets without receiving our refund and we do not want to. The cost to us will be likely doubled and it is infuriating to have our advanced plans trashed like this for this reason.

P.S. I am relieved to discover that smiling at people is considered a sign of intelligence and is acceptable in Malaysia and China. Not so much among people from India, but I did know that. More here:

October 12th: We think the tickets are resolved. The last set of arrangements they claimed to have made for us, they assured us we had a new confirmed flight and were cleared for extra luggage and all our baggage was going all the way through until KL. But they gave us the run around so many times, that when DH got off the phone (after 5 house with this confirmation and an email assuring him of the same) and called the airline to double check.

We had a confirmed flight, but we had one hour in Singapore to collect our luggage and recheck it at a different airline and gate, and there was no way that was going to work, and the airline agrees and is reworked our tickets yet again. We will still have to be the ones to transfer our bags in Singapore, and our original 25 hour journey is now 30 something and we have to leave in the wee hours of the morning instead of the late afternoon- BUT we think it’s done. We should have a six hour layover to collect and recheck our bags in Singapore. We also don’t have extra luggage, and if we want that, it’s 200 dollars per suitcase just for the first airline (we are going through three different airlines). So we won’t be doing the extra suitcases either. We’re calling the airline every other day or so to confirm out tickets between now and when we leave.

Oct. 16
Dear Friends,

I packed our first suitcase for the move to Malaysia last night. I have a spare six pounds to squeeze into the nooks and crannies.
1 down (almost), five more to go. Plus the carry-on, which is basically 3 small suitcases, one purse almost as big as a duffle bag, and two backpacks.

It looks like we found a flat on the 10th floor of an apartment complex (condos there). It’s somewhere around 1000 sq feet. Looks clean, bright, has the basic furniture we wanted in it, mainly a washing machine and a fridge- I was willing to sleep on the floor if we could get those. There’s a small laundry room with lines all over for drying clothes, plus a balcony we could use if I can fit my drying rack in a suit case.
It did look bright and cheerful in the pics we saw, but it also occurs to me that our view is pretty much just other apartment buildings very nearby. Like, from our bedroom window, I think I could lip-read the neighbours in the next building over. So, I suppose the brightness may be the time of day. But if it’s shaded by the other two buildings most of the day that is also not a bad thing in Malaysia.
There is def. an elevator.
Once you reach the ground it’s a five or ten minute walk from the school (probably 15 or 20 with the Cherub, so that’s also a plus.
THe other furniture included is more than adequate for our needs- a small dining room table and 3 plastic chairs, a good sized couch, a long low piece of furniture with drawers within and a television on top, a queen sized bed, a twin bed, and a smaller single bed, a couple small sets of drawers and a desk. The kitchen has a cooktop, two burners I think, and a water purifier that dispenses hot and cold water.
I’m very pleased. We can walk to the school, friends have insisted they will pick us up for church, so the only time we’ll need a cab is to go to the beach or the grocery store.

October 17th

Suitcase #2 is packed, but has not been weighed. Started on suitcase #3, but only put a few things in since I may have to move some items from suitcase 2 to 3 if I packed too much weight, which I generally do and there is a double meaning in that.

I have lists and more lists.

I am feeling more and more confident in my Bahasa Malaysia, PROVIDING people who try to talk to me limit themselves to about fifty words and put them in Quizlet form for me, or write them flashcard and multiple choice style. If they are willing to do that, we can talk. ;-D

I’ve used those vacuum bags for the clothes, sheets, and towels ( I spent an embarrassing amount of time going over the seams of one that is now on its fourth use and the vacuum wasn’t sucking in air out. I ended up duct-taping all around the edges and trying two or three more times before I noticed, ummmm, I cannot believe I am confessing this here, I forgot to unscrew the cap on the bag.

That was hilarious.

I am able to do all this early packing because right now it is so cold that packing amounts to switching our seasonal clothing- all the 100% cotton or cotton/linen blend items go in the suitcases and I’m pulling out sweaters, leggings, and wool socks from storage.

I will miss the grandbabies, but this cold is making me eager to get to Malaysia.

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