From the Rainbow Nation to Tanganyika!
Moving is stressful! Anyone who has ever had to pack up their house and move to a new location knows how stressful moving can be! And moving between countries has its own level of stress and challenges. Sheila and I moved out of our apartment in South Africa on December 13, 2021, and we (or rather I) moved into our Tanzanian apartment on January 12, 2022. Now, in all honesty, there was not much Sheila and I had to do regarding the move out process. My organization hired a moving company that showed up at our house and packed our things. Our role was to direct the movers and to separate our items into three categories – items for air shipment, items for sea shipment and items to travel with us on our flight out of the country. Now, I know you are asking yourself, “where is the stress?” The stress is in deciding what goes where and when. And each item category has a weight limit. What makes this process rather difficult is that you don’t know what you will need when you arrive at your new location. When we moved into our apartment in South Africa, the apartment was fully furnished. The apartment had kitchen items, sheets, towels, laundry items, WIFI and DSTV (satellite TV). It was the type of furnished apartment that could easily double as an Airbnb rental. On the other hand, our new apartment in Tanzania has nothing outside of furniture and appliances. While the Tanzanian complex likes to rent out apartments on a nightly basis to make money during the pandemic, complaints on booking.com and other travel sites have focused on the lack of kitchen items needed to use the appliances. The other night I had to go buy pots and pans (even though we have pots and pans in our shipment), cutlery, pillows, and towels.
The moving process is even more complicated with a child. Trying to decide what to send by air, what to ship by sea and what to bring with us has its own challenges with a 15-month-old. If we put his clothes in our sea shipment and we don’t receive that shipment for three to six months, then he could outgrow his clothes. In addition, we struggled with where to put Levi’s crib? Levi lived the first year of his life sleeping in a travel bassinet, a Graco pack & play and at times, sleeping in the bed with us when we didn’t have a bed for him. When we arrived in South Africa, he finally had a bed to himself. But that was short-lived because three months later, we were on the move again. We decided to sacrifice our air shipment allotment to include his crib and related items. This ensures that when he does arrive in Tanzania, he will have a crib that is familiar and belongs to him.
It is also safe to say that we under packed our sea shipment and over packed the bags that traveled with us to Tanzania. We left South Africa with ten bags to start our new life in Tanzania. However, I have since come to believe that we left some very important items out of our travel bags. As I mentioned above, pots and pans, cutlery, pillows, and towels. In addition, we packed our iron in our air shipment. I have been trying my best to get by without an iron and I guess this is made easy as my office is still working from home.
We clearly overestimate space in our checked baggage and had to leave a few items in South Africa. On my way to Tanzania, I traveled to South Africa (from Rwanda) to pick up our final items. It was strange being back in a city where you once lived and had an apartment. Sadly, I had to get a hotel room for the two nights when I was in town. On my final day, as I was preparing to check out, I decided to take a late shower since I was traveling overnight. I closed the bathroom door in case housekeeping came into the room. After exiting the shower and drying off, I tried to exit the bathroom, but the door refused to budge. I thought, “hmmm, that’s strange.” I tried the doorknob again and this time gently leaned into the door but again, it refused to move. I then became more forceful with the door. It became obvious to me that (1) the door was not going to open without force and (2) I didn’t want to be blame for breaking the door. Lucky for me I had my mobile phone so I called the front desk to inform them that I was locked in my bathroom and unfortunately, the top lock on the outside door was engaged…which meant it would be difficult for someone to access the room. She was a bit surprised with my call and constantly apologized but told me that someone from maintenance would be there to help me. After about 15-20 minutes, there was a knock on my hotel room door. Before entering the room, the maintenance man knocked on my door to make sure it was ok to enter the room. I called out to him several times that I was locked in the bathroom, but he could access the room. Finally, there was a loud thud as he broke the top lock of the door my ramming it with his shoulder. He stepped into the room, looked at the door and with one twist of the doorknob, he opened the door. And just like that I was freed from my temporary prison and able to move on to our new life in Tanzania.