The grand total came to 63. Sixty-three boxes of stuff to be shipped to Australia, 80 percent of which we barely use or even knew we had, packed expertly by the movers over five hours yesterday while DD, baby and I sat on the sofa playing with a teddy bear. We watched the men in bright orange polo shirts use sheets and sheets of bubble wrap on junk and tat that we were too embarrassed to tell them not to bother with, and didn’t know quite how to answer when they asked how they should label the boxes.
There was more. Later, after baby had gone to bed, DD and I spent some tedious hours packing eight more boxes for ‘unescorted air freight’, which would arrive at our house in Canberra in three weeks, as opposed to the three months that the shipping would take. It ended up being mostly baby’s toys, and most of that was his ball pit with its collapsible tent and 700 plastic balls. Three of the boxes were Ikea safety gates that we’d not yet even opened, but had made their way from China where they were probably made, then perhaps to a Sweden warehouse, on to the UK where we’d bought them, back to China where they lay unused under the bed, and now trekking southwards across the equator. The only thing crazier than that was DD going over every side of every box three times with tape, only to discover this morning when the guy came to pick them up that the tape wasn’t sticking properly and we were left wondering whether the 700 balls will break free in the cargo hold somewhere over the Solomon Islands.
And all this didn’t include the old clothes that we had dug out a few weeks ago and donated to a local charity, or the bags and bags and bags of cupboard food and paperwork we threw out, or the gold-coloured boxes of Chinese booze that another departing embassy officer had dumped on us years ago.
Now with everything gone, save our suitcases, fiddly bits left on the dining table and a fridge full of food, the house is feeling echo-ey and we feel curiously happy.
‘I quite like living minimalist,’ said DD as he woke up this morning.
‘Dugaduga,’ said baby, running around the cavernously empty rooms and playing with the balloons we’d blown up.
For me, the fun was somewhat curtailed when I had to stir a vat of bolognaise with a tablespoon, having discovered that the embassy’s temporary supply of kitchenware was somewhat haphazard.
It won’t be long before DD starts to miss his bath robe and baby his Mary Poppins DVD, and I for one could do with a ladle, but for now we’re in full adventure mode, ready to follow our 71 boxes of crap across the ocean and leave a fresh trail of rubbish in another land.