The door buzzed at 8:15. I was in a dead sleep with pillow marks on my face. Three Germans entered with varying degrees of English. They scattered about into three separate rooms and started packing like mad without conversation. Even though I had all my items grouped together and labeled, things were intermixed and unclear and placed without much thought into boxes. I ran around with my Sharpie trying to mark what I could so we'd know what was inside when it reaches USA. I'd bet that items will arrive broken in this shipment, as the detail and care was about half as much as the two Americans who packed it on the way over. The German work ethic is different, with about four half hour smoke breaks in the morning, things packed willy-nilly without any sort of real apparent order (some pictures boxed, some bubble-wrapped). I kept pointing out valuable items, but my confidence in this shipment is much less than on the way over.
Once finished. my movers hauled all the boxes out the the curb and into Ernst and Helga's front yard. I was alarmed at the amount of stuff I had and decided I needed a therapist to deal with my consumerist problem. At the last minute, I plucked additional items from the shipment to sell off today or tomorrow. They carried the piano and crated it. (That item, I have confidence.)
The truck to pick up the goods was scheduled to arrive at 1PM.
The truck arrived at 6:30PM.
In about 15 minutes, all my stuff was in the truck, filling about 1/5 of the container. An ADAC (like AAA) truck arrived to lift my car into the truck. Definitely the most exciting part of the load. After the car was inside and tied down, all of us waved goodbye and sealed and locked the container. I received my shipping inventory and bid them goodbye. Even with the car inside, there was still an extra third left, at least. I felt better about my consumer problems and decided I was not a horrible person after all.
Ernst was about all day, watching and making crying gestures to his face. The neighbors showed up and stood at the bed of the truck. I watched and took pictures. Helga was away for the day.
Last night I camped on a sleeping pad in the hallway with a blanket and my headlamp to read by. In the middle of the night, I awoke freezing, and found leggings, capris, socks and a sweatshirt to warm up. (And even then I was still cold, but fell back asleep.)
This morning, Ernst and Helga came up and did the final walk through and presented me with an envelope filled with 900E and some change. (my return deposit). Helga again offered if I need anything to ask them (she looked like she was about to cry). I said, maybe an extra blanket. So she brought me a down comforter of her daughter Doris', and offered an extra pillow.
What I've realised is that people like to help. My friend Katherine gave me her spare car. Lots of others have rallied around, helping with customs issues and whatever else comes up. I just have to remember to reach out. Though stressful, it has been also a reaffirming experience. And it's a very light feeling to have my things gone. I am happy (almost... just give me a few more days).