Home.

Guess what, y’all…our house is EMPTY. That means after the long weekend we will have KEYS to our home and can move back in. It has been a long 2.5 years and hard these last 5 months living a few streets away in this rental waiting for our renters to move out. I’m so ready. Alabama wont feel quite right until we are in our house again.

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We stopped by today to meet with a guy from Window World to get an estimate on changing out the old, heavy wood, thin windows to some new vinyl energy efficient windows that actually OPEN! Pretty excited about that. Too bad one of the selling points on the house 6 years ago was the fact there were so many windows (22 including the garage) which just means SO MANY to replace. Ugh.

But it will be worth it, yes? I hope so.

Anywho, in my best Sponge Bob voice… Im ready! Im ready! Im ready!

The lantana I planted forever ago will be needing a trim…

Same goes for my roses and azaleas. They’re in there somewhere.

We will also be trimming back some of the trees. Our yard there is so woodsy full of nuts and leaves. I will miss this wide open grassy backyard a lot. And all the different lilies the owner (or one enthusiastic renter) has planted all over the place.

We still need to get this whole house full of stuff over to that house and set it all up but even so, it’s good to finally feel like we are home!

International Moving – What I’ve Learned…

First, I’ve learned I’m never moving overseas again.

Ok, maybe that’s a lie…but I hope it’s not. Since jumping into this crazy military life I have only ever moved across oceans. AZ to HI. HI to AL. AL to SK. SK to AL. The idea of a just moving a state or two…or even three over sounds amazingly easier. Can you imagine just driving your car to your new house? I’m at 8 weeks now without my car. It’s supposedly on its way from Cali to Atlanta. Hopefully.

And actually, these tips don’t only apply to international moves. Most are good for any big move…but moving across an ocean is all I know.

Moving!

Anyway, moving across an ocean means we had a crap ton of pack outs and deliveries. First, there was the stuff we stored for the 2 years we were in Korea. That came back to us first. Next, unaccompanied baggage aka UAB. That came second. Finally (unless you count the car that hasn’t shown up yet) we got our regular household goods (HHG) delivery.

UAB = Supposed to take about 4 weeks. You put all the important stuff you want ASAP in that shipment. It goes on a plane vs boat so your weight allowance is limited. No big furniture or large tvs.

HHG = The rest of our Korea stuff. Still have a weight allowance but since we stored most of our furniture we weren’t too worried about that.

Storage = EVERYTHING else. If I didn’t think I’d need it in Korea for 2 years it went into storage. There was a lot. Mostly furniture and outdoor stuff.

 

moving boxes
Uh, just stack those boxes over by the tower of boxes we got last week…

What I’ve learned….

Storage – This can go for every pack out…but especially if its something you wont see for a few year…for the love of Pete PURGE! Purge purge purge. When they came to pack out our storage stuff it was at the end of our get ready to move frenzy. I was here in AL with the 2 kids (Timmy wasn’t even 2 yet) while Thomas was in Korea already. I had done the rest of the move prep on my own and at that point I was over it. PACK IT ALL! I’ll deal with it in 2 years. Guess what? 2 years went fast and now I’m sitting in a house of boxes that are full of multiple junk drawers and papers/books/baby toys and crib bedding. So NOW I get to go through it all. As well as our 2 Korea shipments. Seriously the best thing you can do before storing your life long term would be to get rid stuff. If you wont need it 2-3 years down the road then dump it.

UAB – This is the stuff you expect to get back pretty fast. We kept it a bit longer than the slow stuff on the Korea side expecting to get it back sooner on the Alabama side. Well, planes break, shipments are delayed, nothing is ever guaranteed. Duh, it’s like I’m new to this. ¬†It took another 3 weeks past the time we were originally told it would be here until it was actually delivered. Thankfully I AM a bit of a hoarder and didn’t purge the storage stuff because we did have a few things in that load to use for a few weeks, but not much. DON’T expect it to show up on time. If it does, amazing! But just in case it’s a good idea to keep some cheap and light plastic dishes, some REAL silverware (just enough for the family. Washing is better than plastic for weeks), some cooking utensils (like a large slotted spoon, spatula, a good knife..), cork screw!, can opener, etc. So many things we had to run out and buy that would totally have been able to fit in a suitcase.

HHG – This is prolly the least important category. This is usually the stuff you wont need for a while. Doubles of things, the less important toys, seasonal decorations that wont come around until long after even the slowest stuff shows up. I can’t think of much in this batch that I missed. One thing you should think about when deciding what can go slower would be clothing. What is the temperature like where you’re moving? What will it be like in a month or 2 after you get there (depending on when you send out your HHG shipment). For us, all but a couple pairs of shoes were in the slow stuff along with all of my dresses and shorts. It’s much warmer in Alabama than Korea. Not a total deal breaker if you’ve been seeing my Thrifty Thursday posts but it would have been nice if I would have put more thought into how many winter clothes I’d need here vs warmer weather clothes.

moving boxes
Kitchen boxes = Christmas!

¬†Dealing with pack outs –

-Like I said before…PURGE. Get rid of all things you don’t want or need. Clean out all junk drawers.

-If you have more than one packout (UAB, HHG, storage…) take one pack out at a time. Pull out everything you are sending one day and keep it to one or two rooms. Your house will be crazy cluttered for a few days before they pack it but it will be much easier to have the movers come in and you can just tell them everything in this room goes.

-CLEAN everything! Seriously, when things went into storage I must have been a hot mess and just didn’t care how it went…I’ll deal in 2 years, remember? Geeze. Dust everything, clean all mirrors/glass, wipe everything down. I obviously did none of that when my stuff got packed up. Just one more thing to have to do now. And gross!

inventory sheet
Inventory sheet…apparently those are 5’s in Korea.

Dealing with deliveries –

When having your things delivered there are a couple things you will need to be on top of.

Inventory sheets: Have them all laid out ready to go. The company should be good about doing this for you. Hopefully you can read what they say because once things start coming in it can go pretty quick. They yell out a box number and you check or initial or cross out each one so you know it came in. Some numbers you can’t read so it’s good to match up descriptions on the box/paper. Also, sometimes things don’t come inside (our outdoor things and dog crates went straight to the carport. I did see them unload though and crossed them off before the guys had to figure out what numbers they were missing since they didn’t bring them inside.)

Know where things are going: First things first. When the movers come in the will want a quick tour of where you are going to want things. Some things for me were easy like toys in the kids room, big furniture went where I wanted it…but there were a lot of boxes of just STUFF that I wasn’t sure where to put yet so they all went in a pile in the living room. If you know where you want things its easy to just read the number/description and quickly let them know where you want it.

Be patient and friendly: These movers are hauling your stuff in for you and even unpacking if you want them to. You’re probably also not the only house they’re unloading that day. The whole process of moving is a stressy time so try to keep calm and be nice. Everyone will be happier that way!

moving boxes
Carport full of empty boxes…the only thing parking in there are scooters.

5 Things I Will and Will Not Miss About Korea

We have roughly 7 months left here in Korea. Some days I feel like it can’t come soon enough and some days all I can think of are all the great things I will miss about my time in this country.

So here’s a quick list of my highs and lows in no particular order.

I will miss:

 

Derby. That’s an obvious. These ladies have changed my life for the better. I’m a completely different person than I was a year and a half ago and I am so thankful to them for helping me out of my shell. Finally haha. I hope I get lucky enough to find a group even half as awesome as them at our next duty station.

FOOD. Ok, I’m not a huge kimchi, crazy Korean food lover but there are things I will miss. Korean Frying. OMG. Spicy Bulgogi with rice and some kimbap delivered to my door. Nom nom nom. Also, their pizza. So much better than American pizza. Sweet potato pizza is the shizzle.

Korean Frying. Yummo.

Movie Theaters. I love that I can order my tickets online and reserve a seat at the movies so I only have to show up as the movie is about to start. Can you do that in the states? It’s been a while since I’ve gone to a movie. They also serve beer at the theater and lots of yummy flavored popcorn.

Kids Cafes. Seriously. Best invention ever. Get on it America! I love having 2 hours of play time for the kids while I sit and drink coffee with my friends. And the staff chase them around, cuff their too long pants, help them into dress up clothes….and there are tv monitors so you can watch your kids while sitting and sipping your coffee no matter where they run off to. LOVE me some Star Kids.

Star Kids – Kids Cafe

The People. In general the people here are just nice. Kinda like living in the south…but different. Haha everything in Korea is the almost the same…but different. And they LOVE kids. I can’t imagine many Americans that would scoop up my kids and give them candy and play with them or keep them entertained on a train or in the market. I know I wouldn’t. It’s going to be a change being around a lot of only concerned about themselves Americans again.

A few things that didn’t make the Top 5 but are still things I will miss dearly….heated floors (awesome!), bathroom floor drains, the front compartment on the fridge, Splish and Splash.

I wont miss:

 

Sink Drains. SO gross. I miss my garbage disposal in the worst way. Our sink here just has this big metal basket that catches all the nasty and smells and has to be emptied and cleaned. Bleck. Worst chore ever.

Spiders. They are huuuuge here! Oh goodness. But this one is still up in the air. While I don’t enjoy the monster spiders here I would gladly take them over the monster centipedes in Hawaii. And they are kinda fun to watch when they make webs on the porch. Just keep them out of my bathrooms.

Shopping. This one can go either way too. SOME shopping (fabric, cute little cheap Daiso things…) I will miss but in general I can’t wait to have options again. I need more American grocery stores than just the commissary. I want a Walmart and Target and Walgreens, and a mall with clothes that fit me. If we want anything ‘American’ at a decent price we need to shop on post. That leaves us a small PX and commissary to choose from. While I’m thankful that we do have those privileges I do miss having options. (spoiled much?!)

The HEAT/COLD. Ok, ok…seems like everything I don’t like about Korea I could get stuck with somewhere else. But geeze it’s hot right now and without central air it sucks. And the air we do have is expensive to run so we use is sparingly. Thankfully we only really turn it up for maybe 1 or 2 months so it all evens out. Also, it’s freakin cold in the winter. I don’t like snow or ice and hopefully we will leave both behind us when we go somewhere else.

The Smell. You never know what it will smell like when you go out. It’s an awesome blend of manure (not sure what kind…), burning, kimchi, and pollution. It’s just Korea. You can’t unsmell Korea.

Just like every other move we’ve done I’m so ready to move on to what’s next but when the time comes will be so sad to leave behind what is here.

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