Finally, I'm able to start packing for my departure in two days! For the past 29 days, since I stopped working outside the home (temporarily), I've been bustling around, checking off tasks on a killer agenda, preparing my home for my house- and pet-sitters. Nothing major, just don't want the place to fall down around their ears. After all, they are my eldest and his wife, and I'll have to answer to them if the kitchen ceiling collapses because I failed to prime the plaster patch! I also had to clear some space for them to shoehorn themselves and their cat in amongst our 30+ years of accumulation. Thanks to charities that collect at my curb, I have shed at least a roomful of furniture, and several truckloads of unused clothing and household goods.
I've had a lot to prepare besides the home: I had to leave my part-time job in good shape, to leave our cars in running condition, and to refresh my German. Check, check and check! Not that my German is actually in running condition yet.
But today, I have finally checked off the last item on my to-do list(s) and can pull out the luggage and start tossing in everything I'll need! This part seems easier to me, partly because I often travel to New Hampshire for summer weekends. I seldom travel long-distance but when I do, it's for a relatively long time. In 1990-91, we spent 10 months living in Cambridge, England; we spent 11 months in 1997-98 living in Stuttgart, Germany; and we spent 6 months living in Singapore in 2001. Each time, I did less study than I have now about the expected weather, and had more people to pack for. And each time, we got by with pretty much what I threw into suitcases. This time, we'll be back in four months to spend the summer at home, so there seems to me more room for error than ever before!
From my weekend trips, I know how to throw in a choice of clothing that can be mixed, matched, and layered, and to remember an extra pair of socks in case somebody else forgets them. I’ve already got my first-aid and beauty-supplies bags packed and ready. I’ve looked at the annual weather patterns in our destination city, Karlsruhe. Calculations based on expected weather, however, are complicated by the trips ahead of us once we’re settled, which I know includes a trip to Israel in March. I’ll pretty much be packing for everything from moderately cold to possibly hot! I’m not planning to bring housewares because we’ll live in a furnished apartment, and I can probably make do for four months with whatever I find there.
So, this will be my last post with no photos--when I land in Germany on Wednesday, I'll see so much I want to share, that choosing which photos will surely be difficult. But I'm very excited to be going abroad, and to be able to share with all my friends all the sights and the wonderful meals ahead! The best part about being a faculty spouse on sabbatical leave is that my main job becomes to ensure that we live life as it should be lived, in the foreign country we will soon call home. Such a clear, simple agenda is a great gift.