[This is the second post in a series. You might want to start with the first one here.]
While exchanging Christmas presents with two lovely gals I’ve known since elementary school, the conversation turned to my brother’s recent move to Saudi Arabia. I told them that Stephen’s fifteen-hundred pounds of personal belongings–the weight allotted to him by the moving company–had recently arrived over there, and he had been transferred into a larger apartment in anticipation of his family’s arrival.
One of my friends was impressed that Stephen and his family were able to cut back so much. “Fifteen hundred pounds is not very much!” she said. “That’s crazy!”
I agreed. It is crazy.
But my other friend chipped in: “I don’t know. Their apartment over there is furnished, isn’t it? Other than clothing, what else do you need? Just clothing wouldn’t weigh fifteen hundred pounds, would it?”
So I started thinking about it. She was right that Stephen’s apartment is furnished, so they didn’t have to pack any basic furniture. What did they need to pack? And how did they decide? I asked them.
Before proceeding, I should note that Stephen did actually rent a storage unit here in the states for family heirloom sorts of things that they knew they really wanted to keep longterm but didn’t want to lug across the globe. That helped.
Still, they have two little children, one of whom is still sleeping in a crib. A crib needed to be packed. And you can’t buy car seats over there or other things that Americans consider standard for child safety. So those things got packed. They packed blankets and pillows and other linens. They took their stand mixer and sewing machine. Their pots and pans and other necessary kitchen items. (If you have ever vacationed in a “furnished” apartment or condo, you know how important it is to pack your own cooking stuff if you cook often.) Some basic tools. Some small decorations to make their home feel like home.
And before you knew it, they were within 10 pounds of their limit.
I tried to have a conversation with J about what we would pack if we had to get down to 1,500 pounds, and he didn’t think it was interesting enough to spend time chatting about. “At whatever point in the future we actually find ourselves in that position, I am happy to discuss it,” he said.
Okay, he didn’t say those exact words, but I’m paraphrasing his tendency toward preferring practicality over “what ifs.”
For the record, he also doesn’t find it interesting when I want to talk about what three personal items I would want to take with me when I am on the TV show Survivor. (I don’t know why he doesn’t think that is a practical discussion.)
But I know, friends, that you care about these things, don’t you?
So, let’s see… fifteen-hundred pounds…