7 days to go... and my husband - just back from a business trip - says he might have to go again on a business trip. His return to Beijing would be the day of our one-way-flight out. I would be alone when the packers storm the house.
6 days to go... I check my email between two farwell parties and find an email from the moving company: due to this busy week (every second expat moving seems to move this week) they are cancelling our first packing day. Anyway two days would be enough for our household. Please confirm....
Well, it was Saturday evening and I picked up the phone and lost my temper.
Although we anyhow thought of starting the packing a day later due to my husband's trip, I was disturbed by the service. They have my phone number and could have called right away when they knew they have to pack for someone else (maybe more important than us). Email is not appropriate and cancelling a packing day two working days in advance is even worse!
5 days to go... my husband is packing for his business trip back home and I am lucky to be able to give him and his collegue both again each a full suitcase of summer clothes. This means less volume for the container and summer clothes right on place when we come home.
Instead 4 days to go it is now ONE week to go! Yes! Great. Winning some extra time comforts me. I might not get a heart attack after all. But what do I do with my extra time when the container is gone? Shopping? Suitcases will be packed tight.
We are winning time for friends! And say good-bye again. One family had to leave earlier then planned to find a house in another destination then they thought they will move to. They will be back in some days. And another family that has to leave to Hong Kong due to visa renewel issues will be back this weekend. So this is very nice! We will be able to see both families one more time!
It is a very strange time right now here in Beijing for expats. All is about leaving. Even the magazine That's Beijing has on its June cover this subject:
"101 things to do before leaving Beijing".
Of course there are not 101 things to do in Beijing before leaving. Much less!
And that's why a lot of the points are meant to be funny.
But some of the points I recognize. E.g. getting a qipao. I lived without qipao, a traditonal Chinese dress, since my whole life... but the last time I went to Muxiyuan fabric market, my friend encouraged me and I got the silk to do one. And I went for the first time to a tailor at the Friendship Store (it was 10 days to go at the time). When I saw myself in the mirror, I wondered why I have not bought more silk, in different colours to get more dresses... No, stop thinking! No more fabric market trips (I got addicted, since two months I go there weekly, once even twice a week) - and will I ever wear it back home? Also, all tailors are working at their limits right now. Everybody leaving wants something done in the last minute. Meaning quality is suffering.
I have to go back to "work" and get my cupboards and drawers de-cluttered and sorted. I am also wondering what I find next that I have not thought I still have it. Maybe posting it on BeijingCafe, that serves these days as a very efficient Beijing version of ebay. I am not going to post a flower pot for 20 kuai or free shampoo ... this is what my ayi carries home every evening. But a kid's night pot? Or a toy tool bench? Mmhh, I am still looking for someone I know, who could use it. I am not going to let this be packed up in bubble wrapping and use up high valuable cubic meters in our tiny 20 feet container. So it gets the "Don't move" sticker.
I am glad about everything that I can get rid off, but on the other side all the farwell gifts are floating in and using up new space... Especially the bulky comapny gifts, like car grills... All these things get a "Don't move sticker" and at the end we will see what still fits in.
Today my ayi came with a "new" bike. It is just a tiny bit less shabby then her other bike. She declared her old one is broken. Very tricky... she knows that I have a nice Giant bike. And if it fits in the container, I might not leave it for her. How bad she makes me feel if I take my lovely Giant bike, with only one speed, useless for my hilly hometown, just for the sake of memories... I will feel bad every day I see it standing unused in the garage. Very tricky. I wonder if her bike is really broken - just 1 day before the packing starts?