We’re leaving Singapore, moving back to Houston, at the end of August. After three years, it’s time. As always, the reality of moving comes down to lists—what to sell, who to notify, what we want to do or see one last time before we leave, what steps need to be taken to transport the dog, reservations for airline tickets, and reservations for cars and accommodation on the other side. (Once again, the interminable overseas flight—and I merrily remind myself that this is absolutely the last time.) Lists give David a sense of control, while they make me feel trapped. On Saturday David’s list looked like this:
Buy Shoe Laces
Reservations at Shangri-la (where we’re staying as we’re packed out)
Reservations for Phuket (one last quick trip; we love Patong Beach)
Transfer work e-mail
Talk to hardware guy about solvent (David persists in his belief that clerks have knowledge)
Update items for sale
Contact HR—storage and shippers
My list looked like this:
Run errands, get things done
The core of any move is Stuff—packing it, distributing it, and, sometimes, cramming it in the garbage chute. The tradition I embrace is that the maid always gets first dibs. This time around, all I have to discard are clothes, but Jean’s the size of a ten-year-old girl. I can’t see her wanting my faded shirts and jeans. Once, years ago in Cairo, all I had to leave Nadia was a gigantic box of Tide, a rare and precious item at the time. I had visions of her proudly washing her sons’ clothes, boasting to her busybody neighbors that she had the best detergent. My feelings were hurt when I heard she sold it, which is just silly. I gave it to her—what she did with it was her business. And of course she needed money more than smell-good clothes.
Over the years we’ve collected items from our overseas locations—things that will remind us of where we’ve traveled, the interesting things we’ve seen, the culture we were immersed in for a while. Mostly it’s been art: the Cahill watercolor of Aberystwyth, the Mansour from Egypt, and the two Dutch oils, one to suit each of our tastes. Here in Singapore we’ve mainly stuck to smaller items—a green wooden jewelry box, a shuddered mirror, a piece of pottery from the Dragon Kiln. In Vietnam we purchased a hand-painted chest, with which we quickly developed a love/hate relationship—duty to get it into Singapore cost almost as much as the chest. Oh, impulsive Waldos!
Also, for every move, a list of possessions to be shipped must be compiled, and every item must be described and its value estimated. That’s my job today. What a pain. But my sister, Resi, and my cousin, Georgia, will be here at the end of the week and at that point I’m putting aside the demands of the move in order to shop, drink wine, and play Mahjong for three weeks. Yay!