The wait is over. Our boxes that were supposed to be here approximately 8 to 10 days after we came have finally come. Its only been a month and a half, but, hey, that’s India time, right?
The hassles we have had regarding these boxes have been many. Multiple emails went back and forth long before we even packed them. Then, there was getting them to Miami, which Scott had to do on Addie’s 8th birthday while she and I and some friends went to Wannado City. (Added by Scott – Don’t read this the wrong way, while what she said is true, I DID go to Wannado City with the family, just escaped for a few hours to do this which took very little time and then went off to the USDA to get the cat’s paperwork done which took HOURS and was the real draw. Stacy and Addie’s cats I might add so why I had to go and not them is beyond me!!)
Once we got here, we waited 2 weeks and then began to call to figure out what went wrong. Apparently they hadn’t gotten the payment information from us, and it never occurred to them to contact us, so the boxes continued to sit in Miami. Ok, we got them the necessary card numbers and were told it would now be 8 more days.
8 days came and went, and still nothing. Again, a flurry of emails regarding their whereabouts. They were in Italy at that point. Why they were there, I’ll never know. All I know is that they weren’t here!
Finally, over a month after the saga began, we got word that they had made it to India. Supposedly they were on their way to Hyderabad as the contact at the shipping office was writing the email to us. Hooray, here they come…
Only to be stalled again in Hyderabad, where they were waiting for Scott to come with a passport and some money for customs. Well, of course, Scott’s schedule didn’t allow him to come immediately, so…more waiting. When Scott finally got everything squared away (only 2 days after they called me, again she makes it look like I was the problem!!), we were assured that the boxes would arrive that evening on our doorstep.
Evening comes, no boxes. Turns out they were being held for ransom. EVEN THOUGH Scott was there during the day, even though he had filled out every piece of paperwork they threw at him, even though we were assured that all was in order, even though he had promised them his firstborn (sorry Addie!), they were again held up because they wanted more money.
Negotiations commenced, and some guys from the office went on Scott’s behalf and tried to get them to release our stuff. I don’t know the details, I really don’t want to know. The only thing for sure was that finally, tonight, the truck came rolling down the road. We recieved advanced notice of its impending arrival, and Ender and Addie went down the road to meet it like they were meeting a favorite aunt or the ice cream truck. I knew when it was in the subdivision by Ender’s screaming that could be heard a block away…”It’s here, it’s here! Our boxes are here!” In fact, everyone in the whole subdivision knows that our boxes have arrived.
Sudhakar was still here when they came, and I think he was as excited to see what they contained as the kids were. He tore into those boxes and top speed and fought with the kids over each item, as he wanted to check them all out. He wondered about Scott’s scuba gear, and wanted to know the purpose of some of the kitchen ware I had brought. He and Ender played on the floor for a good long while with Ender’s irritating, noisy, light-up top. We were all desperate to check out Ender’s drum set, but alas, we need a power converter before that can be fired up.
Now, I have to tell you, NOTHING in those boxes was worth the time, hassle and money that went into this. For the amount we spent getting the stuff here, we could have bought it all new. However, the kids are happy, and we have a sack of the most well-traveled Webkinz and plastic horses on the planet.
From talking to the kids at school, I have found that the arrival of the boxes is a major event for everyone. Several kids have spoken of this wonderous day and the excitement surrounding it. It is a milestone in the life of an expat, a holiday, a sacred event. Perhaps we’re just happy to have our toys again, or perhaps its something much more, the opportunity to bring a little of our old lives into this new place. The common theme is that the boxes always take longer than they should, and they always contain more toys than anything else. Its good to know that we’re not the only fools who paid an arm and a leg to ship assorted junk halfway around the world.
Yes, the expense was ridiculous, but the joy on the kid’s faces make it all worthwhile.
New stuff just isn’t the same as old stuff, perhaps because it isn’t part of our history yet. I’m reminded of “The Velveteen Rabbit” thinking about Addie and Ender’s joy when “their boxes” arrived in Hyderabad. The old stuff sort of puts an official seal on their new Indian home.