It's like a right of passage here, the cleaning out of cupboards and inviting of friends over to snag your imports. I've scored quite a few things as my friends have left..from clothes, to hair dryers to vanilla and koolaid. Now it's my turn to pass on my beloved overstock of items. The excess. The stuff we packed like drug lords into our suitcases hoping customs didn't confiscate on our way back to China. I'm telling you, had they opened the twenty packets of cheese powder we seperated from the boxes of macaroni cheese and brought over, they'd be stumped! And I'd cry. That Mac and cheese powder has served us well...but note to self, twenty packets is excessive. We love Mac and cheese but not that much. Now, hopefully my friends will enjoy the fruits of my smuggling capabilities.
[US visit, October 2013: packing suitcases bound for China]
I've gone through my clothes. I've parted ways with a bunch, because well--they're all at least three years old and my body has changed a ton since moving here. Two babies have done a number on my once flat stomach and I've got a ways to go before I will feel comfortable, or like "me" again in tighter fitting clothes. Instead of giving to friends, who can all afford clothes, Sal helped me seperate and pack my shirts, dresses and jeans into boxes to take down to our communal trash area. We opened the lids to the boxes, and left them on the ground so that anyone passing by would see that they contained clothing and take them. I've done this a handful of times and I've never passed back by and seen my box of "donations" sitting there. I've even had a lady take it from me and I was setting it on the ground. There are a lot of people less fortunate than me, and it makes my heart feel warm to see my clothes go to people in need. Plus, it lightens my suitcase for the trip home. Double win.
We will sell the cribs and changing table, pots and pans and appliances after the kids and I leave. I've contacted my friends with kids and given them dibs on some of the toys we will be leaving behind. It's amazing the amount of primary colored plastic crap that accumulates over the course of two years. We have way too many toys, and I've already forewarned Sal that not all of them will get to come home with us. His biggest concern is that he be able to bring his "construction night" (Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site) book home with us. I assured him that all of his books will get packed carefully by his dad and shipped home.
I'm not sure if Sal really knows what's going on. I've been trying to talk about us moving back to America and hyping up the things we will have/do when we are home, but I actually (seriously) worry a little bit about how he will react to not having construction vehicles to watch 24/7. That's one thing about China and living in a high rise-- my kid is entertained all day just looking off our balcony for the construction vehicles going by. With so much new construction, we are never at a shortage for dump truck/excavator/front loader/cement mixer/forklift sightings. I may have to search out sites in California and drive him there for his fix. The kid is nuts for job sites.
Aside from parting out our worldy possessions this month, I'm making a conscious effort to do more with my friends. I'm doing coffee dates, (attempting) lunches and afternoon play dates. Just as many of my friends are returning from summer holiday spent in their homelands, this girl and her family are preparing to leave. It makes me sad to think of leaving them, but most of them understand my desire to be back stateside sooner than later.
It's so surreal to say out loud, "We're going home."
I guess I'll just sit back and let it all soak in.