Back in February we packed up our home by the Thames in Molesey dividing it into three piles; Bahrain, South Africa and Find-A-New-Home. actually there was a fourth which was Take-To-The-Dump but much to our delight it was very small as we managed to Freecycle a lot of stuff that didn’t fit into the first two piles and several friends were happy to give some items new homes.
Four months later and it seems that the Bahrain shipment is finally arriving this week at the port, not that the actual shipping took that time. Its been a matter of paperwork and finding our way round it. You need a CPR (resident’s permit) to import your personal effects and we still don’t have ours but have eventually worked out that as with everything else here if you have a letter stating your employers are applying for one and a friend or colleague who has a CPR that will suffice. So our stuff left storage in Enfield and boarded the Manila Express at Tilbury last month. It was then taken to Jebel Ali Port, Dubai via various ports in Europe and the Suez canal. From there it is being transported to Bahrain (As an aside the life of a container is a fascinating one as this BBC project revealed: The Box).
So what have I wanted for? I thought clothes would be at the top of my list as Gulf Air has a luggage allowance of 30kg which is not a lot if you are moving country. Added to that my first few weeks were going to be a sailing trip (Kevin kindly packed my sailing bag in his suitcase) meaning I packed one suitcase with an assortment of shorts and t-shirts for warm weather sailing, a lightweight set of oilies, sailing gloves, cotton sunhats, a cardie or two, three smock tops, a white blouse and a couple of dresses together with two pairs of linen trousers for tidy-wear plus what I was wearing to fly here. After four months there is some of this I haven’t needed; the cardies, oilies and my light wind proof, fleece lined jacket, although I was glad of the latter on my return to the UK recently. As it turned out Bahrain’s shopping malls filled in the gaps with a couple of longer sleeved loose smocks that didn’t need a cami underneath, looser fitting t-shirts, another dress and a couple of long skirts which I prefer to clingy trousers or jeans in the heat. Kevin has actually done his annual clothes shopping trip here, revamping his wardrobe with workshirts and casual trousers in an hour at M&S.
So though I’m looking forward to the rest of my wardrobe arriving, I haven’t actually missed any single item, except perhaps my black linen trousers with pockets (I brought the pair that were pocketless). I’ve bought a pair of trainers and some gym clothes plus some additional swimwear to be able to take advantage of the facitlies here in the apartment block. And I’ll admit to expanding my shoe collection a tad with two pairs of cheap flipflops, some strappy Clarks sandals for comfortable walking and a pair of flat peeptoe pumps to supplement the one pair of sandals, a pair of black flats which I’ve not worn since arriving, sheepskin slippers (why?) and my oh so comfortable Sebago sailing shoes which was all there was room for in my suitcase originally.
What I really miss is an eclectic mix of things. Almost every meal I cook I wish for a potato peeler that works, kitchen knives that stay sharp (and a decent knife sharpener) and sensible sized bowls rather than the tiny soup plates and rice bowls provided with the flat. I long for my jewellery making stuff (tools, beeds etc) as I keep having ideas for new projects but can’t do anything but write them down, it’s so frustrating (and I shipped my ideas notebook so I now have lots of scraps of paper with scribbled drawings on, as long as I haven’t lost them). Perfume – I brought my favourite little travel bottle of L’Occitane Ambre and have succumbed to a couple of purchases of local oils but miss wearing Chanel no 19, I wonder how its faired in all the heat? But actually I miss little else!
And when the shipment eventually arrives on our doorstep – all 44 cartons of china, glass, ornaments, rugs, wind surfing gear, clarinet & recorders, bathroom storage, makeup, jewellery box, sewing basket, footwear, clothes, handbags and holdalls, pictures, towels, christmas decorations and stationary, books and the printer (this could be one item we needed but have managed without thanks to others’ kindness), Kevin’s trouser stand and my sewing machine – just where are we going to put it all?