Friday, January 25, 2008

How Much Does Your Life Weigh?

That seems like a weird question, unless of course you are moving. Weight becomes even more important if you happen to be making an international move. All of us in the expat community face this issue everytime we relocate. We will be going to our second posting this summer so this has been very much on my mind.

Our alloted weight limit is 7200 pounds, I don't speak metric so if you function in kilos I am sorry. This is actually a pretty generous allowance. I know a family of 8 who is here in Jakarta with a weight limit of about half that, EEEK!

The weight limit for us is the same no matter how many people in the family. So if you are a single guy you can ship 7200 pounds of stuff to post. If you are married without kids you get 7200 pounds. 1 kid, 2 kids, 5 kids? 7200 pounds. To me this seems a little crazy. I have a single brother-in-law I have know for almost 10 years now and I don't think he OWNS 7200 pounds of stuff, not even if you include his truck.

7200 seems like a lot. Especially since our housing comes furnished. Now look around your house. What would you need to make a house not of your choosing, with furniture not to your taste, feel like home for 2 years? What would you need for day to day chores? Think about all the things you need: pots, dishes, glasses, towels, shower curtains, sheets, clothes, shoes, socks, toys, school supplies, sports equipment, musical instruments, cd's, video's, tv, books, artwork, throw rugs...the list seems endless. The weight goes quickly especially if you have kids.

We arrived at post pretty close to our limit and of course we went shopping while we were here. Now we have more weight than we are allowed. I have discovered the cure for being a pack rat! Just put a weight limit on your life. Now every time I go to the bookshelves I look not only for a book to read but books to pass on to others. When I pick up toys I notice which ones are sitting dusty on the shelf, they will be going to other children. I suddenly take great pleasure in throwing stuff away instead of just tossing it in a drawer to deal with later. Later is now!


Terio said...

You did not mention the cats....Do they count in your weight limit? If so, I would be in BIG trouble. Thanks Kitten!

Jae said...

Ah girl!! That is the story of my life - the pass it on - paying it forward. I only keep true KEEPSAKES. Otherwise, it gets recycled. Another child, Goodwill, Church. We are such a society that covets "stuff" ... I try to not do that. I'm not perfect, mine you, but I totally agree on the idea of the library, and hand-me-downs, and helping others by donating the stuff we just really no longer need. :)

Jen Jen in Jakarta, Indonesia said...

Hi Shannon

One of my good friends is from Berlin. Please let me know if you want to all meet up for a coffee and chat about Germany.