I just love the month of December.
It’s full and festive. It wraps up the year, yet preps for the next. It’s the birth month of Christ. It’s the midpoint of a school year. It’s family and warm clothes and presents and cookies and lights and all things magical. (And it just so happens to be the month William and I met, 4 years ago.)
So you can imagine our excitement when our PCS (Permanent Change of Station) move date was extended a month, from December 5th to January 4th.
With William just returning from his deployment in October, an extra month was obviously a blessing — providing us a little bit more time together in Saint Louis (after losing 6 months), as well as more time to prepare for Germany.
But the timing, due to the time of year, was a double blessing — as it allowed me to finish up the semester at my job on a natural break, gave us the sweet gift of celebrating Christmas down south with family and friends,
and allowed us to bring in the (Very) New Year one last time in Saint Louis.
But this December wasn’t all magical. Clearly, it brought a lot of goodness, but it also brought an equal amount of stress — due to an overwhelming about of change…
On December 9th, our first shipment (Unaccompanied Baggage “UAB”) left. I think this was the day this whole ‘moving thing’ started to feel real to us.
This UAB shipment included (up to) 1,000 lbs of what we would need/want soon after we arrive in Germany. This shipment is flown by plane, allowing it to arrive sooner than our main shipment. Ideally, our UAB will arrive in Germany within the same week we do, so if we find a house right away, we will have a little more than just the bags we came with.
One week later, December 16th-19th, we went from 2 incomes to 1, sold my car, watched everything we own go into shipping crates, and became ‘homeless’ (phew).
As if I wasn’t already sad enough about leaving my first (and favorite) school counseling job, I had about 24 hours before I also had to say goodbye to my 2nd car AND our 1st home. (It’s a miracle I’m still emotionally stable after that week.)
Our main shipment (Household Goods “HHG”) took about 2 full days. The first day, everything we own was either boxed or wrapped up. Technically, we were not allowed to help with any of the packing (for liability reasons) but William and I did A LOT of prep work before they arrived to make our (and our movers) lives easier.
Day 2, they came back and began loading everything into 7 large wooden crates (aka played real life Tetris for hours). These days were exhausting, physically and emotionally.
The sun had set on Day 2 as our movers nailed the crates shut and said “the next time you see these, they will be in your German driveway” (AH!) The crates were then moved to a cargo ship and are estimated to arrive sometime in February (fingers crossed!).
Side note: It’s a weird feeling watching 95% of your earthly possessions pull away, knowing that you have zero control on the outcome. William is constantly reminding me “to stop reading the horror stories” … “it’s just stuff” … “everything can be replaced”. (He’s really good for me.)
That night, we had our last meal in our empty 1918-city-rental-home. We ate our favorite neighborhood pizza and drank a bottle of wine that we brought back from our 1st anniversary trip to California. It was simple and sweet and we thanked the Lord for a safe place to love, fight, forgive, cry, laugh and rest, in our first days as husband and wife.
Luckily, we were able to drive south the following day (after spending the night with friends) for much needed time with our families, as we celebrated the birth of our Savior.
It was a bittersweet Christmas, as we gave extra long hugs to family and friends before making our final drive back to Saint Louis. (A quick 2 years ago, we were making our 1st).
December 30th, we officially handed over the keys to our house, checked into our lovely European inspired hotel (The Cheshire, a St. Louis favorite), and started acting like tourists in our own city. Living out of 6 suitcases, in a fancy hotel, eating out every meal, not working, and enjoying the city with friends — beyond thankful for a week ‘staycation’ before the chaos started up again.
January 3rd, we shipped our car (which should arrive in 2 months), checked into our flights, and UBER-ed to our favorite restaurant for one last meal.
Although we rang in the 2017 4 days ago, our Very New Year officially begins today (January 4th). We board our one-way flight to Germany and start a Very New Adventure.
Ready or not…
“As life moves we need to move with it, not against it. Transition happens whether we’re ready or not. Of course it’s difficult to let go, to stretch, to accommodate, and to be in between here and there yet– discomfort is inevitable whether you remain in a stagnant story that no longer serves or you decide to choose growth. So choose growth.” —Victoria Erickson