Ok, we are FINALLY done with this stupid move. From Barcelona to storage in June (plus prepacking for weeks before), then weeks later, the storage items into the house, then the US stuff shipped by container to Amsterdam and finally now, the US items to the house. Finally. I shipped everything from the US on August 5th. That was about 6 weeks ago. And last week it arrived here in the Netherlands.
We never planned to bring our US items to Europe with us. After all, this was supposed to be just a 2 year move. But that was almost 5 years ago. And when Josh said we were moving to the Netherlands, my response was... I want my stuff. I know it's just "stuff" but it's comfort things. Our bedroom furniture, our photos (we only brought what was digital since that was obviously easy but since we've been together 20 years, there are a lot of pre-digital things we left behind...not to mention our framed wall prints) and more. Most of it would never have fit into our last 2 apartments and while this house is smaller than our home in the US, we figured most of the furniture could work out. And so, we shipped it. Not everything, but a lot.
But like everything else, this has not gone as smoothly as we had expected. Because somewhere along the way, someone forgot to tell us (or perhaps we didn't do enough due diligence) that because we have lived in Europe over 12 months, we no longer qualify for free importing through customs. Ah yes, we have shipped all of our things to Amsterdam (ok, not all but a lot of them - 3/4 of a 20' container) only to find out at the end of last week that we will have to pay a customs fee to get it released.
So our options were to send everything back or to pay the fee. Given that we spent well more than the fee to ship it all here, we have gone with option B, pay the stupid fee. As a result, our things are now get here 2 weeks sooner than we had originally been told. Good thing because the kids have been sleeping on air mattresses for a solid month now.
But it's all here and we're almost completely moved in. There will be pictures soon but we still have 2 or 3 more boxes to unpack and some pictures to hang up on the walls. But we're almost there and it's starting to feel like home, even more so now that we have our things. It's amazing how having these personal effects can make you feel more at home and more secure. I know they are just things but it still feels good to have them. And damn if I don't love my American queen size bed (we've been sleeping on a traditional double bed the last 5 years).
Most of all, you should have seen the looks on the kids' faces when they saw their rooms complete. Liam's took a little more time since his bed was apparently missing some essential screws to put it together and Aidan's actually needed some emergency screws today (apparently you can not just place the boards under the mattress but should secure them as well... ooops) as it was in danger of collapsing, and our boxspring is actually on the floor since our mattress boards are missing (yet the bed is now of the perfect height in the frame, just with no space under the boxspring for storage under the bed) but now, as of Sunday night, everyone has a bed. But the look on Aidan's face, seeing his furniture for the first time in almost 5 years, was one of complete elation. He is so happy and you can tell that this is now his sanctuary, something he needed. It's become a home to them (too bad we have to move out of this house in 2 years when the owners return but the kids don't have to think about that now).
Storage is still an issue as we have very little. The kids are sharing one closet and one thing is clear, they have too many clothes. Not new news here... but still a pain that everything is kind of shoved in there. And I actually have no closet at all but just tons of drawers. But we're making it work. And our shed is literally full to the door. My project this week is to organize it (again) so that we can at least walk inside it!
In the end, we're getting settled and trying to make this house into a home. We're getting there and are just relieved that all of the moves are now complete. At least for the next 2 years! Pictures to come hopefully soon!