The movers came in today to pack our stuff and put it in a container for shipping to New Zealand.
We began at the crack of dawn, or 7:30ish anyway, and were done by late morning. Costa Ricans are systematically, chronically late for everything, all of them, it's a national characteristic. Except when they tell you they'll be round early in the morning. If they say 9am, they'll arrive at 8, if they arrange to meet you at 8, they'll appear just after 7. And so it was this morning. "We'll be there at 8," the agent told me and four men in a truck arrived at 7:20am and began dismantling our house with startling speed and efficiency. We had to move quickly to keep up with them. I nearly lost my favourite carry-on bag to a box and I did lose the books I planned to take for the travel day. They were whisked off the shelf and into a box before I remembered that I hadn't put them aside. Oh well, Atonement will have to wait for another day.
The movers were so efficient that by just after 9 everything was boxed, labelled and piled downstairs by the door. They even dismantled the dining room table and wrapped each piece individually. Unpacking will be like a giant game of pass the parcel.
The truck carrying the container was late because its arrival time was outside the magic early hour. It was supposed to arrive at 11 but rolled in around 11:30. Our cul de sac was too small for the truck to turn and back into our driveway, so it had to stay on the street. The poor moving men had to carry everything out to the truck. Just as well that we aren't shipping anything particularly heavy.
And, as well as being too big for the street, the truck was too tall for the power lines festooning our street. It dragged one loose as it drove by. Oops. If the people across the street lost power, they won't be loving T A Mudanza right about now. The power supply is chancy enough here without trucks knocking down the lines.
We have a whole container to ourselves because there aren't exactly queues of people moving stuff from Costa Rica to Dunedin, New Zealand. Our stuff barely took up a third of the container – it looked a little pathetic in all the space. The movers packed it all in and fixed it in place by building a brace using a huge sheet of cardboard and some lengths of wood.
Once they had the container loaded we had to go outside to sign papers and watch them lock the doors and attach an orange seal. If all goes well, we'll break that seal in Dunedin in about 6 weeks time.
It was all most impressive. I've never given my possessions to movers before – I carry them myself or leave them in storage – and when it came to it this morning, I wasn't happy about sending everything off into the wilds without me. I fear that I'll never see Petra's baby clothes and my books again. But the movers' professionalism and efficiency went some way to easing my worries.