I board my flight to America on June 1st. That leaves just 45 days to take care of…. well, a lot. I’ve managed to already do quite a bit, though.
I went to the eye doctor and bought a year’s worth of contacts to bring back with me. I also got a new pair of glasses and brought in my two old pairs to have my lenses replaced, meaning I will have three pairs of glasses when I go back. Woo!
I bought a new suitcase and figured out how much it costs to check extra luggage, then started packing up my winter clothes and whatnot.
I knew I wanted to send a lot back in boxes. Moving to Japan was easy – I only came with one big suitcase. That was seven years ago, though, and I was straight out of university. Now I’m looking at a whole life I need to bring back. Not just my life, either. My husband’s, too. There are a few things I’m too worried about sending overseas in boxes, so I packed those up in my suitcases. Anything else that either won’t fit or I can take the chance with, I put in some hefty boxes from the post office and prepared to send them overseas.
We made an appointment for the post office people to come pick the boxes up, but they told us a few things we weren’t happy to hear.
First off, EMS and air mail aren’t really working right now. They’re going to have to send our stuff by boat… which takes about three months.
Second, we need to have special plastic pouches to put the labels in before they stick them on the boxes. The post office doesn’t provide them – we need to order them.
Third, those labels take about a week to get here, so the plans I had to send these things over my three days off ended up not happening.
I was pretty disappointed because I was looking forward to getting these boxes out of the way. I have five bigger boxes and one smaller one (the smaller one is just full of books). My husband looked into another delivery service.
This other service has their own air mail plane and could guarantee that it would arrive in a week. They also provided tracking. It was a bit pricier, though… 20,000 yen (~$200 US) a box. I chose the two boxes that had stuff I was most concerned about and decided to pay the fee for them. We had to type up the invoice and print it out, but it wasn’t that big a deal.
When they arrived, they told us that we had to open the already taped closed boxes and weigh item by item on their provided scale. We were a little annoyed, but we did it. Afterward, we put everything back in the box and weighed it altogether. The guy was adamant that there was no way the box was 1 kilo. We tried to explain that it was a thicker box made for overseas travel, stronger and therefore heavier. He didn’t believe us, though, and made us take everything out again and weigh just the box.
It did indeed weigh 1 kilo.
We put everything back in and he asked if we wrote down what the clothes were made of. We were a bit confused and asked what he meant. Apparently we needed to be ultra specific. We had written “clothes – 5 ” but that was not good enough.
I don’t mean that we had to put “sweater – 2, jacket – 1” etc…. No, he told us to write “sweater – 100% acrylic, socks – 100% cotton, sweater – 50 % polyester, 50% cotton” …..
Which basically meant that the entire invoice we typed up and printed needed to be redone.
More than just a little annoyed at this point, we apologized and told the guy that despite having weighted everything in the two boxes and taking up about an hour of his time, we didn’t know this information beforehand and therefore couldn’t send the boxes today. What we didn’t tell him was that we were not going to use their delivery service at a later date, either. I understand the whole labeling item by item (sweater, socks, jacket instead of ‘clothes’) but adding to the invoice that something is 20% polyester and 80% cotton? That’s ridiculous!
Moving is stressful enough as it is!
We ordered the stupid plastic pouches and they arrived the other day. The invoice has to be printed for the regular post office mail as well, but we are going to just send it on by boat. At this point, I’m almost ready to just go ahead and check like, five suitcases and avoid the whole mailing boxes thing altogether!
If you have any knowledge of a safe, easy, affordable way to mail my boxes, please let me know.