Ah, the novelty of clean drinking water and grabbing a quick sip at a water fountain.
The final leg of the trip home is always the most hectic. Loading up and getting to the airport with so many bags always makes things interesting. I’m trying to figure out how we can travel to Guadalajara with fewer bags, but I’m not seeing how that is going to be possible.
Here is everything waiting to get get loaded onto the van from the embassy motor pool, minus the water jugs, of course.
The crate for DiploDog went in first, then everything else.
DiploTot was able to enjoy a special morning cupcake. On the way to the airport, we made a quick stop at her school to drop them off for her class and to say goodbye to her teacher.
After that is was onto the airport. After rounding up two porters, we got everything loaded and into the airport, making a concerted effort in the chaos of the loading process to make sure any small backpacks didn’t get snatched. So close to being on our way, the last thing we wanted was for anything to get stolen.
The great thing about the airport is that it isn’t totally packed, which made the process of getting all the bags checked in, not to mention getting DiploDog checked in as well, much less crazy.
Bags checked and we are ready to roll.
The Kindle Fire tablet kept DiploTot occupied for the entire flight. I know she would normally have fallen asleep, but there was no way she was letting herself do that with shows to watch. DiploBoy finally managed to snooze for about an hour-and-a-half. We really appreciate the short flight to get to Houston and the short flight we will have to get to Guadalajara. I can’t imagine having some 10 or longer flight with connections.
When we arrived at baggage claim in Houston, the first thing we saw was DiploDog. She was just kind of randomly sitting there. It didn’t appear to any kind of official pick up location, nor was there anyone official in the vicinity. She was very excited when she saw us, so I let her out and put her leash on. That lasted for about five or ten minutes until an agent with customs exited a nearby door with a beagle and told me I had to have DiploDog back in the crate.
We got her crate on a luggage cart and managed to get the rest of our bags. Thankfully a couple of helpful staff helped push all of our stuff out through customs and outside of the airport where we loaded everything into the in-laws’ cars. It is good to be back!
One of our favorite places to take DiploTot during our time here in Guatemala City has been the Monki Haus located in Plaza Cemaco. It is close by the house and she always has a great time. Less then five bucks provides great entertainment and time for us to enjoy a cappuccino and take shifts to get any other shopping taken care of.
Many times it is very quiet and she has the entire place to herself. The last weekend before pack out we took a sanity check to run up for a final visit and to grab some lunch. This will be one of the places where we have a lot of memories of watching DiploTot grow up.
Besides Monki Haus, there is Cemaco, which is similar to a Target and also includes an Ace Hardware section.
There is also a big toy store which puts out their big, plastic play sets at the opposite end from the store, which also provides a nice spot for some freebie play time.
Our car was picked up this afternoon. In the past, one could not bring a car into Mexico that was older than five years. We are glad that has changed since we have been really pleased with this car that we bought from an officer that was leaving Guatemala shortly before we arrived.
It was wonderful to have the car waiting for us when we arrived. We’ll have to wait a bit longer this time around, but we are hoping we’ll be able to receive the car in Guadalajara about 6 weeks after arriving. We’re also hoping we get to keep the blackout window tinting. I’ve really grown accustomed to the fact that no one can see us inside when we are out and about.
The weekend before our pack out, DiploMom and I went out for dinner at our favorite restaurant, Ambia. This was part of our departure check list and the restaurant was one of the first ones we discovered after arriving to post. It is also one that completely blew us away. We didn’t expect to find such high-quality dining options in Guatemala City. Everything we have tried has been delicious so we highly recommend it to anyone who may eventually find themselves posted here.
One of the things we have liked best about our neighborhood is the veggie truck that comes by every Tuesday, loaded up with vegetables and fruit from theTerminal, which is a big market area, as well as a big interchange for many of the bus routes. I leave some money for Francisca and she goes out and buys whatever she needs.
The produce is very fresh and we like the fact that we don’t have to think about what we need when we do our weekly grocery runs. Not to mention that we get a better price from the truck than what we would pay in the store. I had been meaning to get a few pictures and finally managed here at the 11th hour while our pack out was taking place.
It is a big relief once everything is packed. Then we’re ready to get things cleared out of the house and loaded. First up was our HHE, which came in at 7,102 lbs and filled 8 crates.
As boxes were loaded in, I checked off the numbers. This was then compared to the checks on the movers list to ensure that everything was accounted for.
After the first 6 crates were loaded, the truck departed for the warehouse and then returned with more to finish our HHE and to start on our storage shipment.
Our storage shipment wrapped up fairly quickly the next morning and came in at 3,746 lbs and 7 crates.
A huge weight was lifted once the truck departed with the last of the freight and we were finally finished. We have a small bit of loaner furniture from the embassy to get us through until we leave post.
The morning that the movers arrive is always stressful. We’ve tried to do as much in advance as we can and we are hoping that our UAB will not exceed 700 lbs and that the what we are planning to ship to Guadalajara won’t exceed 7,200 lbs. We did a good bit of sorting and arranging in advance, which paid off in a smoother moving experience once the controlled chaos of the men arriving began.
Our UAB was sorted in guest room and out in the foyer area. We were able to ship everything that we had planned, as our total weight came in at around 640 lbs.
It’s fairly crazy watching the packers get after it. They were very quick, yet very meticulous in how they packed boxes and in how they wrapped and protected furniture.
It took two days to get everything packed and ready to load onto the truck. Then it was time to load our HHE going to Guadalajara and everything else that was going back to storage in Maryland.