Monday, October 18, 2010

The things that we need

When we moved from Cairo to Beirut we had to make some hard decisions on what to take and what to leave behind. Firstly, we didn’t have a very large shipping allowance, and paying extra to ship things was just out of the question. Secondly, Lebanon, as Egypt, has very strict customs regulations, and as much as I wanted to bring my vacuum cleaner, beaters, my food processor, and our DVD player, it was simply not possible.

Packing was difficult. Giving things away was, at least, rewarding. In the end, it all went fairly well. This post is not about our move though; it’s about things.

What is interesting when you are forced to pick and choose among things you keep in your household is that it makes you decide what you really need, or what you cannot live without. Some things that we got rid of we knew we would want to – and just as important; would be able to - buy as soon as we got here; like an iron, beaters, pots and pans, towels, plates, cups, glasses, kitchen utensils, etc. Some things we made sure to bring with us because we knew from experience or suspected they might be hard to find, like a Swedish potato peeler, a ricer, our amazing bottle opener, measuring cups, and our water pick, etc. Some things we decided we would buy here because they make our lives so much easier and more effective, like a dryer and a microwave oven. We actually didn’t have a microwave oven in Cairo, because when we got there I didn’t think it would be necessary, and then when I started realizing that we would do better with one, we were closer to leaving than coming, and I didn’t want to spend the money. Here in Beirut I bought one within our first few days, and it is totally worth the money. We eat a lot more leftovers, saving lots of money on food, and cooking is easier and involves fewer dishes, which saves time. Many people think a dryer is unnecessary, but there’s no way I am hanging up 15 pairs of little boys’ underwear, 21 or more sets of socks, 22-30 pairs of pants or shorts, and closer to 30 boys’ shirts every week (that’s all on top of Courtney’s and my clothes), so we bought a dryer within our first week. It has been running ever since. We also bought a coffee maker. Only Courtney drinks coffee, so in Egypt he didn’t feel justified to spend money on an expensive machine. After three years of using the French press however, he put down his foot; brewed coffee is just so much better. SO we got him a coffee pot. It too, has been running ever since.

What was left behind? Our huge television; we can definitely live well without it. A lot of boys’ clothes and toys; some I would have liked to keep for Abraham, like the boys’ bikes, but I know it will be a while before he’ll want to get on a bike, and wherever we live then, I’m sure we can get a new bike. We left our large set of IVAR shelves. It had been with me since I left home for college in the beginning of the 90’s, and when we moved to Cairo I simply couldn’t part with it. For our move to Beirut, however, we decided we could use the kilos on something better. Surely they much have cheap bookshelves in Beirut! Ha! Boy, were we wrong! We wish we had kept that one!

What would you bring with you? What can you not live without?

1 comment:

  1. I gave away everything I owned when married and moved, and some of the things I have regretted giving away like, for example, some warm city style clothes and high heels - as we initially lived in a red sea resort I never thought i would need them again... But Cairo and northwards is a lot colder, and city style is quite appropriate there.
    I brought my laptop and camera of course, and my music. A few books I cannot do without, which are indeed also almost my only books since I hate to buy books that are worth reading only once. I still contemplate bringing my photo albums - my former life I sometimes long to reminisce.

    From more mundane things that are kind of a caprice rather than necessity - linen bedclothes, because linen is comfiest in hot times. By now I already know how to find Egyptian linen in Egypt, but it is still easier to find it outside and bring along :). And bedding - feather pillows, feather and wool comforters, because all that is available here is synthetic. A Kenwood kitchen machine, also already available here, but is used to be Brown only.

    I still "import" my shampoos and DIY eyebrow colour (here they use hair colour...) but at least good creams and cleansers are available, I do not stick to particular labels as long as the stuff inside is good. Potato peeler - yes! :)