New York to Washington. Washington to Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv to Seoul. Seoul to Mumbai via Washington. North Mumbai to South Mumbai. Mumbai to Washington. Washington to Tallinn.
And that's all before I cross the threshold to Year Seven.
For all the griping I do about my job (and, to be fair, it's never about my actual job, it's about the HR nightmares, politics, Continuing Resolutions, etc. etc.), this is the only part that makes me loathe my career, even momentarily. The sheer logistics of moving from Point A to Point B, dumping it out and setting up house are panic-inducing. Yes, I feel blessed that The Taxpayer pays for my move. Thank you. I also feel blessed that the movers pack and unpack me. Thank you again. But being knee deep in several thousand pounds of crap after they clear the boxes and packing material out is one of the worst feelings out there. (I will acknowledge it probably doesn't feel as bad as being unemployed, so thank you one more time.)
We are allowed two days off of work to deal with our sea shipment when it arrives. Our HHE (one of those acronyms is correct, at least three more are applicable) came thundering down on us yesterday, our street blocked by two (yes, two!) shipping containers, straight from the ship. Each had a car and several crates in it. And now, for the seventh time in my career, I am dizzy with one sentiment: Why do we have all this crap? In the month between leaving the U.S. and the arrival of our stuff, I had acclimated to living with our UAB plus a stack of boxes kindly sent by my folks. I didn't need the extra 7000 pounds of things. I was happy to see the cars, and I know Boy was happy to see his bed (the twin mattress on the floor was a little less homey), but much of it is just excess, collected from place to place to fill the housing we had at the time, to dress the body I had in the climate I was in. No two housing assignments at two different posts are the same, and it's impossible to know what you can fit and what you can't before you get there. In five overseas housing assignments, three were apartments, one a duplex ranch, one a house. Two had not a single closet, one had no rugs, and one had water pouring out of an electrical socket. It's hard to know what you are getting into and it's easy to err on the side of bringing far too much. At least the furniture is always the same, in design, if not in quantity.
So, friends, when you visit, and I sincerely hope you do, please bring at least one empty suitcase, or possibly a shipping container, and help us unload.