Here’s the shocker, folks!!!…Physically, emotionally, financially….

The four cardboard boxes we’d packed, were ready to get shipped at the local post office.

OK. The power is out and will continue to be out for the entire day today as it was last night beginning at 9:30 pm. The generator is a hit and miss, going off and on intermittently. It’s not on now. My computer indicated that I have 45 minutes of battery left so I must write quickly to get this posted.

I hope that our “shocker” didn’t appear as if it was a life-threatening situation. But, for us, it truly is a life-changing situation; physically, emotionally, and financially.

Here it is:  

I had looked far and wide for this pair of 3″ heels a few years ago, loving the neutral color.
This is my last pair of high heels.  Bye, bye, shoes.

This decision didn’t come easily. We’d already packed the four cardboard boxes with clothing, shoes, accessories with the intent of shipping them to our house in South Africa after I’d verified that we could receive packages and confirmed the address. 

Our intent was to have Alfred take us to the Ukunda post office, not to DHL, where we recently had spent KES $38,953, US $458 to have one box shipped from our mailing service in Nevada to the DHL store in Diani Beach, Kenya that weighed only 13 pounds (5.9 kg)! 

Instead, our plan this time was to box everything up that we wanted to ship and use the Ukunda post office, a 45 minute round trip drive from here. It was already set up with Alfred to take us on Friday morning at 10:00 am. 

Unaware of the potential mailing costs at the post office, we knew that we’d have to get a ton of shillings from the ATM with the post office only accepting cash. That in itself presented a dilemma.  f we got too much cash, how would we get it converted to Rand (ZAR), the money used in South Africa, without incurring exchange fees? 

Surprisingly, these long casual cotton dresses are heavy, especially when I purchased them to accommodate my height, 4″ taller than the average woman.  Look at those vitamins! Many of them are also already gone, tossed in the past week. These few bottles were unopened. We only kept those that are an absolute necessity, such as Probiotics for intestinal health, B6 vitamins to prevent kidney stones (has been working for Tom after three surgeries back in the US), and a few for me.

If we discovered that we were short of cash at the post office and didn’t have enough shillings on-hand, we’d have to find another bank or drive back to the original ATM. Talk about stress-inducing! Hot weather, no AC in the taxi, sweat pouring down our necks!  (There are five minutes left on my battery!)

Of course, we weighed the boxes and looked online fruitlessly attempting to find out the postal rates from Kenya to anywhere (to get an idea), let alone to South Africa. No such luck. Nor was there a phone number to call for information. Nor was there a website for the Ukunda post office. Nada. (The generator just came on)! Yippee!

This was going nowhere. Angst was setting in. Then, by chance, I stumbled upon restrictions for sending packages to South Africa. It was the “no shoes” restriction that put me over the edge. To verify this I called the local DHL store (which incidentally is inside a pharmacy, owned by the pharmacist) to discover if this was true. 

The store manager confirmed that only one (1) shoe may be sent in any package to South Africa. One shoe? When would one shoe ever be appropriate? I couldn’t imagine a scenario unless, God forbid, one had only one foot. The list of restrictions continued from there.

Tom has always been prepared to unload as much as possible of his belongings to avoid paying any more outrageous excess baggage fees. We’d already paid over KES $173,500, US $2000 in fees between the Dubai and Venice airports, our only flights thus far.  

The nights of me wearing these dresses are over.  They are all in this pile.

I, on the other hand, wondered what I’d do if I eliminated all my “go out to dinner clothing, shoes, and accessories” some of which I’ve worn in every country we’ve lived in and on every night on the cruises. 

This decision came on Monday night. I tossed and turned all night. This was the final straw in me letting go, narrowing everything in the world, I personally owned down to the maximum that airlines allow to avoid excess baggage fees, a hard reality. Who are they to dictate what I can and can’t take around the world with me?  Anger welled up inside of me. 

Many of you may think, so what? It’s just clothing and shoes. But, as a woman that always delighted in dressing nicely, it had become part of who I am. 

We all, in our own way, are a package. And at some point in our young lives, we develop into the person we choose to become; our demeanor, our persona, our style (or lack of style, if one so chooses), our integrity, our honor, our values, our intellectual pursuits, our business acumen or skill set, and our relationships. For me, it was a package, all pieces included.

Tom understood my angst.  He knows me well accepting all the pieces. He hasn’t pressed the issue. Never. Not after spending the US $2000 for excess baggage. Not recently as we tried to figure out this dilemma. He knew I had to come to this decision on my own.  He was right.

Yesterday morning I gave him the news. I was ready to let go. He hauled out the four packed cardboard boxes from the second bedroom to the glass table in the outdoor living room and I began going through them, keeping only a few items, adding many more. The more I went through the process, the more detached I became, knowing full well this was the right thing to do.

This doesn’t look like much, but it weighs over 40 pounds (18 kg).  In addition, we’ve tossed another 10 pounds in old and worn items (4.5 kg).  On our last flight, our overage was 44 pounds (20 kg).

Tom jumped in with both feet, pulling out newer “casual dressy” clothing, placing them in the boxes along with my items. We’ve literally eliminated 40% of our combined clothing, more mine than Tom’s since he’d already cut back as we’ve traveled, to allow room for my things.

Of course, not all of our belongings consist of clothing and shoes. Perhaps 25% is supplies, electronics, required paper records, cosmetics, and toiletries (of which we have the minimum). We don’t even have a bottle of body lotion using only coconut oil in its place. No perfume. No bubble bath. No soaps. 

Friday, we’ll seal the “space bags,” weigh everything, including the suitcases. Based on the allowed weight for the upcoming airlines, we expect to be within the limits subsequently avoiding excess baggage fees.

Hesborn and Jeremiah will be given the boxes of discarded men’s items to share among themselves with the women’s clothing and shoes to be shared among their wives and sisters.

Nothing we have left in our possession will be appropriate to wear to dinner on our next upcoming cruise in nine months.  We have no doubt that we’ll figure it out as the time approaches.

Physically, it will be easier to haul the bags. Emotionally, we’ll spend no time worrying about the luggage.  Financially, we’ll save US $1000’s each year on excess baggage fees. 

The angst is gone. Acceptance has been found in its place and finally, after 13 months, we’re truly free. 

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