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Packout: when will I see my cow chair again?

Today was packout. The 250 lbs of air shipment will be on its way to meet me sometime in the next few weeks (I hope) in DC or Northern Virginia. The boat shipment (HHE) will slowly make its way from Managua to the nearest port, then probably float through the Panama Canal on its way to some port near DC and then ride another truck to a storage facility in Maryland. There it will eagerly wait to hear where I’m assigned next. If I get assigned to DC, then I get to see that stuff in August. If I get assigned to Timbuktu, then I won’t see it again until I arrive in Mali – which could be 9 months later, after having achieved fluency in French! The irony of that situation is that most of my winter clothes would be shipped to Mali without me ever having access to them while I shiver through a DC winter. The massive variation as to when I would see my boat shipment again makes it very hard to pack.

Other than that challenge, things are going pretty well. Having done this before and not moving kids or pets makes the whole situation more manageable. The entire packout took about 4 hours because most of our stuff is staying here.

Before the movers came, I did manage to splurge on two pieces of furniture from a gorgeous store here in Managua called Simplemente Madera. The company designs furniture including tables, chairs, beds and rocking chairs from sustainably harvested wood and leather. While their stuff isn’t cheap, their furniture would cost several times as much in the United States. I bought a wooden bench and an outrageous chair with black and white strips of woven cowhide. I’ve been in love with it for months and finally took the plunge.  Of course less than a week after buying it we went to the beach and I saw a cow that looked just like the chair! Awkward.

I wish I knew when I will see my cow chair again. Flag Day is August 19. I’ll find out then.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Dave Wilcox #

    I’m wondering about the concept of ‘sustainably’ from that cow’s perspective.

    July 5, 2011
  2. Rebecca #

    LOVE that chair! And hilarious before/after. Thinking of you these next several weeks!

    July 6, 2011
  3. You’ve been featured on this week’s State Department Roundup. Check it out at

    If you’d rather not be included this week, please let me know and I’ll remove you.

    Thanks for writing such a great blog!

    July 8, 2011
  4. Great purchase. You need to frame that picture over the chair!

    July 9, 2011

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