We had a great trip to California, but isn’t it always good to be home? The nicest thing about being back in California was seeing our friends and family, of course. And taking care of getting our container packed up was something we’ve been waiting to get done for a long time, so that was an accomplishment we were pleased to finally make. The logistics of seeing to the packing of the container was a bit of a challenge, and, I might even say, a pain in the you know what. !@# But in the end we were relieved to finally have it all done.
We had done a lot of research beforemaking the decision about what shipping company to deal with. There are several expat forums that Scott follows and we’ve read many tales of woe when it comes to dealing with certain less expensive companies. We both agreed that for this part of our move we’d rather spend more money and be confident that we wont have any nightmares to add to the forums. One can run into countless issues when dealing with customs and we wanted to try to avoid any such problems if we could. So Rainier is the company we went with. They have a stellar reputation and for us, it just felt like the right way to go. They provide a ‘door to door’ service. So they take care of packing everything up on one end and then unpacking it at the final destination.
We had one of Rainier’s representatives come to our storage units a year ago before we moved to Panama. He gave us a quote for the entire move and we discussed the plan for packing the container from our storage facility when we were ready . The quote came in at just over $10K, which, although high, felt reasonable to us for the services they offer and the confidence we felt in their ability to transport all our belongings from California to Panama with as littleheadache for us as possible. We would be shipping an extra high, 40 foot container that will have all the things that would be near impossible for us to replace, should anything terrible happen. Of course, many people opt to go for the bargain movers that can cost significantly less money but , for us, the peace of mind that we have in this company is well worth the cost.
We began corresponding with Avner, our representative from Rainier, who met with us before we moved, and informed him that we were finally ready to start the process as soon as we arrived in San Jose. He wanted to meet us at our storage facility to takeanother look at our belongings and just firm up the quote from a year ago. Avner proved to be very professional and reliable. All went well with our meeting and the price went up about a thousand more dollars, but given the time that’s passed since our original quote we expected a slight increase.
Avner is the man in charge of coordinating the packing of the container. He contacted the trucker who was to deliver the container to our storage facility from the port of Oakland. We actually had two storage units at two different storage facilities, but located right next door to one another. You see, when we originally rented the units there were not two available at one place which is why we ended up renting from two places…a pain, but we had no choice. So Avner planned to have his packers arrive with a moving truck to pack everything from the second unit into the truck and drive it to where the container was sitting. Whew…a pain in the but job.
After we finally had a plan in place and confirmed when we needed to be at our storage to await the trucker…. we were ready to go. The trucker would drop the container at our storage on Friday, between 11-12. Of course we got there a little before 11 and waited in our car until 4:15!!! UGGGGGG!! Did I mention….”Waited in our HOT car!” I was not a happy girl! But… When it was finally there, all was well, and we were ready to meet the packers on Sat morning at 9:00. The packers were much more timely and arrived exactly when they promised to, even a bit early. We then had to hang around and oversee that all went well with the pack. These guys worked so hard! We went and bought them lunch from Togo’s just to be sure work continued and they stayed as productive as they could. They started the pack at 9:00a.m. and finished at 7:00p.m.! Whew! What a day! Then, given the fact that our storage place was to close at 9:00, we had arragned for the trucker to return at 7:00 just when the packers had finished. But, of course, once again the guy made us wait until 9:15…we were fortunate that the manager of the storage place was still there to keep the gate open for us. All ended well, and we waved goodbye to our container. Next time we see it will be in Dolega, at the Chiriqui storage. Which we are told should be anywhere from 21-30 days! I’ll keep you posted on this!
We had to have a list of ‘second priority’ items, just in case everything didn’t fit in the container. So staying nearby to point out those things was a necessity. Luckily, everything but one recliner chair fit! Whoohoo! The very last thing that got packed was our King size bed, which they tied in to keep it secure! The packers kindly took the recliner off our hands so we didn’t have anything to deal with, which was a relief! We were a little worried that we’d have a bunch of stuff to get rid of and were pleasantly surprised at our good luck. Boy, oh boy, I know many who have chosen to make this move to Panama and other far away places with only four suitcases of belongings and that really sounds appealing to me. If only I didn’t have a man who loves his tools! Well….Okay, it’s true…it’s not just him, I do love our kayak and our pool table and I may have foolishly packed way too many shoes! We will be very happy to have our good bed and linens as well as other precious nicknacks. No, this was the way to go for us so there’s no looking back now! Hah! I have much more to share about our visit but I think this post is long enough…(right Janet?) Hah! Our Adventure just gets better and better! It feels so good to be making progress and feeling more and more settled here in our new home….