When you are living the foreign service or military life, you move from place to place approximately every two to three years. The reality is that you spend a few months (if you’re lucky) of each post without most of your household items, personal belongings, and artwork.
Unfortunately I am the type of person that has an innate drive to “nest.” The very first thing I want to do when moving to a new place is unpack and decorate, which is quite difficult when living at a hotel or temporary apartment and/or without your possessions for months. Add the fact that I am currently unemployed and home for a good part of the day staring at the white walls, to say the least I have been experiencing very real anxiety lately due to not having my fully decorated “nest.”
We packed out the end of April, and for the last 4 or 5 weeks my husband and I have lived either in a temporary apartment or hotel, with just belongings that fit in a suitcase (ummm OK, so we each have three huge 36 inch duffel bag suitcases and a carryon suitcase but you get the idea). We have been extremely lucky that our UAB (Unaccompanied Air Baggage) arrived one week after arriving to post. In our UAB we packed additional clothes, pillows, towels, hangers, a few small household items, and bed linens. Usually UAB is delivered 1-3 months after arrival to post, so we received our UAB unusually fast.
It varies from post to post, but it takes 3-6 months (usually) from packout until the time you receive your HHE (Household Effects). It consists of kitchenware, artwork, decor, and other miscellaneous personal belongings. It arrived in Europe two weeks ago, but it has been on hold in another country waiting to clear customs. We do not have an answer for how long our HHE will take to finish clearing customs, and to continue on to us in Kyiv. At very minimum, it will take another week and a half, two weeks for our HHE to arrive, which will bring us to the three month mark from packout.
Because we know it is in Europe, we know it won’t be too much longer until it arrives here in Ukraine (I hope). That has prevented me from going to Epicentr (a hyper market here in Ukraine which is a combination of Target and Home Depot the size of IKEA, maybe a little bit bigger) and buying all the things for our home to make it a little more “homey.”
Anyhow, we are playing the waiting game. And anyone who knows me knows that patience is not one of my strong suits. Therefore, my current status is I am waiting impatiently for my HHE, hoping that it arrives soon so that we can finally have the rest of our belongings which will finally make this apartment feel like “home.”