April 2, 2008
For the second time in less than a month, the U.S. was told to reduce the staff at the embassy in Belarus. We had made the first cut, but it was beginning to look like nobody would make the second. Everyone remaining in Minsk was in the process of being packed out "just in case".
Under normal circumstances, when you are packed out, you know where you are going next, you know when you are going, and you know for sure that you are going. When we left Germany, I'd had months to pack things I wanted to do myself, make lists, take pictures of valuable items, to research our new city so I could pack appropriate clothing for the weather. For this pack out, I didn't have time, nor was I in the correct state of mind to organize the way I usually do.
I had just lost triplets and had two additional embryos on ice. Somehow I had to get my body ready for a FET (frozen embryo transfer) while still miscarrying the other three. It was a nightmare, an experience I got to have while moving, er, not moving, being packed out, "just in case".
That morning the team of Belarusian movers arrived, and I cried. Then our housekeeper arrived, and I cried. Then someone from the embassy came over, and I cried. Sense the theme here? I cried ALL DAY LONG. I cried in front of 8 Belarusian men and I didn't care. Our housekeeper, angel that she is, sat on the couch with me all day and just tried to keep me distracted, and bless her heart, even got me to laugh a time or two.
Whenever moving into or out of a country, the embassy provides a temporary "welcome kit". It's usually a large box or trunk filled with basics for you to live on since you don't have your own stuff. Typically it consists of silverware, plates, a knife, toaster, coffeemaker, sheets, towels, the basics. At some point during the pack out, a few guys from the embassy brought over our welcome kit in a trunk and a bag of linens. Later in the day our housekeeper noticed the that the trunk had disappeared. Sure enough, the movers had packed it. We located the huge cardboard box and they rescued the trunk so at least we had part of a welcome kit. The bag of linens wasn't so lucky. We didn't find those until we unpacked in Ireland. Another thing I didn't know about until we unpacked here, the movers had used my tissue paper to wrap our stuff. Not moving paper, tissue paper. The tissue paper I had planned to use for wrapping gifts. Oh well, at least nothing was broken.
And last but not least, unlike a typical pack out in which the movers take the boxes with them at the end of the day, our boxes were left behind. I was left standing in a house, surrounded by boxes, wondering how much time I had left there.