Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The transport of earthly possessions

For some time I knew this moment was coming, the end of my adventures as a physics graduate student in the USA. Aside from the omnipresent annoyance of paperwork, the other real hassle was how to ship my belongings to my home country. After a little more than eight years, I manage to accumulate stuff that I didn't want to get rid of. It was not much, but it would never conform to the baggage allowances of commercial airlines. Furthermore, how the hell was I going to carry it?!

When I came to the USA I had only one suitcase. After my graduate school adventure and after filtering and disposing of loads of crap and useless artifacts, I was able to reduce the amount of earthly possessions to about 27 cubic feet. Now, how much is that in international units? Go to google and type "27 cubic feet to cubic meters" and magically we get 0.76 cubic meters. Take the cubic root to arrive at 0.91 meters. That means that my things fit in a cube of 0.91 meters per side. If you think about it, it's actually not much.

The volume was distributed in ten boxes. A fun fact: half of them contain books. And they really are my treasure. So I hope to see them again soon.

Boxes in the apartment, ready to be taken to the van.

It turned out that the cheapest way to send the stuff was by sea. I contacted a company that takes care of this sort of affairs. The first step was to put everything in boxes. It took a few days and it was very effective to get rid of old and crappy stuff.

Boxes in the van, ready to be taken to the warehouse.

Step two was to take the boxes to a warehouse. I rented a van and set course to the warehouse. It was huge. Several trailer trucks were being unloaded very fast by the skillful forklift drivers. At moments it looked like it was a forklift race. When they were done with the trucks, one of them went outside to pick up the wooden pallet where I had previously unloaded my cargo; which looked like a joke compared to the trailer trucks.

Boxes in the warehouse, ready to be taken to the ship.

Now it's just a matter of waiting. With some luck by end of the year my cubic meter of stuff will be ready to pick up and bring home.

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