Thursday, July 5, 2012

Packin' it all for Seoul

Packing for a foreign country is a tedious process requiring a judicious mixture of careful planning and timing and execution and a lot of good friends along the way. We were moving to Seoul, to an apartment of 2000sq ft. The company was willing to pay us the moving expenses. They also had the apartment ready for us to use by the time we reached there. But, the apartment would be bare, except for the things that we would carry with us.

The most important thing to remember for a person moving to a foreign country is that the shipping starts only after the person has actually left their home country. The shipping/relocation company will need your ticket details before they actually come and pack the stuff. Though you can ask them to pack your stuff before you actually leave, the shipping will start only after you leave the country. That means living in a new country without all your stuff until the shipping arrives. You are left to fend yourself only with the stuff that you carry on with you on the flight. For the move to Seoul from Bangalore, the shipping took around a month to reach us.

Packing for the Flight and the month until the shipping arrives:

We had to pack so that we were covered with the basic stuff for starting our life in Seoul while keeping in mind that the airlines charges ridiculously expensive rates for extra weight.
  • Clothes: Basic clothing, easily washable, repeatedly wearable clothes. We had to carry some good lot of clothing for my husband along with the iron box because he was leaving for work right after. Depending on the season, it is prudent to be ready for moods of mother nature. I even packed in an umbrella, just to be ready. As it was spring when we moved in, we just took some warm socks and light jackets also, just in case...
  • Bedding: Depending on the season of your arrival, this makes a lot of difference. We arrived in Spring, not so cold, season. We still had 4 huge comforters, pillows and thick blankets. The floor heating in Korea is quite effective and though it costs a lot, you are atleast warm and cozy.
  • Appliances: Though Korea also uses 220V, the plugs they use are different from Indian ones. I got the electric stove from India, along with the free cooking vessels it comes with, which has been extremely handy to me. My husband religiously packed the international adapters along for the plug conversions. I ditched the mixie, grinder for the shipping because of their weight...
  • Utensils: Pressure Cooker, pan for making the ever important coffee and tea, storage vessels - i got the Russian Matryoshka doll-like-nested vessels that could be both used for cooking and storing the cooked item. Saves space and came in quite handy.
  • Food Items: There is always a 7-11 store or a Family Mart very close to every apartment in Seoul. We had no trouble getting the essentials- milk, bread, eggs, at 12 midnight, when we arrived as they are open 24 hrs a day. But i did bring in the basic spices that Indian cooking could not do without. I packed in the small packets of  cumin, turmeric, coriander, sambhar, chilly powder for immediate use, along with 2kgs of rice and atta. 
  • Toiletries: I packed in the tooth paste (big one- to last the month for 4 people), brush, soap, combs, etc as any person would do, on a trip. I didnot any liquid soap, cleaning fluid, owing to the problems it might create in the luggage and with the airport authorities.
  • Gadgets, Toys and Books for the kids: Laptops, few books, all their gadgets were packed to keep them from getting bored during the one month of nothingness... It is worth every gram/Rs you spend. I was quite happy with downloading the free books from Amazon on to my kindle. 
  • Documents and other important stuff: We brought along all the important stuff and documents along with us including the birth certificates, bank documents, jewellery etc.The documents are also needed for getting the Alien Registration Card in Seoul, immediately after arriving in Seoul. 
Things to pack in Shipping
Things to plan for before packing

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