7.09.2008

Lucy, You Got Some 'Splainin' To Do...

You've got questions, I've got answers!

I sparked a lot of questions yesterday with the incredibly embarrassing photo of our consumables that we sent to India. Based on the comments and e-mails I've received about what we sent and why we sent it, I thought I'd follow up with a tad more info, and even give a run down of what in the heck we sent ourselves... inquiring minds want to know!

First and foremost, "YES", we can get food AND toilet paper in India. That seems to be the biggest question that everyone's been asking. But that's not the point of sending consumables. Of course we can get food (well, I say that knowing full well that many people can't, but that's a post I'm sure I'll do once I get there and get settled).

To quote a line in one my daughters newly favorite movies, "Let's start at the very beginning... a very good place to start..." India will be our first consumables post. Consumables are anything that are used up, they do not wear out. At some posts, needed foodstuffs are not readily available, and the employees (like my husband) are entitled to an extra weight allowance provided FREE to us by the good ol' U.S. Government (let's be honest, nothing is free when working for the government... though I digress). For our 3-year tour in India, we're allowed an additional 3750 pounds of consumables sent to us either in one lump sum - or in a total of 3 shipments.

To recap our weight limits:

Air Freight - we get 700 pounds... and we used ALL of it
Household Effects - we get 7200 pounds .... and we used 7028 pounds from Israel to India
Consumables - we get 3750 pounds ... and we used..... I don't know yet. We find out tomorrow

So back to our shipment yesterday. From what I've read, and ladies I've been in touch with in India, we can get a majority of the foods that we and the kids like, though it comes with a price. Imported food is expensive, and not just from the U.S., from anywhere. We're willing to eat the local brands, so that will help keep the costs down, but some foods that we're used to, just aren't the same outside the U.S. And some of it is just plain non-existent. The bottom line... it makes more sense to buy it now in bulk, pay less for it now up front rather than pay for it if we purchased it in India, and best of all... have it sent for free.

Think about it... how many of you have run out of Parmesan cheese, creamy peanut butter, mac and cheese, or hot dogs and had your kids utterly meltdown right in front of you? All you have to do is run to your local grocery and pick up a new one, plop it down, and you're fine. If that happens to us? Well... it's not as easy. It's finding a grocery that sells it, or making a schlep to the commissary and hope that they have what we need in stock, or ordering online from netgrocer.com and waiting... for 3 weeks for the USPS to deliver it to us. In the meantime, I'm bald from pulling my hair out, drunk from numbing the pain, and about to be reported to child protective services (or the Indian equivalent) after my never-ending tirade with the girlies to stop...their...whining.

We're pretty lucky, the girls are fairly good eaters. They'll try almost anything. For dinner, they usually eat what we eat. They know I'm not a short order cook. But as variety is the spice of life, even I can only eat the same type of cuisine a few times each week. Same goes for the girls. Matt and I love Indian food, and we would be thrilled if the girls expand their palates for Indian cuisine that includes more than just curry chicken. In due time.

The other items we shipped... like cereal, toilet paper, and wine. Well, I've heard that cereal can be upwards of $10 a box, we like our 2 ply toilet paper (especially if the rumor of having Delhi belly - aka diarrhea for the first few months is true), and Chennai is a dry state...so stocking up on wine and spirits was top of my priority list.

Here's a short list of items we sent in our shipment. I already know that I sent way too much... but the fear of not being able to send liquids (we're only allowed one 16-ounce bottle of liquid per box) when we run out was overwhelming. One more thing, while you look at our list, remember how much time and money it took to make the lists, buy the stuff, and organize it for the movers. We spent well over 3 weeks preparing for this shipment. Let's hope I did a good job.

Here goes...

* 10 large boxes Bisquick * 6 large bottles BBQ sauce * 24 packages spaghetti and accompanying sauces * Years supply of Pull-ups * 60 boxes of Mac & Cheese * 60 packs of Easy Mac * 16 cans of Parmesan Cheese * Year supply of everyone's vitamins * 10 jars ranch dressing * 18 jars creamy peanut butter * 36 cans diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, paste * 1 case of canned tuna * All sorts of ziplock bags, garbage bags * Plates, cups, napkins, paper towels, cutlery * 150 rolls of Charmin Toilet Paper * 12 bags of Chocolate Chips * Razor blades * 10 boxes maple syrup * 36 bottles General Tsao's stir fry sauce * 8 bottles Sweet Ginger Teriyaki sauce * Shampoo, Conditioner, Baby Shampoo, Hair Gels, etc * Every kind of First Aid imaginable, cough syrups, and medication * Personal hygiene products - deodorant, soaps, tampons * 12 bottles Girard salad dressing * 24 boxes of cereal (Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Flakes, Puffins, and Frosted Shredded Wheat) * Nuts of all kinds * 8 cases of apple juice boxes * 10 jars of 21 seasoning salute, and all other kinds of spices * All ingredients for Mexican food - refried beans, chilis, jalapenos, enchilada sauces, etc * Baking supplies - everything imaginable for cookies, cakes, breads, etc * 16 cans of Ice Tea mix * Wine and spirits and mixers * Condiments of all kinds - ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish, honey * 200 pounds of dog food * Cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, etc * Snicky snacks - granola bars, chips, fruit snacks, candy, gum, etc * Canola oil, peanut oil, olive oil * a bottle of sanity... which will probably break before I receive it.

There's a heck of a lot more... but you get the idea.

89 comments:

The Mom said...

Having never traveled out of the US, I can imagine how different and difficult it would be to get all your "normal life" items.

OHmommy said...

My sister is going to Africa in two weeks. It is her third time in 5 years.

She packs powdered salad dressing. By the boxes!

Mom24 said...

I've said it before, but I am in awe of your organizational skills. I think it's uber-smart to do this--much less trouble down the road.

Here's hoping the tampons were for naught.

Hyphen Mama said...

You blow me away.

Have you written a post that you could direct me to, about exactly WHAT your husband does for the USGov't? Or what organization he's with? I'm boggled. I had NO IDEA so many civilians were so scattered over the planet in the name of the USgov't. Don't hate me for being naive.

Tenakim said...

OY! I think I have anxiety from just reading that post- and a dry state!!!

Mrs4444 said...

Makes sense to me. I'd have to stock "natural" Peanut butter and Propel, if it were my list. The rest we all take for granted, I'm sure.

Simple Answer said...

I've seen the pictures of the snakes and spiders there. Girl, you take every creature comfort from home! You are sooooo very entitled!

And $10 for a box of cereal - exactly what I was told to expect in Jordan. Do you think it's a cereal conspiracy? I'm thinking the girls are going to love cinnamon toast.

Suzanne said...

Your answers simply create more questions!!!

That's alot of stuff to store once you get to India. Is your place really large or or you going to be walking around the consumables?

10 boxes of Bisquick - - Ok, I have to be super careful about Bisquick or any flour products in the summertime because ..... bugs. Even though the box was closed tightly, the next time I went to use it there were ...well, you know. I switched to airtight storage containers. Are you taking those?

What do you do about homesickness? Three years is a long time.

- Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

Clare Frederick said...

Regarding the wine...I agree that you need to definitely get more. :) But at least you are allowed to bring it.

My sister-in-law in Lybia isn't able to bring in any wine. Alcohol of any sort is strictly prohibited. Ex-Pats are selling it secretly among themselves, though, for $100 a bottle when normally it's $25. You could make an extra buck!

Eve Grey said...

I just read my husband this list & big thumbs up from him on the peanut butter. He loves the stuff. Me, not so much. I would love to plan like this. So much fun. I know lots of work too. ):

San Diego Momma said...

That's about as much stuff as I buy at Costco on ONE trip (or at least it seems like it).

(And was that only one case of wine I saw below?

That just doesn't seem right..)

You're going to continue blogging in India, right?

Jen said...

Oh, my goodness. That is a lot of planning and preparing. You must be a super organized person. I can't imagine what it must be like to be out of the US. I don't even like going out of my home state. You guys are amazing! Oh, wine and other spirits would be on the top of my list too. :)

Hyphen Mama said...

Off topic... you've inspired me to do some online research into the Foreign Service, so I can get a handle on this lifestyle so many of you live. I have to say, I HAD NO IDEA. Where is this discussed in Civics class, US Government class and the like?

All I can say is Thank You. To you, your husband, your children... for the sacrifices you make to live overseas doing *whatever* it is that's needed. As a spouse, it must be difficult. You make it sound glamorous! I can't wait to hear the stories from India. AND, what does it take to get posted in someplace like France? Or Australia?

So many questions. You don't have to answer.

mary said...

Oh my goodness. This is so interesting. And it makes me realize how much I take being able to get what I want, when I want for granted!

Nap Warden said...

I'm glad you explained this...My Husband kept saying "They have stuff in India..." He just got back from there. Now it all makes perfect sense:)

Perez Family Spot said...

Hi SitsTa! Wow, I had no idea wat goes into all of that! Great job in planning/organizing. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on my thyroid issues. I had no idea what all goes into it and glad to know I am not the only one in the world. After reading your profile, I seriously think we can be BFF's!! BTW, when is your b-day? I am Gemini too! (May 23) AND..I saw Corona Del Mar on your blog, are you originally from California?

American in Norway said...

Bless you! gotta keep us all posted when you get over there...This will be some sort of adventure! Hang in there girl!

Heidi said...

I am getting excited, I can't wait until you get there & hear all about it. I will just live vicariously through you...

Hairline Fracture said...

I learned something with this post. I'd never thought about this being a necessity when you go to live outside the U.S.

Perez Family Spot said...

Thanks for the tip on the soy sauce! I don't know how I was going to live without SUSHI!

Heather said...

We used to live in Indonesia, and Mobile Oil would fly us to Singapore once a month to get groceries. My mom said the same thing you did about not being able to run out to the store for little kid food.

Danie said...

Don't forget the "lunchbox" stuff...granola bars, fruits cups, favorite juice boxes or whatever else you would normally put in your kids lunchboxes...especially for the first few months while they're getting used to a new place.

Danie

C said...

Hi, I found you from Cre8buzz. Wow, moving to India? How exciting! And you've lived in Israel? Awesome! What does your husband do? Or is that classified? Maybe you've written about it already & I need to go back & read more.

Anyway, I think you did a great job with your list. I'd be hard pressed to plan that all out & get it together. I always wondered home people that moved to another country did it! It's great to read about it (there's so many things we take fot granted here.)
~Christy
http://www.heavyonthecaffeine.com

C said...

That's supposed to say how--not home...jeesh!

EmmaP said...

a bald numb mom with the Dehli Belly - I'd love to see that! I love your shipping list, btw. great blog!

Rhonda said...

Oh. My. Stars.

Now I'm going to have to go back further and see why you are going there in the first place???

Good luck to you and your family!

trashalou said...

There is only so much culture shock a body should be expected to live through without some cushioning. Makes sense to me to create a safety net to help you acclimatise, especially with children.

justjuli said...

You probably should have packed an extra bottle or two of sanity.
Just in case....
:)

Momof3 said...

Wow, and I thought I was organized when packing for a long weekend with the kids.

Creative Junkie said...

I don't think I will ever complain about packing for a vacation ever again.

Wow! I hope you have a warehouse to store this stuff!

What A Card said...

Wow, I can't imagine having to be so organized! And I wonder what you bought too much of, and even worse, what you find you didn't buy enough of! What an adventure!

Heather said...

I cannot imagine having to plan out for such a huge, long-term stay. My husband's been driving me nuts with the packing list for our upcoming one week trip to Florida!

Can't wait to read more of your blog and all your adventures! Cheers!

Nessa said...

Wow! I am so impressed at the time, money, and patience it must have taken to rganize this!

I agree that should have packed some back up sanity, you never know when you might need it!

Lula! said...

I will try to never again complain about having to run to the store for just a few things. This was very eye-openining for me!

Kat said...

Okay. So, you wrote this about a month ago. Did you get under your weight limit? And now that you are there...where the heck are you going to keep all this stuff? Do you worry about it spoiling? Like the bisquick?

So, so fascinating...

Melanie said...

I am in awe. I could not choreograph that if my life depended on it. Hope all goes well.

AJ said...

You've really opened up my eyes. I probably would have had a melt down planning that.

Congrats on your SITS feature!

Andie said...

I hope your three year tour of duty is very, very quick! If you run out of anything we can always pack you a care box...

Andie said...

I hope your three year tour of duty is very, very quick! If you run out of anything we can always pack you a care box...

At Home Redesigns said...

Wow...that is a lot of work. Sounds like you're very organized, though...

At Home Redesigns said...

Wow...that is a lot of work. Sounds like you're very organized, though...

PhatMom said...

Where's the rum? WHERE'S THE RUM?? YOU CAN'T LEAVE THE US WITHOUT THE RUM!!! LOL! Wow. That is a lot of stuff and a big box to ship it all in!

Congrats on your SITS day!

Kendrawolf said...

I wish I would have brought Tampons when I went to Saudi. My hubby told me that they would have stuff like that. Wrong! We ended up going to Bahrain one weekend to stock up!

EmBee said...

The sheer torture of trying to wrap my head around all that I might need and plan that far ahead would send me into an asylum. You my dear, get an 'A' for Amazing!

thotlady said...

Congratulations on your SITS feature.

One question. Will/do you have room to store all the consumables?

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Happy SITS day....

Sounds about like my sister getting ready to leave for the weekend ;)

Seriously... where do you put all that?

Melissa Lester said...

And I thought it was tough packing to take the kids to their grandparents for the weekend.

Amy said...

Happy SITS day to you!

I've never travelled abroad. Sounds like a lot of work :)

angie said...

I think making that list would have just about killed me. Oh, the pressure.....

Katy Lin :) said...

wow! the longest i've ever been outside the good old usa is 1 month, trying to plan everything we would need for a year seems tremendously overwhelming, but you seem like you are very well-organized and well-prepared!

Vicki @ notsosahm.wordpress.com said...

We've moved around a lot, but never as far east as India! Germany for four years, and that's it for out of the states.

I know what it takes to plan a move though and it looks like you've got everything under control. Great to plan so far ahead!

Ronnica said...

I hope to live overseas someday...thanks for the peek at what it would be like!

Party of 5 said...

I wish the military would let us prepare like that before going overseas. LOL They thinkt he commissary will have everything WHICH IT DOESN'T.

I hope you enjoy your trip!

Happy SITS Day!

Cheryl Ann said...

Coming to you via SITS--congrats!

What a list! I've traveled out of the US, but never for an extended period of time. How incredibly overwhelming. Go YOU!

Sunshine said...

Wow...that is AMAZING. I'm gonna lose a little sleep for you...mmmk? We're in the military, so I get the move thing, but we've never moved overseas--that is just a whole other animal!

I'm so impressed with your organization skills.

Swirl Girl said...

Holy Cow!

(no deity pun intended)

I guess if you break it down...it doesn't seem excessive.

How we take for granted simple things like raching in to a cabinet and pulling out garlic powder.

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

OH my goodness. I can't even imagine preparing that list. You RAWK!

Mamasphere said...

Happy SITS day, Jill!

Reading this list again- it's just crazy! Not to want to take it with you, but to have to get it all purchased and ready to ship!

Rhea said...

The amount of planning that had to go into figuring out WHAT to pack, much less buying and getting it all ready to go, wow, I'm overwhelmed just thinking about it.

Amazing! You guys are set up for quite an adventure.

Tiffany said...

WOW. That is some undertaking. I can't believe you organize and plan all this. Amazing.

dddiva said...

Wow, I've moved my girls with about a 2 day notice on a whim- no way am I organized enough to plan like that. Good job. Hope you have everything you need.

Deanna said...

Congrats on the SITS day! You're amazing! I do good to get a grocery store list! :P

Aubrey said...

I've never thought about all that goes into making a big move like yours! Wow. I guess I won't whine so much when I have to run 4 blocks over because we are out of milk!

Live.Love.Eat said...

Wow! 200lbs of dog food!! Congrats on being featured today!!!

Tracy P. said...

Swirl Girl: "Holy cow!" *snicker*

What I can't believe is that it took 30 people before someone finally asked you "Where ya gonna put all that?"! I was beginning to believe I would be the first.

Lived in "3rd" world for four years when I was single, and pretty much could take two extra pieces of luggage. But hey, when you don't have to feed kids...

Have helped bro and SIL pack to head back to Africa. Send their kids cereal for Christmas. (Been there 20 years.)

Seriously, what kind of storage DO you have?

sassy stephanie said...

O M GOSH! That would totally give me a headache. Wow.

wendy said...

My brother and sister-in-law lived in Bermuda for 4 years. My mom would pack suitcases full of diapers, contact lens solution, etc when she would visit.

You seem very organized. :)

Happy SITS day.

Belle said...

Happy SITS day to you...and WOW...you are amazingly organized.

Stephanie said...

Good job being so prepared and organized. I hope that all those consumables are serving you well there!

Michelle said...

Wow. Moving is fun enough. But to have to think about everything you use and want and like and then figure out how much of it you use over the course of a year and then how much of it you can accumulate before it will go bad before you can use it... here's hoping it all goes well for you!

And of course, happy SITS Day!

wehave9 said...

Man...that sounds like my weekly grocery list! LOL Hope it lasts the time you need it to.

Kaza said...

It makes me tired to even think of making such a list! I'm getting a good dose of appreciation here for how easy it is to get not only what we need but what we want. I recall my experience living abroad and the frustration of doing without familiar foods and products. But I didn't have kids to feed, which would make it all the more difficult. I can hear the whining now!

cricketphx said...

Wow, I am truly impressed!

cricketphx said...

Wow, I am truly impressed!

Patty said...

kudos to you and your patience and organization skills. this is amazing.

Kelly said...

What a pleasant surprise to see you as the featured blog today on SITS!!! Congrats and bask in your comment love!!

Karen said...

That's an impressive list!!!!

I sometimes look at my store of stuff like toilet paper, toothpaste, bath soap, etc, that I buy in bulk from Costco and wonder what I'm going to do with it when we move back to New Zealand. It's going to be tempting to just throw it in with the rest of the house pack ... even though that stuff is readily available back home.

Laurel said...

We put diapers and dogfood on our first consumable shipment and just ditched the rest because I am lazy. I did just bring back $120 worth of maple syrup from R&R though! My husband wants to be posted in Chennai - so I'll be checkin' in on you for sure!!

Melissa said...

Oh goodness. I am complaining about $4 for a box of cereal!
Sorry, I'm a day late. Congratulations on your SITS day! It's so much fun, huh?

mrsmouthy said...

Wow, that's a lot of tantrum prevention. I live a mile from a store and still run out of something daily. Maybe I should pack my own box and send it to me...

Simply Stork said...

one never knows how much you need them until you don't have them...

~simply~

Hot Air said...

Wow. I'm so glad you don't have a newborn or one leg or something. This is about as hectic as I can stand to contemplate.

Peggy said...

I've got through culture shock just by visiting. I can't imagine living someplace like that for 3 years. I'd have to pack a few cases of peanut M&Ms.

Cristin said...

And I complain about packing for a day trip....never again.. I can't even imagine..

tinabean1988 said...

Ok I'm not even close to envying you at the moment.
Just reading about this gave me a brain cramp.
Good luck!!!

Jenelle said...

Good grief! I'd never be able to pack for a move like that. I forget something every time I leave the house.

Rela Pantaleon-Manigsaca said...

The "bring your own food" thing also happens the other way around.

I am from the Philippines and have relocated to the US. I knew that some of our own food are available in the US but of course, more expensive (2x). So, I packed up canned food and other stuff with all our household stuff to be shipped by the movers. Good thing, my husband's company paid for all the move!

So did you end up using all that consumables weight in 1 shipment? Might have been good to have them sent in batches so that you avoid having stuff expire on you.

Debbie Y. said...

Maybe I missed something, just where are you going to be able to store all of this stuff?

Untypically Jia said...

*Sigh* I've never even been out of the country.

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