The boxes of our last belongings finally arrived…Friday 13th March 2020 was the day when the courier picked up our boxes from our friends house in Hastings, Hawke’s Bay. About a week later they where supposed to be flying out with Emirates to Athens and arrive a few days after us. That of course never happened, because New Zealand and Greece went into lock down. So our transport agent had to pick them up from the Emirates and store them in their warehouse for the period of the lock down, as Emirates cancelled all flights to Athens. We were devastated, as the boxes where full with games, art materials, stationary, school books, boat and yoga books, photography gear, swim gear, our whole medical kit and supplements etc. We didn’t even have a single piece of paper on the boat when lock down started.
Once New Zealand workers could go to their offices again our shipping agents re quoted the transport. By now only the Turkish airline where flying at a cost that we couldn’t afford. They also quoted us for shipping them to Athens, which was the same price we paid for the airfreight we paid for Emirates, so we got that rearranged, with the arrival date being end of July. By then we were sure we could extend Tim’s visa after lock down finished, which never happened.With all the paperwork for our boat being delayed so much our boxed actually arrived exactly 3 days before our paperwork was finally finished on the 1st of July.
It was literally like Christmas and in hindsight perfect and divine timing. We where able to receive them easily on the jetty, we didn’t have to have them forwarded on to some island and be there exactly when the ferry arrives plus saved the additional expense for forwarding them and the hassle to ferry them back and forth somehow with the dinghy to the boat.By now our boat was stocked for a few weeks sailing with groceries and storage was already limited. I was really worried if we would find places for another 140 kg and 11 boxes.
After the first joy of knowing that they had actually landed at the predicted time in true Greek style there were way more expenses than we were notified. Our original quote from our Agent in New Zealand was $1,400 NZD. With all the corona stuff starting to hype up just before we left the airlines already raised their prices, so the agent informed us that the price would now be $1,700 NZD. We thought apart from a customs agent there would be no more expenses. Tim had already had a customs agent in Athens from when our water maker arrived. Fani was without a doubt the most efficient, communicative and forthcoming official we have dealt with. She notified us that the shipping company is charging 250 Euros for handling our boxes, that the warehouse will charge 30 Euros for holding the boxes for a couple of days, Fani’s charge was also 250 Euros and then the courier to bring our boxes to the boat 111 Euros. After we swallowed the fright of all those additional expenses Fani got in touch again and said that Customs where unwilling to release our boxes without a customs charge despite all the items being personal and used belongings, so that was an addtional 140 Euros. So instead of paying only $1,700 NZD we ended up paying approx. 3,200 NZD. Ooouch….
However once the courier arrived all those hassles and additional expenses faded into the background. Everything arrived safely and I must say apart from the Salt & Pepper Grinders, the smoothie maker, and the snorkel / googles sets from the kids we brought from home, which we could have easily replaced here, everything else was so special and personal and specific it would have been hard to assemble and find here.
I was sooo happy about my books. I had a very small selection of yoga, essential oil and meditation books, some of my crystals, my inspiration cards, my togs, all the stationary and arts materials for us all to use, the kids school books, all our games, some loved kitchen utensils, our meticulously assembled medical kit and books, a whole range of sailing and sailing related books, some art and creative books for for the kids and me to explore.
Luca was happiest about his speaker, the hard drives with movies and an A5 sketchbook that was not spiral bound, that’s impossible to find here and happens to be his favorite. The amount of times that he mentioned how he misses his A5 Bookingford sketchpad. We have looked everywhere online and in art shops here – not luck.
Nina was also most happy about the hard drive with the movies, her speaker, the arts stuff and books and her camera and photo printer.
Tim treasured his Bose speaker most, his short wet suit and his Go Pro Dome. Amazingly all the 11 boxes assimilated into the boot beautifully it just took us one afternoon / evening and a morning to tidy everything away into its new place and Polly now really feels like our home.
David, a friend from Hawke’s Bay asked on one of my posts if I wasn’t happier, that we had to wait for boxes a bit and I must say it really is the case. We waited 4 months for the boxes to arrive and the appreciation for the things was much bigger than in they arrived straight away. Also I found having to learn to make do with what we had in our 4 suitcases coming from a big house was a lesson in itself. Its amazing how little you need. For me personally I used this time to so some art, I did a lot of writing, reflecting, practicing yoga and reading books for hours on end. Although in the end of our “prison sentence or forced retreat” we all where so over it, but in the beginning it felt quite luxurious to be all huddled up in our little bubble and having all the time in the world to just be and with nothing to figure out. So reflecting on the cost of the boxes and what was in them I think I would send them again minus a few items that we now know we could have replaced easily here.