We Got Our Travel Orders


If all goes according to plan [knocks on wood], we will be living in El Salvador before the end of the month. The countdown has begun.Our packout has been scheduled. Plane tickets are hopefully being purchased today or tomorrow. Within a couple hours of receiving our travel orders yesterday, I had submitted my application for a diplomatic passport, terminated our lease (penalty-free thanks to the diplomatic clause we had amended to our lease) and suspended my cell phone contract.This is happening. It finally feels real. ¡Estoy emocionada!dip passport, foreign service wife, trailing spouse, efm, travel ordersDid you ever think we were going to leave? I was a little worried because I’ve been blogging since April under the tagline “Expat Life as a Foreign Service Wife” — and I was neither an expat nor a wife at first. Now at least I’m one of the two!But seriously: Even I was starting to get tired of hearing about my progress in learning Spanish. So it’s nice to have some news to report!In the next three-and-a-half weeks we will be filling out a lot of paperwork (you know, for things like visas which we need to live and work in El Salvador), sorting all of our belongings into various shipment categories, purchasing random items we still need like large suitcases, stocking up on other supplies, meeting with our movers and saying goodbye to our DC area friends and family.I am SO GLAD we don’t have to pack/move ourselves. Because this is what it looked like last time I moved:moving apartments, moving overseas, foreign service wife, foreign service blog, fs bruThis is when EFM duty really kicks in.I know some of you FS bloggers have written posts about packing/moving — including Hot Pot (also good packing tips in an interview with yours truly), peeps from abroad and Travelers Anonymous. I know there are others. What advice do you have? Help an EFM out!

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

23 thoughts on “We Got Our Travel Orders

  1. Yay! Yay! Yay! Hip Hip Hooray!! For Moving Day! You guys must be going crazy getting ready to go but so exciting! Can’t wait to read about the adventures!


  2. ahhh, the end of the month!? holey moley, do you mean the end of August or September or do you mean 30 days!? Help the non-FS peeps out with this timeline sitch.


      1. Hah. It’s a weird play on words… burrito… burro… donkey… here’s their FB page. Also, just an FYI… everything in El Salvador is on Facebook. Companies might have their own domain, but they hardly ever update it. FB is where it’s at.


  3. So great to meet you last night!Couple of bits of advice — take out all batteries – you can’t ship electronics with batteries in place (i actually think this may be urban legend, but we had a mover tell us this during one packout, and we just went with it to be safe!)- remove trash/garbage from cans, b/c they will pack EVERYTHING – one of my girlfriends had her toaster packed – WITH toast inside…..- during our first packout, I felt very rushed and overwhelmed b/c the movers wanted to be quick and get the job done – b/c of that, different rooms/items got all thrown in together, which meant labeling the box was impossible – see this (grumpy) post for some insight! – http://lookingforgeckos.blogspot.com/2010/09/wrong-side-of-bed.html – which is to say, the movers work for YOU and YOU are the boss, so when we packed out the next time, I was explicit that the movers went room by room, and allowed me to oversee, which I don’t think they were thrilled with, but now I know what is in which box and that items are grouped together in a way that makes sense!- to balance out my request for taking the move at a slower pace, I provided water and lunch – that seemed to keep the movers on Team Page -Bueno Suerte!!


    1. Thanks, Meredith! Good tips about electronics. It will be interesting to see how the packout goes, as my husband and I live in a pretty small one-bedroom apartment. It’s going to be crowded! But luckily that means we don’t have THAT much stuff (or so I think). They are coming to do the survey/inventory tomorrow, so we’ll see!


  4. Felicidades! Estoy emocionada por ti! Que estas semanas no sean muy pesadas y al contrario que disfrutes de todo lo que DC tiene que ofrecerte. No te estreses y disfruta cada momento, inclusive los momentos donde parece que nada esta saliendo bien; pronto te reiras de ellos tomandote una Regia…


  5. The only suggestion I have is to put kitchen stuff in your UAB. For me, at least, that’s the hardest thing to do without. Also, don’t expect your UAB to show up quickly. It might, but it might also show up like 3 days before your HHE. Have fun 🙂


      1. Hah, yea. We had a friend whose total stuff was 100 pounds over UAB… since the minimum HHE is 400 pounds, he had to actually remove 300 pounds from UAB to be able to ship all of his stuff. Heh.


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