Friday, October 03, 2014

It's In the Shipment

After reading my October 2 post, my friend Africa good-naturedly pointed out, "There's this thing...called an 'apron.' Tends to catch water splashes, etc without staining the clothes underneath." I just stared at her words and burst out laughing. Why had that utterly simple solution never occurred to me? After all, back in Michigan I often used an apron while cooking. Why hadn't I--Oh. I knew why. My apron is in the shipment....

Neat & clean apartment with essentials
"It's in the shipment" has become a family line in our home during the two months we've been in Guadalajara. Every time we think of an item and wonder why we don't have it, we usually end up with a face palm and, "Oh, I know. It's in the shipment." When we flew down in July, there was an airline luggage embargo because it was tourist season, so we couldn't check on everything we needed and pay extra fees. We had to have fourteen trunks shipped separately. This wasn't terrible, because part of the offer from the university where Kraig is teaching is a fully furnished apartment, including basic kitchen items. Also, the university paid for our shipment, which helped ease our initial costs. We knew it wouldn't come immediately, but we were expectant.

Our trunks hanging out back in Michigan
And then we arrived and were informed that a second shipping quote was needed before the school could agree whether to use our shipping agent. This process took a month and a half. At last, at the beginning of September, the word came back that we could use our original shipping agent. Hooray! Kraig's folks who had patiently held our goods carried them to our agent and the trunks were sent. The university assured us that a customs agent would take care of our things when they arrived, and the payment would be sent to our agent. Our trunks arrived in Guadalajara on September 15. Our shipping agent received his payment this past Monday. Our trunks are still at the airport, racking up storage costs.

To say the least, this has been a test in patience that I feel I am failing miserably. I have nothing left. Kraig is frustrated, too, but he isn't the wife and the mom who is trying to make sure that the home is running smoothly, and is constantly reaching for something that isn't there. It's been hard to encourage him as he's tried to navigate cultural and bureaucratic systems, and to have the sense to know when to push and when to step back. My gut desire has been to find the person we need to speak with and give them a piece of my mind...assuming that person can speak English. I have even created little speeches in my minimal Spanish and imagined throwing them out as an oration beyond compare, background music swelling. Applause would follow...and the shipment. But all we have had is an email address, and no advocate to plead our case. We have been stuck here, trudging our way through the cultural morass, no guide at hand. 

Then at last on Tuesday, Kraig approached his department head who was was able to track down a real live person. This person informed Kraig's head that the customs agent would have our shipment processed by today, and would have it delivered to us. Is this going to be the case? I'll believe it when I see it. But it's amazing how every day I find I still have hope. 

I wish I had a deep spiritual lesson to share about how I've learned to trust God so much more through this, and how He has poured out blessing. I don't. We have prayed, we have pleaded, we have tried to understand. But there isn't a neat little answer. I know from many who have moved overseas that these kinds of frustrations are normal, and that almost everyone hits a point of feeling that the whole idea was bad to begin with and how in the world did we think God could use us here. There is encouragement in knowing we aren't alone. 

And I guess that's the biggest thing I can say. I know we aren't alone. God is with us in the midst of this, even if we don't understand. Hope is still here.

Banana bread made in available Pyrex containers


  1. Oh, thats so frustrating! Hope it is resolved soon!

    1. Thanks Melissa. Nothing yet I guess we'll have Kraig's department head try to follow up again on Monday. Sigh!

  2. Anonymous12:10 AM

    I love that you did not let the lack of loaf pan derail your banana bread project. Perseverance!

    ~May @ Achieving Clarity

    1. Little steps, right? I keep hoping that the next time I make banana bread it will be in my own loaf pans. But I think we're due another batch, so pyrex it is!