Random is the keyword for how things work here in Portugal. I have been told by locals that how things go in the government offices largely depends upon the mood of the employee with which you’re dealing. On an international level, it seems that the “rules” can change from minute to minute. Or maybe, it’s just our interpretation of said rules.
So, after freaking out about having to get a certificado do bagagem from the consulate in San Francisco, translate the inventory of our things into Portuguese, (which I did) and all the other attendant forms, here’s what happened…
We were at the Arrábida shopping mall here in the Canidelo hood, about to buy a printer/copier so that we could print out and copy everything when my phone rang. It was Bongers calling to say that our shipment would be delivered next week on Tuesday or Wednesday. I replied that I was working on getting the requisite forms but, it probably wouldn’t happen that fast. (San Francisco Portuguese consulate, enough said.) He said, that’s ok never mind the forms, we can get it through customs for you for 124 Euros without any forms. At first, I didn’t believe him. It was a good thing that there was a place to sit down, so I did. Really? Says I. And then I thought, why ever didn’t you tell me that this was an option in the first place? I said, done. Where do I wire the money?
It would have cost $200 to Fedex the forms to and from the consulate plus their fee so, 124 euros sounded like a screaming deal at this point. Our man at Bongers said that he would let me know what day delivery would be by the end of the week. I said, you are awesome and rang off. Hal-le-freakin-lu-jah! One bureaucratic bullet dodged.
I didn’t hear from Bongers and thought, well, they will let me know when our shipment is ready for delivery. On Monday evening, I was giving an English lesson online when the doorbell rang. It was the movers. They were outside with a truckload that contained our worldly goods. It was a good thing that we were home. I finished the lesson while Joe received the box parade.
Whoo-hoo! After nearly three months, I had forgotten what all we shipped. I was glad to have summer clothes because it is supposed to be in the eighties here on Sunday. Sadly, the only thing that was broken was Joe’s $400 office chair, the one thing he really needs, of course. And naturally, the deductible on the moving insurance for breakage is $500. Figures, ‘eh?
But all in all, we are happy to have our things and now feel like we have finally arrived. I still say that if you are moving to another country, don’t ship anything. It is not worth the brain damage nor the cost. Thank you very little, not so Transparent International and, thank you very much, Bongers International.