Saturday, August 25, 2012

Moving Across the World: Buying and Acquiring

So, you've gotten rid of a bunch of stuff, you've stored a bunch of stuff (maybe) and now you realize that this new life in your new country is going to require different things than you life here.

You, my friend, are in the stage that is known as "Buying and Acquiring".  Yep, that is the technical term.  What?  They didn't mention that to you at your mission's orientation?  Hehe, well, even if they didn't mention it, it exists.

See, there are things that you are going to need for this new life, things that may or may not be available in your new country.  For us, it was stuff like rain covers for our backpacks, a water filter system, a GPS that can handle map updates for our new country, and linens.  These are all things that are hard to come by, or they are very expensive, or aren't the quality that we would want.  Constantly ask yourself the question, "can I get this in our host country?"  If you can, do.  Unless of course you really want that particular (fill in the blank).  And even if you decided that you are only going to use what is in your new country, you still have to buy it or acquire it.


 
This is another stage where lots of lists help.  I have several pages in my "moving notebook" that have all the things we need to buy.  It helps keep me on track and give me a place to dump all those thoughts so I don't have to continually keep reminding myself of what we need.  I was just out today getting some things on that list because we head back to Costa Rica in just a month.  Such a random assortment of things, dish towels, a belt, a foot locker and some cloth napkins.  Anyway.



This is also a good time to talk with people on the ground in your new country.  Hopefully you have someone you can ask questions, like "will I be able to get kids' clothes there easily?"  Or "what is the best thing you decided to bring with you?"  Of course these answers might be different from what is important to your family, but at least it gives you a place to start.  Also, think about things that you use often or that you love.  For example, I use white washcloths for cleaning rags and dishes.  I hate sponges.  So one of the things I asked a fellow missionary before we got to Costa Rica was "can I get white washcloths there?"  And the answer, amazingly enough, was no.  What?!  Yeah, no white washcloths.  So, I brought some.  And white washcloths were on the "What to buy when we are in the States" list.



Now, something to think about with all of this buying and acquiring, cash flow.  Sigh...this can get a bit tricky.  But you can do it.  One of the things that has helped us is to buy a little at a time each month.  That way, you don't have to wait until the very last month to go by everything all at one time . Also, don't overlook thrift stores, garage sales, dumpster diving, family members.  I use Facebook often for this, something like, "Does anyone have a (blank) they want to sell or get rid of?"  And so many times there is someone who is looking to get rid of what you are needing to acquire.



I can get tired of this stage.  I just said to my husband, Noah, that I am sick of shopping!  I talked with a veteran missionary about this, and she said, "Honey, enjoy it!  Chances are you won't be buying stuff for another two years when you are on the field."  And she is right.

So now that you have your Buying and Acquiring plan, go shopping!  And stay tuned, because next time we get to the really fun (cough cough) part of  how to pack up all this stuff.

 So, do you love or hate the Buying and Acquiring stage?  Why?

Want more MAW?  Check these out
Want more MAW?  Check these out
Moving Across the World:  The Beginning
Moving Across the World:  Toys 
Moving Across the World: Packing 
Moving Across the World:  The Big Day(s) 
Moving Across the World:  Helpful This and Thats

14 comments:

  1. I just finished another "buying and acquiring" session. As I sit here I'm surrounded by packed lockers and all the items I wanted to bring back with me. As a veteran missionary I want to agree with what Liz said about learning to live as much as possible with what is available in your new host country. However, there are items that we find are necessary, or just give us a little lift. Here are a few of the items we packed this time: pepperoni, brownie mixes, bakeware, Tupperware type containers, over the counter medicines, clothes, shoes, makeup, knives, stain sticks, coffee, etc. One of the fun things I packed that I look forward to using is a cookie press. I have ladies meetings at my house once a month and try to teach the ladies how to cook something. Even though they may never cook some of the things I make for them, it is fun for them to experience new things and they are going to get a thrill out of those cookies! Oh, and add some sprinkles to my items since they cost $15 to buy in Tanzania. HAPPY SHOPPING!!

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    1. yep, those things that just help when life is so very different! Like the six smelly soaps I bought...and $15 for sprinkles?!! Yikes!

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  2. We have gotten to the point where we pretty much skip this stage. I just don't like shopping. However, a list really would have helped me! I kind of had one in my head, but when we were in the states in June, I never made it into a store. I finally did send people who asked how they could help to get the vitamins I wanted... on the last day. And they couldn't find them. So, we came back pretty much without having bought anything that was on my mental list. Fortunately I had order the few school books I needed in advance, so we weren't stuck there.

    I think I'll do a Tuesday Topic about what we "import." It will be fun to see what everyone's treats are. :-)

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    1. I like the Tuesday Topic idea Phyllis!!

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  3. This is the first time I've bought anything specifically for taking back with us (our 4th return) - and it was a spur of the moment that-would-be-really-useful buy... but there are plenty of things we simply have learned to live without that would be nice/useful to have overseas!

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  4. This is our first term... and I am now compiling a list of things I want to buy when we go to the states in May. Don't think you will remember everything once you get there! I've got a page in my binder, and every time I wear myself out trying to find what I need here and fail... I put it on the list!

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    1. Yes! I literally had 2-3 items that I wanted to get. It seems like I would be able to do that, right? Nope. Like I said, I didn't even make it into a store.

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    2. that's too funny Phyllis!

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  5. I enjoy the buying and acquiring stage for a few days, but it gets old fast! (I also have to watch myself because when I'm back in America in the stores, MATERIALISM starts to suck me in!!!.

    I do enjoy choosing cosmetics, clothing items and shoes. Electronics is something we buy which is not as fun, but now my 15 year old is kind of in charge of that!!!

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    1. Oh the makeup! I forgot to talk about that! I am pale pale pale!!! There is NO white albino girl make up in Latin America:) So I have to make sure to bring that with!

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  6. Our list of what to buy when we go back to the US has gotten shorter the longer that we've been here and the more we've adjusted to things that we can find here, but I've also learned the things that really are worth their weight/space for us. We try to stock up on those things. Most of our list used to be "necessity items" rather than fun items, but like I said, we've adapted and learned from others here and have become less dependent on American products for daily life. That means that we get to focus almost completely on the fun things like Starbucks coffee and coffee syrups (or coffee from my favorite local coffee roaster). Some more necessity-ish items are Ziplock bags, vanilla extract, and kids' clothes (SO expensive here!!!). I used to really not enjoy the acquiring phase while on furlough because it was so painful to spend so much money, but now that we don't have as much to buy it is a lot more fun. I was just updating my "to buy in America" list today before reading this, actually, and added some baby items for our next little one. I think I'm going to splurge on a fancy baby carrier that won't hurt my back. Fun!

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    1. Ashley, you know how to make vanilla extract right? Vodka (although, can you find that in Russia?:) and vanilla beans! That's it, oh and six weeks. So simple! And ooooo, what baby carrier are you going to get? I have a ring sling I love and I asked for a Moby wrap this time and LOVE it!!

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    2. Yes, I've made my own vanilla extract, but I'm just impatient and vanilla beans are a million bucks here. =) But the vodka's cheap given we're in Russia! He he! As for the baby carrier, I think I'm going to go for the Ergo. They have some cute ones out that I've seen recently! I've also thought of a Moby wrap though and know tons of people who love it. So many good options! I am also a big fan of slings, but mine gets too uncomfortable on my neck/shoulders after the babies hit about 3 months. Yea for baby wearing!

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  7. The Buying and Aquiring definitely gets old fast! Since we are in Central America we have someone visit a least once a year, and try to get back to the States once a year. I agree with everyone that the longer we are here, the less we will need. I am also a white albino girl in a Latina world so I am always looking for appropriate make-up and hair products when I'm in the States. Another thing we do is have grandmothers buy kids summer clothes at the end of summer each year. Often things get marked down to a few dollars and we wear summer clothes year round so the nanas just buy the next size up, then give the kids some clothes for Christmas each year. That has helped us tremendously because clothes are expensive here!

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