Our shipment of furniture arrived in China on May 25th. The process here is that you have to then give your passport to Customs so that they can clear your shipment. They generally hold this for up to 5 days. Then they check the shipment inventory and ask lots of questions about what you would like to import into China. This can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks. They can also open any box or package to physically check for themselves. Once they have cleared your shipment, you then have them schedule a team to deliver and unpack. That happy day arrived for us on Friday June 22nd. We had to co-ordinate with the management office of our compound to remove all our rental furniture the day before.
The team of 8 people arrived at 10am and very quickly got busy unloading the first of 2 trucks that were crammed full of our furniture and boxes filled with toys, kitchen stuff, clothes and other belongings. We had also packed 2 boxes full of UK items such as teabags, toothpaste, shower wash, shampoo, conditioner, British sweeties and marmite. Import toiletries are very expensive in China and so we had stocked up on 2 years worth to bring with us!
Day 1 had most of our furniture unloaded, unpacked and placed in the right rooms. Day 2 had everything that we brought from England in our new house by noon. FINALLY, Owen had all his kitchen gadgets back: his knives, pans, coffee machine, meat thermometer and all of his utensils. He was back in action!!
Unfortunately, because our packages, boxes and crates were loaded and unloaded so many times, (UK home -> truck -> warehouse -> container -> China Customs -> warehouse -> truck -> China home), we have a few breakages. A couple of them are on things that have huge sentimental value to Owen and I, even if they are not worth so much in real money terms. Oh well, I guess we should be fortunate that it could have been worse and we are covered with insurance. At least we didn’t have anything confiscated either…….
We quickly realized that even though we had a lot of furniture we still needed some extra pieces to complete our home here. Luckily it is the season of ex-pat turnover and so lots of families who were moving on were advertising for quick disposal of their belongings. So many people buy extra things when they arrive and then do not have enough room to take them all home (just like us in 2 years time now!!!) Owen has been busy hanging pictures to really finish it off so now our home is complete and it is wonderful to have all our belongings around us.