Friday, August 2, 2013

Moving Means Messes

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Eight days and counting before our move. As can be expected, mixed feelings are very much a part of what Rachel and I are experiencing during these last days in Bali. But one feeling has predominated for me this past week…the feeling of frustration at a couple messes I have had to deal with.

I won’t go into detail as, honestly, I am a bit embarrassed to admit my part in the messes. But honesty is supposed to be good for you, so here goes.

The Best-Laid Plans
Monday afternoon, Rachel and I went to visit some friends of ours. I was feeling pretty good about how things were going. The cargo I am shipping to the States had been picked up by the cargo company. Furniture purchased by people who live out-of-town had been picked up. The remaining furniture will go to people living in town who are willing to let us use it until we leave.

I stopped by the immigration office to be sure I knew what all I needed to submit the next when I applied for an extension on my tourist visa. Things were going well.
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As I talked to my friends that evening, I mentioned how I had planned everything so I could have the logistics mostly done already, leaving the last two weeks to focus on people. My friends said that they had tried to do that before moving to Bali, but it didn’t work out how they planned.  How prophetic those words turned out to be.

Mess #1 - Cargo Confusion
On Tuesday, I stopped by the cargo company to check on the packing progress to see how many cubic meters I had to pay for. They had finished crating the many boxes of books, the bins of other household items, and the few pieces of furniture I am shipping.
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THEN, they asked me for a detailed packing list. Maybe I should have known I needed a detailed list, but I didn’t. They knew that I had never shipped cargo before. They should have told me I needed such a list. At least they should have asked for it before crating the boxes. I had written a general description of the contents of the boxes on the outside of each box, but not the exact number of books, ornaments, etc. How was I supposed to know which crate contained which boxes?

But wait, there’s more. THEN they tell me I have to fill out a certain customs form that I can find from…somewhere. I went home that night and looked up the form online, but some of it I could not fill out until they gave me certain information only they would have.

On Wednesday, I was called back to the cargo company to pay for the shipment. After getting reassurances that they could make the packing list work, I paid for the shipment. Still a bit uncomfortable, I checked out some other resources and found that the cargo company itself, or its agent in the States, should fill out the customs form. I went back and got it straight that I don’t have my own agent, but would like to use the company’s agent. OK the agent will take care of the form.

I went back today, Friday, to ask them to please be sure to run by the agent their plan for the packing list. If the agent expresses any doubt as to whether the format they plan to use will be OK, I want them to open up each crate, and do a more specific packinglist.

Quite stressful, but I have done what I can do. Now, I just pray things will go through.

Mess #2 - Tourist Visa Debacle
As stressful as the cargo mess has been, Tuesday brought a real shock when I went to immigration.  You see, for the first time in twenty years, I am in Indonesia as a tourist. My work visa expired at the beginning of June. I went to Singapore and returned on a tourist visa for my last two and a half months. I had it all planned. Get a 60-day tourist visa to cover the first two months, and then renew it to cover me for the last bit of time. Great plan.
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The trouble is, I was working off of old information. I remembered that some time ago, Indonesia changed from granting free tourist visas to charging $25. I had forgotten one other very significant change.

When I got to the Immigration office on Tuesday morning, I found to my dismay that the tourist visa I had was only good for thirty days. I had already significantly overstayed my visa. I’m not even going to say how much the penalty was. Let’s just say I felt more than a bit sick about the figure.

I submitted the paperwork and was told to return on Thursday to pay the fine. I did. I had to return again this morning to pick up my passport. It wasn’t finished yet. As I had a meeting back at the children’s home at 1:30, I made the hour-long trip back, attended the meeting, and immediately drove back another hour to Immigration.

At last, I got my passport back. It’s a good thing, too, because all government offices are closed for a major Muslim holiday from August 3-11, and August 11 is the day we leave Bali. 

In Everything GIve Thanks
So what can I find to be thankful for in the midst of these messes?

by Billene J. Nicol
  • God is still and always in control of everything…including cargo and customs. I’ve done what I can, and I need to leave that particular mess in His hands.
  • In spite of the money that my stupid error has cost me, I have God’s promise that He will supply all my needs.
  • I am also thankful that the people at Immigration were very helpful through the whole debacle. Yes, I still had to pay, but they made sure I had my passport back in time.
  • Others who have visited me over the last several years can be thankful that their visits were shorter than thirty days. Otherwise, I might have steered them wrong as well.

What Can You Pray For?

  • Please pray that this next week will be a good time to wrap up things well with friends here in Bali.
  • Please pray for safety on the road and in the air.
  • Please pray for NO MORE MESSES!!!


  1. I once had to move across the street as a kid. It was stressful. I can't even image what moving to another country would be like. Good luck and God bless.


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