Because of our previous adventure with budget movers, we swore to only use the professionals. But, the people who agreed to buy our stuff couldnt’ afford the professionals. So, this time we once again were stuck with a few random guys who badly needed a shower.

These particular gentlemen were supposed to arrive in the morning. We weren’t worried because we knew “in the morning” meant about 11:00. The guy from the second-hand shop was supposed to arrive “very early in the morning — first thing!” (about 8:00) to get all of the other furniture we didn’t sell. So, this would work out perfectly!

Except that the second-hand store guys didn’t show up until 11:00. And the others finally made it around 2:00. The hub was out sending some stuff that people purchased via cargo when they arrived. One of our local friends walked in with them and I could have kissed him out of joy! (Wait, I did kiss him… but just the traditional cheek-cheek thing. Yes, my hub and his wife know and are ok with it. In fact, when we saw them later, my hub kissed his wife and nobody flinched. We’re all crazy that way.) My friend went to go arrange something and suddenly the two gentlemen who were there to load the truck approached me. What did they want? More money, of course! They said that the truck driver promised them 60 lira, but they wanted 100 lira. Um, no. That’s crazy. I told them that they’d have to wait for my hub to arrive. So, they got to work.

These guys were definitely not professionals. At one point, the hub walked in the kitchen. I guess the guys were hungry since they opened a package of our crackers and started eating them. What the heck! If they had asked, of course I would have given them any food we had left. It was simply the principle of the matter. The rest of the time was pretty uneventful. We didn’t pay them that much — our friend took care of it. We paid them a bit more than the original price because they couldn’t use the elevator. One guy carried our piano down 4 flights of stairs on his back. I think the extra 10 bucks we gave will be very useful when he has to visit a chiropractor.

After all of the furniture was gone, we began the worst part of packing: all of the little stuff. During this whole time, neighbors were dropping by to tell us goodbye. Most of them were people we knew to some degree. But, there was one lady that I barely knew who decided to come see us quite often. Her name, literally translated, is Sister Love. She was the type of acquaintance where we would say hello in the hallways, but I’ve never been in her home. We sometimes went to tea at the same neighbor’s house at the same time, but that was it. Well, in the last two days I was in Sea Town, Sister Love visited me about 7 times.

The first time was before the furniture was gone. She went through, asking about all of our stuff and where it was going. She expressed sincere regret that we had already sold the couches and fussed at me for not letting her know. “You’re right, Sister Love,” I thought, “Since we’re such close buddies I should have thought to tell you everything I was selling so you could buy it because we’re tight like that!”

After the furniture was gone, she came back again. I was packing up some dishes that we were giving to charity since no one wanted to buy them. She asked how much I was selling it for. I told her I wanted 10 lira for the pyrex dishes and 40 lira for the 8 piece nice, ceramic dish set. (Plates, salad plates, bowls, soup bowls, 3 large serving bowls…. 40 lira was a steal!) She showed a sad face. Then, she held out a 20. “I like them, but this is all I’ve got. OK?”

Now, 20 lira is more than nothing, so I took the deal. She was giddy with excitement. I helped her carry everything down, thinking that it was all finished.

Later she showed up to look at some hall rugs again. She took one to show her hubby and try to get him to agree to buy them. He must have realized that they were a steal because she gleefully ran up with a 50 lira bill in her hand — full price. Then, she started walking through the bare house.

“Are you going to take that?” she asked, pointing to the shade in Bean’s room. “No room,” I replied. Her response was to hand my hub a screwdriver and ask him to take them down. “I’ll take them.” Then, she walked into the living room. “Are you going to take those?” she asked about the curtains I was leaving behind. They were old, getting ratty, and had turned almost black from the coal smoke. “No way! They’re dirty, nasty, and there’s no room,” I replied. “I can wash them,” she said, and she took them down. I showed her the way down the hall to our room and told her there were more in there.

She took her treasures home, but it wasn’t long before she was back again. She got the plastic patio furniture, a folding table, the curtain rod from Bean’s room, and as she was leaving, she noticed our shower curtain.

Now, let me tell you that our shower curtain was really nasty. I was planning on replacing it when we returned to the States last fall. So, if we had returned to Central Asia to stay, it was first on my list of purchases. I’m really picky about moldy shower curtains — a spot means they get washed and if it doesn’t get clean, they get tossed. (I just can’t handle nasty moldy curtains in a place where I’m supposed to be getting clean!) These were just gross. But, she thought that was just fine.

Sister Love is short, fat, and gruff. However, she looked more like an overgrown child jumping up for a prize as she reached for the shower curtain. It was too tall for her, so she asked me to come over and help. I pulled it down and she joyfully replied “Can’t waste anything!” With that, she departed with the last remaining item that we weren’t taking with us.

I think she would have taken the sinks, the floor tile, and the light switches if we had let her. Still, I can hear in my head her gruff voice say, “Are you going to take that?” Oh, Sister Love, you make me laugh!