Thursday, April 17, 2008

Making Our Lists

I attended another workshop for spouses yesterday, to review the issues, procedures and allowances for moving and transportation. There is so much to do! I have three pages of lists from the three-hour meeting, on top of the two pages of lists they handed out.

The most cumbersome will be getting all of our paperwork in order, such as an updated will, medical directive, and scanning all of the documents we currently have such as medical records, previous taxes and official documents.

Another complexity for our particular post is the ability to ship consumables. Since it will be hard to get many things in Kolkata for a reasonable price, we are allowed to two shipments of up to 2,500 pounds of consumables. The items that qualify for consumables are foodstuffs and personal health items. Unfortunately, you can not use the weight to ship extra toys, furniture, clothes, etc.

We definitely know we will need toilet paper and a trip to Costco. It was recommended to include chocolate chips, diapers, cake mix and canned pumpkin.


Mom said...

Canned pumpkin?

I would love to know more about the shipping allowances and what you can and can't take with you. I'm sure it is determined largely on your placement...

Oh - and housing. I can't wait to read about the housing for your first tour. I'm reading from the beginning, though, so I'm not there yet...

Natalie Buda Smith said...


Yes, the recommend canned pumpkin is for Thanksgiving pumpkin pie and other treats, since many posts do not have fresh or canned pumpkin. Or the canned pumpkin can be outrageously expensive. I bought some just in case and still haven’t used it since you can get decent pumpkins year-round in Kolkata. Another note to add is that if you go to a large embassy with a good commissary, they probably will sell canned pumpkin.

Yes, some posts are designated as consumable shipment posts. The Overseas Briefing Center at FSI (and on the State intranet) maintains a list of the current ones. Then there is the UAB (Unaccompanied Baggage) that arrives by air to post: 250 pounds for the employee, 150 for spouse/partner, 100 for each EFM thereafter; and your HHE (Household Effects) that arrives usually by ship and has a limit of up to 7,200 pounds per officer (and family). You can ship food in those, as long as it follows the regulations on those shipments.

Each country and post has its limits on what can be shipped in. For example in India, you can’t bring in beef products. Each post in India may have even more specific requirements so it is best to check with your post (Management Officer, General Services Officer or Community Liaison Office) to find out what is allowed. Also, the U.S. and the State Department have restrictions on what can be shipped out and in which type of shipment, so it is best to check with the Overseas Briefing Center to make sure you are shipping something out that isn’t allowed.

Check out more on our consumables in Our Consumable Arrive! at

- Natalie